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Many Experts Argue That People Do Their Best Work When They Are Motivated By A Sense Of Purpose Rather Than The Pursuit Of Money. Do You Agree? Critically Evaluate And Explain Your Position

1928 words - 8 pages

1. Many experts argue that people do their best work when they are motivated by a sense of purpose rather than the pursuit of money. Do you agree? Critically evaluate and explain your position.
The study of what motivates people has fascinated researchers and academics over the years. Many renowned researchers have come up with their own model explaining the mechanisms of motivation. Though all these theories are unique in their own right, the division of motivations into two forms; extrinsic motivations and intrinsic motivations is a common sight. Both these factors have their place in getting people out of their beds in the morning and trading the better part of their waking hours for ...view middle of the document...

G. Lea, 2006).

The pursuit of money is also caused by psychological triggers that operate beneath our conscious mind. According to renowned psychologist B. F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning (Skinner, 1953), when an external stimulus is paired with a certain result numerous times, the mind starts to associate that result and its related emotions to the external stimulus. In the case of money, the positive associations that are continually being reinforced are the goods and services money can buy (Stephen E. G. Lea, 2006). This set up a positive feedback loop that constantly strengthens and reinforces these associations as people continue to work. Hence the pursuit of money becomes second nature and motivates people to work.

Since the industrial revolution, people have collectively come together and formed themselves into organised groups such as companies to work. Much has changed since and in developed countries, much of the work has been mechanised and computerised such the workforce is shifting from the manual labourers working in factories to knowledge workers working in their cubicles (Drucker, Management, 2008). Concurrently, as the demand for knowledge workers in developed countries surges and society now favours knowledge workers over manual workers, the prestige and remuneration that the knowledge worker enjoys surpasses that of the manual worker (Drucker, Management, 2008). The fundamental differences between the knowledge and manual workers help us explain and understand what motivates them to do their best work.

The manual worker of today is often seen as the underachiever in many developed countries. Having lost their edge in the education system, they often leave formal education to seek their fortunes in the working world early on (Drucker, Management, 2008). Due to the increasing reliance on formal education qualifications as one of the key considerations for the job of a knowledge worker, an underachiever in the education system will find it difficult to seek employment in such jobs. He then turns to jobs that value manual labour. These jobs are all around us. From the pizza delivery man to the supermarket cashier to the air conditioner mechanic, all these jobs value the amount of output that the manual worker can deliver and the best work of such jobs are often measured by the amount of output that the worker can generate. Take delivery service staff for instance. They are paid a basic amount for each hour and a commission for each delivery trip. As manual workers are relatively lowly paid (Drucker, Management, 2008) every delivery trip adds a significant portion to their income. To maintain a healthy income that the manual worker requires, generating a high output is essential. As such, a major and effective motivating factor for manual workers is the pursuit of money as it fulfils their lower order physiological and safety needs as addressed by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs theory (Wood, 2010).
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