I found this summary of Lawrence and Nohria’s “Drive” and thought that it was a nice summation of the book. Josh Kaufmann does a nice job of laying out the key insights to the theory and some good ideas on how to apply the theory into the real business world. I really like the final comment by Kaufmann regarding adding a drive around “feel.” It is an interesting concept that I’m going to explore in more detail.
Our knowledge of the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation is constantly being expanded as researchers study it and organizations work with it. This is exciting because it allows us to use this theory more effectively to drive performance and increase employees motivation.
Recently I have been in contact with Kristen Swadley, a student at Missouri Southern State University. Ms. Swadley has added to our understanding of Four-Drive Model by conducting research to see if demographic differences such as age, gender, marital status, tenure, income, job role, or education level impact any of the four drives. Analyzing data from 315 surveys, Ms. Swadley found some interesting findings that point to both the robustness of the Four-Drive Model as well as how specific demographics correlate to some of the drives.
The following information is from the thesis she completed around this study:
Regarding gender the analysis showed that there was no difference between males and females in their tendency towards a particular drive. Thus the four-drive model does not have a gender bias.
However, there was a relationship between the age of respondents and the drive to defend – older participants (over age 41) showed a higher correlation with the drive than the younger age (under 25).
The drive to defend was also found to be higher in married and divorced participants compared to those who listed their status as single.
Tenure showed a correlation only with the drive to bond where unemployed individuals rated that drive significantly less than those who were employed (specifically, those employed for 0-3 years and over 12 years – which is an interesting fact in itself).
Income levels showed a correlation between both the drive to bond and the drive to comprehend. Those individuals who earned under $19,999 placed a significantly lower value on both these drives than those in the higher earning brackets.
There was a difference in the drive to comprehend between various work roles. Specifically, there was a difference in how both middle management and trained and professionals viewed that drive compared to skilled labor (with middle management and trained professionals placing a much higher significance on it).
Unsurprisingly, educational level also showed a correlation with the drive to comprehend, with those participants who had achieved a graduate degree valuing this drive much more than those with just a high-school degree or some college.
This information helps us as leaders start to understand how we can better use the levers we have to motivate our employees. Ms. Swadley puts it best when she says, “While it is true by the tenets of the Four Drive Theory that all humans are motivated in some way by the four basic drives, it is important to take into account that all employees are motivated by the four drives at differing levels. A manager with the intention of implementing the Four Drive Theory in the workplace should have employees tested to find out which of the drives are most important to the individual on down to which of the drives provides the least amount of motivation.”
We hope to have Ms. Swadley right a guest post in the upcoming weeks to explore a little deeper what her findings mean for managers and leaders – until then, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment. Thanks!
Dan Airely, Richard Thaley, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman, Ran Kivitz, and many more psychology and behavioral economics researchers have shown that while we like to think of ourselves as rational, thinking human beings who are out to optimize our well being, we aren’t.
In fact, we are very far from it.
Sharon Begley at Newsweek wrote this interesting blog “The Limits of Reason” in it, she states, “But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning. It’s not just that we follow our emotions so often, in contexts from voting to ethics. No, even when we intend to deploy the full force of our rational faculties, we are often as ineffectual as eunuchs at an orgy.”
We see this all the time. I wrote about it in my earlier post from today “5 Lessons from the Maze.” We tend to act and behave in very non-rational ways. There are lots of irrational types of behavior and thinking and lots of theory’s about them (i.e., Loss Aversion, Status Quo Bias, Gambler’s Fallacy, Hedonistic Bias, Anchoring, Reciprocity, Inequity Aversion, etc…).
Here is what is interesting – we tend to still design our incentive programs and our motivational strategies based on believing that people act in a rational manner. We create programs that have 10 different ways to earn, with multipliers, qualifiers, and ratchet effects. We create programs with multiple components and factors that we think will drive specific behaviors and elicit particular performance results. We believe we know what people want and use only extrinsic rewards to drive our results.
Ok, this is a little bit of a teaser…we are in the process of doing a major overhaul of how we look at the 4-Drive Model. We’ve talked about the need to update this model before (see here and here). We are underway in getting that developed and should be launching it the first quarter of 2011.
Here is a sneak peak…the four main motivations as we’ve defined them are now renamed and constitute different elements:
1. Personal Motivation- focus on the intrinsic motivators that we have and encompasses the Drive to Challenge & Comprehend
2. Reward Motivation- focus is on the extrinsic motivators that we have and encompasses the Drive to Acquire & Achieve
3. Social Motivation- focus is on the social drives that motivate us and includes the Drive to Bond & Belong
4. Passion Motivation (this name is still being hotly debated – but for now its what we are running with)… – focus is on the motivational element of purpose and passion – including defending one’s honor and tribe
I have been touting the 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation since I first read the 2008 Harvard Business Review article “Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model” by Nohria, , Groysberg, and Lee. It is a powerful theory on human motivation in general, and in particular, employee motivation. First presented in the 2002 book, “Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices” by Lawrence and Nohria, the model outlines four main drives of motivation.
At the Lantern Group, we’ve been working with this model for almost three years now. We’ve posted on it several times in this blog (see 4-Drive Model here, Impact on Leaders here, and other info here, here, here, here and here for just a few examples).
It’s good – but not perfect.
Right away we realized that it needed to be tweaked.
First, if you have not watched Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion – please, please do. It is funny….ha, ha, ha, he, he, ha…. (ok, I need to work on my laugh – you’ll see the connection after watching).
Joss Whedan on why he developed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:
I was in South Dakota last week on a family vacation. First off, I forget how beautiful South Dakota is and all that it has to offer. Secondly, there are some really, really humongous carvings there…
The original idea for Mount Rushmore is credited to South Dakota historian Doane Robinson who thought that it would increase tourism (he was a pretty insightful man). His idea was to carve local famous people into some of the granite mountains of the Black Hills. In 1924, after working on Stone Mountain, GA, sculptor Gutzon Borglum was brought in to carve the mountain.
Borglum expanded on the original idea and wanted it to be a National monument that focused on our presidents. He insisted that his life’s work would not be spent immortalizing regional heroes but insisted that the work demanded a subject national in nature and timeless in its relevance to history.
Borglum started work on Mt. Rushmore in 1927 at the age of 60. He worked the rest of his life on the mountain.
What is it that drives meaning in work? True, real meaning that goes beyond the obvious “completed this project” or “achieved that goal”? I have some ideas, but would love to hear what other people have to say first. I’ll keep a track of the responses we get and put up another post on this with some ideas at a later time.
So please, leave a thought in the comment section!
Salespeople who are engaged in their roles, who are motivated to succeed, and who’s goals are aligned with the organizational goals have been shown to have a significant impact on helping an organization succeed (Badovick, Hadaway, & Kaminski, 1992). Successful organizations understand this and try to keep their sales employees motivated and engaged through a variety of motivational methods – mostly involving extrinsic rewards.
While much has been much written about how extrinsic rewards may have a detrimental effect of on a sales person’s intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, Kohn, or Pink – note: there is also a lot of research on how this extrinsic/intrinsic effect can be mitigated) there is little disagreement on the short-term impact that extrinsic rewards can have on a company’s performance . The short-term benefit of extrinsic rewards assures us that these rewards will be used in businesses no matter what Dan Pink has to say on the topic. However, this does not mean that these types of programs can’t be improved.
Successful organizations and leaders of the future not only need to focus on the optimization of extrinsic reward programs but also on moving other levers within the organization that can drive sales motivation. Using the Four-Drive Model of Employee Motivation (Lawrence and Nohria, 2002) provides a clear framework for how to do this.
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