Book #3: DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (2009). By Daniel H. Pink.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
in Behavior Change
This is the book that launched the much-needed discussion on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation in behavior change. It was first recommended to me by Dean Witherspoon, president of Health Enhancement Systems. Dean has a great white paper available on incentives that you should also read, “How Financial Incentives / Disincentives Undermine Wellness: Making Wellness Rewarding Without Rewards.”
If you’ve felt in your heart that financial incentives and blatant manipulation don’t seem right in wellness programming, the validation and reasons for those feelings can be found in “Drive.”
There are so many great passages in this book, but here are a couple favorites of mine.
“In environments where extrinsic rewards are most salient, many people work only to the point that triggers the reward − and no further. So if students get a prize for reading three books, many won’t pick up a fourth.”
* * *
“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and richer lives.”
Not only does Pink demonstrate that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation, he also shows via multiple case studies that extrinsic incentives are worse, and more destructive than having no incentive at all. Instead of pursuing an activity out of curiosity and discovery, the extrinsic incentive takes over the purpose and destroys productivity and joy in the process.
According to Pink, if you use “if-then rewards,” you’re going against the scientific evidence. After reading this book, you’ll wonder how extrinsic incentives can be so popular when the science clearly demonstrates exactly the opposite.
Check out the other books in The Health & Wellness Promotion 2013 Summer Reading Program – click here.
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Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read, and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.