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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Work itself as Motivation - Long way ahead?

June 2018 also means that I'm going to be stepping into my 20th year as a Human Resource a.k.a. #HR management professional. 
I remember being very excited when I got to hear for the first time via our Organisational Behaviour class that Work itself is a classification of motivators. Looking back on my first five years of Corporate life - I cannot remember many role descriptions from recruiters including the ones I made for my first employer (a Rayon yarn manufacturing plant) which exemplified 'work itself'. 
It's towards early part of 2010 that such descriptions were slowly found - albeit rare. 
Come to think of it most other forms of motivations propounded by theories, have now being questioned - the famous among them being Maslow's Hierarchy of needs theory. 
Why did it take over sixty years to question any theory is a valid question I have. 
Maybe this podcast about Why Bschools should be bull dozed - by the Guardian provides some answers ? 
https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2018/may/21/why-we-should-bulldoze-the-business-school-podcast  

Here are some more articles which question the Maslow's Theory:
1. Susan Fowler wrote in the Harvard Business review 
2. Steve Denning wrote in Forbes Magazine 

The Steve Denning article (link above) refers to 
another article by Pamela Rutledge from Psychology Today entitled “Social Networks: What Maslow Misses” (November 2011) points out that Maslow’s model misses the role of social connection. 
“Here’s the problem with Maslow’s hierarchy,” explains Rutledge.  “None of these needs — starting with basic survival on up — are possible without social connection and collaboration…. Without collaboration, there is no survival. It was not possible to defeat a Woolley Mammoth, build a secure structure, or care for children while hunting without a team effort.  It’s more true now than then. Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialised. Connection is a prerequisite for survival, physically and emotionally.”

Modern work places and work tasks are more about achieving results via collaboration and less about 'knowing' or possessing a particular skill. This therefore brings added focus on the ability of the worker to connect deeply to the 'Work Itself' in my opinion. Let's take the example of the task being discussed in the TED talk below. 



How long will it take for leaders to connect to the potential that exists within the 'Work itself' to motivate probable employees? 

Success of volunteer efforts like Wikipedia and other open source crowd sourced knowledge initiatives to me proves this beyond any doubt.

Recent acquisition of Github by microsoft is another feather in the 'voluntary' cap for those who are connected. 

I'm hoping HR gurus of the future will review 21st century work situations that can impact motivation deeper and lift the veil on this knowledge. 
Till then, let's get our employees scheduled for the next motivation classroom talk or Training that's been rolled out by this 'innovative trainer' via an attractive marketing campaign. 

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