May 29, 2020
In our 37th "Deming Lens" episode, host Tripp Babbitt shares his interpretation of wide-ranging aspects and implications of Dr. Deming's theory of management. This month he revisits intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.
Deming Lens - Episode 37
Episode 37 - Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
Dr. Adam Grant Research on Fundraising
Revisiting the Lasting Impact of Taylorism
Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:15] In the thirty seventh edition of The Demming Lens, I'll discuss intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:27] Hi, I'm Tripp Babbitt. Host of the Deming Institute podcast. And in this Deming lens, I was. Doing some research for my Mind Your Noodles podcast. And I really think this is applies to the Deming community, so I wanted to share some things that I found was doing some research. I think it really applies. Back in the 1980s, Deming users groups were familiar with Alfie Cohn and his two important works published Punished by Rewards and No Contest. The Case Against Competition. And Dr. Deming would often cite Alfie's work during his seminars and videos and things of that sort. But in Punch by Rewards, Alfie Cohn talked quite a bit as Dr. Deming about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and the intrinsic motivation was found to be by far the better motivator. And I think fundamentally, all of us kind of understand that, especially being in the Demming community, where if you're new, I think you will find if you read the two books by Alfie Cohn and Dr Deming's works that or videos that you'll find the same thing. But I did come across some relatively new studies that help shed light on this intrinsic over extrinsic motivation. And they are by a pretty well-known author, which is Dr.
[00:02:09] Adam Grant. He's written many books, originals and a number of different books that are relevant with with interesting research and studies. And in his studies, he he's found that when a worker is connected somehow to the customer, that they can see the impact on a customer, that it provides them with some intrinsic motivation. But the study that really got my attention was this one that was with a fund raising company that he worked with and they were having turnover of raisers. If you could imagine, that would be a pretty tough job of about 400 percent every year. So basically, every quarter would have turnover of a completely new staff of people and. You know, basically, the job was that they were to call alumni of a university to solicit funds, donations for scholarships, and so with this turnover amount, he went to different. Really thousands of executives and ask him what they would do. And not surprisingly, most of them thought that the answer would be no. Offering some type of incentive, you know, increased pay rewards, things of that sort. All extrinsic types of motivators.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:51] But from previous research, Grant theorized having a student share with the fundraiser raisers how the scholarship would make a different error, had made a difference in their lives, would help improve motivation. And it did. And again, if you had a lot of Alphie cone stuff, you're probably not too surprised. Or you may be surprised if you're new to the to the Demming community. But what they what he found was there was an increase of about a hundred, 42 percent in weekly time spent on the phone doing the fund fundraiser. And there was an increase of 400 percent. And the amount that was raised weekly went from 400 dollars to greater than to that two thousand dollars every week. So this idea of intrinsic motivation being more important than extrinsic motivation still isn't in the minds of executives, of people that are actually pulling the strings. And, you know, if we take ourselves back to the Taylor Ristic ideas from Frederick Taylor in the early nineteen hundreds. This idea of, boy, if we, you know, went to Schmitt and the worker carrying pig iron I believe was, was, was the, was the job and he wanted to produce more of this than he would just offer incentives, extrinsic types of incentives in order to get more. And this think he gets perpetuated despite every bit of evidence that shows that intrinsic motivation is is far greater. And IMPAC in fact, one study that I found said that nine in 10 workers would be willing to to be paid less if they did meaningful work. You know, from their perspective and we see we still aren't tapping into this into with organizations, despite Dr. Deming's pleas, Offie KONE's, please, all of the research that's being done. And it's this being rooted back in this Taylor Ristic type of thinking that perpetuates what's going on here.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:30] Well, I can say the U.S., because we seem to be the ones really stuck in this.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:34] But this is this is global, too, that the extrinsic rewards are the greater motivator or the prime motivator over intrinsic rewards. And obviously, from Dr. Grant study, we found that he found that. That that this is still the thinking of executives, if we're going to decrease turnover, what's offer more rewards? And it was something so simple as having a student come and share what they're doing now.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:07:10] My experience in working with organizations has been that because of the functional separation of work and this really started at least and from what I've read from Frederick Taylor, you know, separating out the pieces that the work, nobody can see the impact. It's not like the blacksmith anymore that would take the order was the CEO, in essence, would take the order, do the work and then get feedback from the customer. We don't have that type of arrangement in many organizations anymore, and therefore we're disconnected from the customer. So if you can imagine when you call into a contact center, how many things are resolved at the contact center level? Some are. But some of the deeper problems or the delivery of the service or the product, we never really know. You you would never really know in a contact center whether the service was good or bad. And it's one of the things that drives me absolutely bonkers is, you know, getting the message at the beginning of a call into a customer service area. And they say, well, hold on. And we're going to take a survey of basically how the contact center agent dead. And you know how I mean, where was the person? Nice. I mean, what what what am I rating? I'm not really rating, nor can they see how things perform. So I rarely do the surveys that are on there unless I'm angry about something. To be honest with you. Or they were able to resolve the problem and to my satisfaction.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:59] But that doesn't happen. Like I said, it doesn't happen very often in a in a contact center because of the separation of work, nor do they see.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:09:07] So from if you could imagine sitting in contacts in here all day and nine out of 10 of your calls are things that you can't resolve and you never know the outcome. How satisfying can it be, how meaningful work cannot be. And so there's opportunities here to develop meaningful work. But I wanted to share this these studies because real I thought this what were are these studies were important things to think about as we talk in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:09:45] Thank you for listening to the Deming Institute podcast. Stay updated on the latest blogs, podcasts, programs and other activities at Demming dot org.