In Part 1 “Is Zynga be the first billion dollar psychology company? or a taxonomy of motivation” I hypothesized the science of understanding motivation is about to advance, and that site designers can use the emerging framework to better segment and engage site visitors.
Like Billy Bean used math to advance baseball, scientist are about to use big social datasets to advance the disciplines of computational physiology, game theory and behavioral economics. These are important disciplines when trying to make a service viral, engaging, or impactful. Let’s hope entrepreneurs use this new science to do more than just sell more toothpaste (improving education and healthcare would be noble).
Below is a framework I use for segmenting motivation. My interest is not academic, but rather in the application of the social sciences and mathematics to business. That being said, I believe real progress will only be achieved by engaging academia.
My hope is that by posting this framework, someone from academia will reach out and advance our thinking, point out the short coming...…or even better, come work with us.
My DRAFT framework is as follows:
A. Intrinsic process motivation (fun). - If people are motivated to perform certain kinds of work, or to engage in certain types of behavior for the sheer fun of it, then intrinsic process motivation is the driving motive. The work itself, not the task outcomes, acts as the incentive, as followers enjoy what they are doing. Intrinsic motivation is characterized by task pleasure and sheer enjoyment of the work. Some of the behavioral indicators that suggest an employee is motivated by intrinsic process include:
• Easily completes tasks when he/she doesn’t enjoy the tasks assigned.
• Often talks about how much he/she likes or dislikes the tasks assigned.
• Volunteers freely for the activities that he/she enjoys most.
Basically, there are four factors that contribute to an individual’s intrinsic motivation:
1. Challenge - (levels, leader boards, badges and goals are helpful) In order for an activity to be challenging in a positive way, goal statements have to be clear and feedback has to be provided to engage and increase the site users’ confidence. In other words, the goal has to be constructive, clear, and encouraging. Quick goals are better than distant goals. “You will feel better immediately” is much more motivating than “In four weeks you will feel better". A mix of short term and long term objectives sould be provided to keep visitors engaged with their eye on a future “prize". Additionally, goals should be personally meaningful.
• Factors that influence a person's perceptions of the relevance of a goal include: i. Whether or not achieving the goal allows the visitor to do something she could not do before (the goal is “functionally useful”)
ii. Whether or not the learner feels emotionally connected to the outcome (“fantasy relevance”)
iii. Whether or not there is social relevance:
1. Cooperation (team dynamics, team leader boards )
2. Competition (personal leader boards)
3. Recognition (badges, personal leader boards, team leader boards)
• Goals are necessary, but not sufficient for challenge. There needs to be a level of uncertainty. (After all, why engage in the activity if the outcome is already known) Techniques for variety include:
i. Goals that vary in difficulty level
ii. Hidden information
2. Curiosity – The element of surprise and desire to explore. Curiosity can arise from the fascinating complexity of a subject we need to unravel, or from elements that challenge our preconceived notions. Note: Malone and Lepper elaborate)
• Sensory curiosity – humans natural attraction to bling, slick interfaces, novelty, movement and blink tags
• Cognitive curiosity “learners and organizers” – the human natural urge to organize our knowledge structures more efficiently. Learners will experience sustained engagement when exploring learning environments that help them to be more productive, a better information filter, a better creator, etc.
3. Control - People find games compelling because games give them a sense of control. In the game world, player decisions have consequences; winning isn’t dependent on completely random factors (although there can be an element of randomness). Similarly, an empowering learning environment will be one whose options are dependent on the learner’s choices,and those choices must be tied to significant and meaningful outcomes. However, for control to be motivating, it has to be tied to the player's belief that they are capable of succeeding - too many choices, and the player is unable to distinguish between them, thus becoming frustrated.
4. Fantasy – This evokes mental images of physical or social situations which are not actually present. The optimal learning environment might be one in which individuals can create their own fantasies (e.g., imaginary characters, locations, objects).
• Outcome - fantasies that depend on the skill being learned (e.g. Hangman, where the hanged man appears as correct letters are not identified)
• Interdependent Simulations - situations where the skill being learned and the fantasy depend on one another (e.g. a simulation or role-playing game).
Note: Malone and Lepper hypothesized that fantasies are richer learning experiences, allowing visitors to connect new learning to prior knowledge through their narrative structure.
Bonus: Fantasies often address the emotional needs of learners, allowing them to experiment with new constructs in a low-risk environment.
Note: for more, see (Barbuto & Scholl, and Malone & Lepper).
B. Instrumental motivation $$$. - Instrumental rewards motivate followers when they perceive their behaviors will lead to certain tangible extrinsic outcomes, such as pay or promotions. Instrumental motivation is characterized by a concern for tangible incentives (e.g. cash, bonus, or travel vouchers ). Some of the behavioral indicators that suggest an individual is instrumentally motivated include:
• The user wanting to know “What’s in it for me?”
• The user expecting compensation for any and all extra work he or she performs.
• The user talking about how much money he or she makes or should make.
• The user will frequently talk/write about the relative wealth of others.
Note: Individuals engage in tangible exchange relationships (Barbuto & Scholl, 1998). This integrates Barnard’s (1938) material inducements, McClelland’s (1985) need for power, Katz and Kahn's (1978) legal compliance, and Kegan’s (1982) imperial stage of ego development.
C. Self-concept external motivation (reputation). - This motivation tends to be externally based. Followers attempt to meet the expectations of others by behaving in ways that elicit social feedback consistent with their own self-concept (Barbuto & Scholl, 1998). Followers behave in ways that satisfy reference group members, first to gain acceptance, and then status. This source of motivation is similar to Etzioni's (1961) social moral involvement, McClelland’s (1985) need for affiliation, and Barnard’s (1938) social inducements and is also incorporates referent influences such as social identification theory (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Self-concept external motivation is characterized by a concern for others’ opinions. An employee motivated this way is very interested in preserving and enhancing reputation amongst peers and supervisors. Some of the behavioral indicators that suggest an employee is motivated by self-concept external include will:
• Individual frequently asks for others’ feedback.
• Individual seeks praise and recognition for work performed, and is quick to post on Facebook or Twitter
• Individual often brags or tells stories about accomplishments.
• Individual is attentive to who receives credit when work is finished.
D. Self-concept internal motivation (achievement). - In this source of motivation, individuals set internal standards of traits, competencies, and values that become the basis for the ideal self. They are motivated to engage in behaviors that reinforce these internal standards and later achieve higher competency (Barbuto & Scholl, 1998; Leonard, et al., in press). This source integrates McClelland's (1985) need for achievement, Kegan’s institutional stage of ego development, and Bandura’s (1986) personal standards and self-regulation. Self-concept internal motivation is characterized by a concern for meeting one’s personal standards of performance. An individual who is motivated this way is not concerned with others’ feedback and tends to be self-driven. Some of the behavioral indicators that suggest an individual is motivated by self-concept internal include:
• He or she seeks to perform the most difficult tasks on the site.
• He or she works best when their own skills are needed for the tasks.
• He or she is interested in developing their own range of skills.
• He or she performs the most important tasks with little supervision or outside direction.
E. Goal internalization motivation (values and principles). – In this source of motivation, followers adopt attitudes and behaviors based entirely on their personal value systems Goal internalization is characterized by a need to believe in the cause. A player/visitor who is motivated this way uses value-based principles to guide decisions and actions. Some behavioral indicators that a player is motivated by goal internalization include:
• He or she asks about, or seeks the purpose of tasks (“Why are we doing this?”).
• He or she comments on the strategic focus of the site.
• He or she works hard when one believes in the cause and will not if they don’t.
• He or she lives a professional life guided by a strict set of principles and values.
Note: For more see (Barbuto & Scholl, 1998). This integrates Etzioni’s (1961) pure moral involvement, Katz and Kahn’s (1978) internalized values, and Kegan’s (1982) inter-individual stage of ego development.
Some Background, Notes and Related Reading
Some of this taxonomy is based on the work of Leonard, Beauvais, and Scholl These sources of motivation include intrinsic process, instrumental, external self-concept, internal self-concept, and goal internalization. Research using this taxonomy has examined influence tactics (Barbuto & Scholl, 1999; Barbuto, Fritz, & Marx, in press), transformational leadership (Barbuto, Fritz, & Marx, 2000) and other miscellaneous variables. In 1987, Thomas Malone and Mark Lepper published: Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivation.
There have been many perspectives offered from different fields. These perspectives have included psychosocial (Jung, 1971) expectancy (Vroom, 1964;), need-based (Alderfer, 1969; Maslow, 1954; McClelland, 1985), social identification (Ashforth & Mael, 1989), value-based (Etzioni, 1961; Katz & Kahn, 1978), goal setting (Locke & Latham, 1984), self concept-based (Brief & Aldag, 1981; Sullivan, 1989), and ego development (Kegan, 1982; Loevinger, 1976) perspectives.
Daniel Pink has a wide range of popular and recent material on psychology. There is a great YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc His books Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is a best seller, and available on iTunes
Noah J. Goldstein wrote: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
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