Monday, December 02, 2013


[IWS] INC.: 3 TRAITS OF CULTURES THAT MOTIVATE by Samuel Bacharach [2 December 2013]

IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau



3 Traits of Cultures that Motivate Company culture isn't a mysterious mist that descends upon your company. As a leader, you're responsible for creating a motivational culture.


Entrepreneurial ventures are based on motivation. Leaders who cannot motivate others inevitably remain holed up in their caves with their great ideas.


Motivation isn’t simply a question of extrinsic rewards--big bonuses, great salaries, and trips to Hawaii.


While many people successfully use extrinsic rewards to build motivation during a period of growth, what happens when things get tough? How do you motivate when there is no bonus, or when you’re downsizing? This is when you need is commitment based on intrinsic rewards. What you need is a culture of motivation--a culture that sustains forward movement even when things are rough.


Culture is not something that just emerges while you’re busy doing something else. Culture is not some anthropological mist that mysteriously settles in on your organizational terrain. It is something that you, as an entrepreneurial leader, are responsible for. 


A culture of motivation addresses three critical socio-psychological needs: the need to learn; the need for affiliation; and the need for reaffirmation.


1. Learning is the basic psychological need for efficacy and mastery.  It is the need to feel that your activities are expanding your knowledge, skills, and potential. It is personal growth.  How often do people drop jobs or projects because they the projects seem to be a dead end? Dead ends equal repetition: nothing new to do, nothing new to learn, no challenges, and no upward mobility.  


2. Affiliation is the most basic sociological drive.  It is the need to identify with and be part of a group.  It is the need for community. More often than not individuals are drawn to projects and activities that allow them the opportunity to identify and work with others.  Group-based projects and activities help people stay longer than if they were working alone. Having the sense you’re part of a group makes it easier to sustain momentum.


3. Reaffirmation is the basic socio-psychological drive for social reassurance.  It is the need for recognition. It is a public recognition for what you’ve accomplished, who you are, and where you belong. Without reaffirmation, you create feelings of being taken for granted--people feel overlooked and underappreciated.  Without periodic reaffirmation, you can stir up “why-am-I-here?” questions.  Without reaffirmation, few people will stay on your side, and you’ll be unlikely to sustain momentum.


Learning, affiliation, and reaffirmation are keys to creating a culture of motivation. The challenge to your entrepreneurial leadership is to create an organizational culture that will address each of these needs.  If you want to make sure your initiative is carried out in the most expeditious and appropriate manner by an active, engaged team, you must deal with the motivational issue.  You need to be deliberate about culture, and use it as a proactive tool.  


Entrepreneurial leaders understand they must manage the organizational culture just as they maintain resources and monitor performance.  Entrepreneurial leaders understand that culture is the glue that keeps everything else in place.  And they know how to manage culture to sustain momentum.




This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.


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