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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

Why We Work

"The lesson is that incentives can be a dangerous weapon. A critic of this research might say that the problem is not incentives, but dumb incentives. No doubt, some incentives are dumber than others. But no incentives can ever be smart enough to substitute for people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing.”

The book explores how people view their work and its role in their lives, as well as what gives meaning in work and what organizations can do to create more of it in order to increase employee engagement.


1) It is important to know whether what you do is a job, a career or a clear calling for you. You motivation, passion and energy will be significantly different depending on how you view your work.

2) Whilst a raise seems to be the obvious answer to employee motivation, it is not the case. It is actually a pretty bad motivator.

3) People feel motivated when they have autonomy over their work and time, when they feel being important to the organization and when they can identify with the company's mission.

READ IF: You want to better understand what motivates people at work and what doesn't.


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