Discussing the question of motivation at work
With a popular talk from TED
Four weeks ago we began this term of CHOW lunchtime sessions with a couple of talks from the TED conference. This week in our fourth CHOW of this season we return to TED with a single talk on the question of motivation at work, which has some profound theological consequences.
We are going to watch the whole of Dan Pink’s August 2009 talk; “The Puzzle of Motivation.” Dan is a writer and speaker on topics related to psychology and work. Regarded as one of the top 50 business speakers in the world, and formerly a speech writer for VPOTUS Al Gore in the 1990’s, Dan’s talk is one of the highest viewed lectures on the internet.
In this talk Dan Pink takes a classic psychological experiment created in the 1940’s by Karl Duncker and which was revised and refined in recent years by Prof. Sam Glucksberg. Through the lens of these experiments Pink looks at the topic of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, both from the perspective of scientific findings and contemporary business customs.
On Wednesday we will discuss Dan’s talk and in particular look at the theological assumptions that underlie both views of motivation, of work, and of human nature.
A few questions for reflection:
1) What is the theory of human nature that underlies much common thinking about reward and punishment?
2) What does this theory suggest about the nature of work in human culture?
3) What would we want to say theologically about the role and purpose of work?
4) What might this suggest as important features of a Christian view of reward and punishment?