“When we think about how people work, the naïve intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze,” says behavioural economist Dan Ariely (TED Talk: What makes us feel good about our work? ) “ We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labour market looks like.”
Instead, when you look carefully at the way people work, he says, you find out there’s a lot more at play — and at stake — than money. Ariely provides evidence that we are also driven by the meaningfulness of our work, by others’ acknowledgement — and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are.
“When we think about labour, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it: meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc.,” Ariely says.
Below, take a look at some of Ariely’s other studies, as well as a few from other researchers, with interesting implications for what makes us feel good about our work.
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