Synopses & Reviews
If you reward your children for doing their homework, they will usually respond by getting it done. But is this the most effective method of motivation? No, says psychologist Edward L. Deci, who challenges traditional thinking and shows that this method actually works against
performance. The best way to motivate peopleat school, at work, or at homeis to support their sense of autonomy. Explaining the reasons why a task is important and then allowing as much personal freedom as possible in carrying out the task will stimulate interest and commitment, and is a much more effective approach than the standard system of reward and punishment. We are all inherently interested in the world, argues Deci, so why not nurture that interest in each other? Instead of asking, "How can I motivate people?" we should be asking, "How can I create the conditions within which people will motivate themselves?"
"An insightful and provocative meditation on how people can become more genuinely engaged and succesful in pursuing their goals." Publisher's Weekly
In a book that challenges authoritarian thinking about motivation, a distinguished social psychologist offers an alternative to current reward/punishment theory, which, far from anarchy, espouses our ordered, internalized sense of freedom, responsibility, and commitment.
About the Author
Edward L. Deci, Ph.D., professor of pyschology at the University of Rochester, is director of its human motivation program.
Richard Flaste, former Science and Health Editor of The New York Times, led the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1987.
Table of Contents
Why We Do What We Do One
Authority and Its Discontents
Part One: The Importance of Autonomy And Competence
I'm Only in It for the Money: Early Experiments on Rewards and Alienation
The Need for Personal Autonomy
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: The Yields of Each
Engaging the World with a Sense of Competence
Part Two: The Role Of Interpersonal Connectedness
The Inner Force of Developement
When Society Beckons
The Self in a Social World
When Society Corrupts
Part Three: How It All Works
How to Promote Autonomy
Promoting Healthy Behavior
Being Autonomous Amidst the Controls
Part Four: Conclusion
The Meaning of Human Freedom
Notes on Works Cited
List of Research Articles