Hello Terry ( @misterrosen ),
Thank you for raising your concern and such an interesting questions.
I apologize that I could not respond earlier. But now, I finally got the opportunity to respond to some loose-ends conversations on my blog. So let me try to address your concern.
First of all, I am familiar with both Alfie Kohn and Edward Deming, and I have deep respect for their work respectively. But as you said, we live in a society where traditional evaluation is deeply ingrained. So it may just be a necessary evil for now, which can only be undone over time. It will take time to undo the wrong system we put in place due to our own ignorance. So we all have to walk a very fine line between the modern view (of Deming and Kohn) and the more traditional views.
Second, I don’t believe there is any contradiction in what I said with Kohn and Deming. The grading system is what’s destroying the intrinsic motivation, not the student’s desire to do better. He or she is simply a victim of the system that we put in place, because we train him/her to believe that getting a good grade is a good thing, because the society will reward him/her for it. Given the right environment, we all will try our best to optimize our gain. In this respect, a student wanting to get a good grade is no different from someone trying to get some food because he’s hungry. Having desire is not bad, it’s human nature. The system is what’s flawed.
Third, I do believe that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation has its place. They both exist for a reason. Biologically and evolutionarily, we and other animals respond to both because they are both important for our survival. It is not the case that intrinsic motivation is always better than their extrinsic counterpart. It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Good leaders should know how to leverage both. Unfortunately many leaders today are too focused on the extrinsic, because they tend to work faster and have more measurable effects.
Finally, you are right that I probably have made an assumption that “nothing is wrong,” when I said “there is nothing wrong with wanting to get good grades.” But I felt that it’s a fair assumption, because we can easily find millions of things that is wrong with our world. If I want to be critical about it, I can easily go down the path that everything is wrong and we might as well reboot this entire world that we lived in. And even then there is no guarantee that the new system won’t create other problems.
One could easily argue that Kohn and Deming are wrong, because they publish their work to promote their selfish belief, for fame, and potential economic gain. We are too, because we have a job and trying to do things for our own economic gain, which is extrinsic too. Why do we accept payment? So is the economic system is wrong? Is capitalism is wrong because it’s not fair? But a purely utopian type of community is not perfect either because it kills motivation and encourages people to do the bare minimum. IMHO, I believe that everything that we do or said in this world is based on some assumptions. And these assumptions aren’t bad or wrong. They are merely our past experiences that shape our lives, our thinking, even our beliefs.
Thank you for your comment. It’s well taken. I don’t take disagreement personally, because I see it as an opportunity to further our knowledge. Besides, I like these academic debates, even though they could be very wrong and wasteful of earthly resources in someone’s eyes, since they often do not produce anything of value. But who is to decide what’s valuable? Isn’t that subjective? So if I am happy doing it should that be enough justification? But isn’t that just selfish? Why is this form of selfishness OK, and the student working by themselves and don't want to help other is not?
See the point? I don't think we can blame people for their sub-optimal behavior if the system is not perfect. But we can't blame the system either because they are created by less than perfect human beings just like ourselves.
Some of the problems we face are very complex. I don’t think we as a human species collectively are even close to having any real solutions to some of these problems we created. I can only hope for the best.
I hope you enjoy this discussion. I did.
See you next time.
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I think a little pressure is good. It does get me motivated about writing knowing that people are waiting on them. So Thx. And I will put on my writing hat once I am done with all the external speaking at conferences and lecturing at Universities.
I'm not sure if there is any easy way to subscribe and get notification to my speaking events. I think that if you follow my tweets and blogs, I should have some mention about upcoming events. Sorry there isn't any simpler ways that I can think of.
But really appreciate your interest and support.
See you again on my blog.
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My apology for the late reply. I've been on the road quite a bit lately and didn't have time to respond as timely to my blog comments as I'd like.
The shift from extrinsic to intrinsic is a very challenging topic. It's difficult to understand and rather difficult to write as it requires some background info on how people learn and internalize data and turn them into beliefs.
Short answer is that I've got the time to write that up yet. I will eventually. I just need a good chunk of time to sit down and write. So... another apology from my end.
But I will make a note of that and try to write a few more gamification blog post intermittent throughout some of my big data/data science posts. And I will try to write in such way that it leads up to that shift. OK?
Thank you for being supportive of my work and taking the time to comment.
See you again at my blog.
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First, my apology for such late reply. Some how many of my blog comment notification emails got automatically routed to the clutter folder in outlook. I was just re-discovering how many conversation I missed.
To address your problem of predicting sales, I think you can start by setting up a simple linear regression model between the various predictor/operational metric over time (e.g. holidays, weekday vs weekends, supply chain data, etc.) and your sales data over time (e.g. daily sales, or weekly sales). Then once you solve that regression equation, the resulting coefficient would be able to give you the month predicted sales once you plug in the predictor/operational metrics, you will get a prediction of sales.
This does require you to have some statistical skills of setting up regression models and use packages and tools to solve it.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you need to dig deeper.
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First, my apology for responding so late. The notification email for this comment got stuck in my clutter folder and I just recover it.
Thank you for your questions. Let me give it a stab to see if I can clarify it more.
1. Although science keeps discovering new findings, so far the data do suggest that extrinsic rewards do have a crowding out effect for intrinsic motivation. That, if you keep pushing extrinsic rewards to people, you will inadvertently reduce their intrinsic motivation for the task. It's know as the overjustification effect. It's a fairly well documented phenomenon.
That said, it doesn't mean this effect will apply to everyone in every case. Some people's intrinsic motivation may be so strong that they simple don't pay attention to the extrinsic rewards. Which is the case for some admirable academicians, artist, musicians, etc. who refuse to be bought. Some may call them stupid, but they simply have more conviction about what they do.
However, I wouldn't say that extrinsic rewards are "by definition" less satisfying, they are just different. They often satisfy people faster, but that satisfaction feeling also go away faster. So extrinsic rewards can be seen as more satisfying than intrinsic in the short term. But over longer time horizons, yes, extrinsic is less satisfying than their intrinsic counterpart.
2. The answer is yes, but it's hard.
A. You can shift people's locus of motivation from outside to within, but keep in mind that simply shift their focus from extrinsic reward to intrinsic rewards, with are both still extrinsic motivation. The trick is that the students have to really learn it (have a epiphany or some realization like an aha moment).
But it's really difficult to tell if student really learned something. They can just remember it all, but haven't actually learn anything. They may do what you want them to do and even act like they enjoy doing it, but not really learn to love it just for the sake of doing it.
Bottom line is you can but it's not easy.
B. Yes recognition is an extrinsic motivation, but it can be an intrinsic reward that is not tangible. Remember that any reward (intrinsic or extrinsic) are extrinsic motivation b/c they are no part of the behavior.
I don't think there is a danger of recognizing intrinsic motivation leading to a reduction of the behavior, because you can't really recognize intrinsic motivation easily. Like I said, you can have external measure for them, but you never really know what's the real reason someone do something. And it's hard to prove it because you would have to take away all the extrinsic motivations (which include both intrinsic rewards as well as extrinsic rewards) and demonstrate that this person still love doing the task.
Remember, intrinsic motivation means the reason you do something is inherent part of the behavior that you are doing; that means what drive to do something is actually just that you are doing, and nothing else (please read my previous blog for a deeper discussion). So I would just recognize lightly but seriously, and emphasize that is the exemplary behavior (that is if you are really sure he's intrinsically motivated, which you cannot really prove).
Ok, I hope I've clarify any confusion you may have. But if anything is still unclear, please let me know. I'm happy to discuss further here.
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