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9.6 Summary

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.

In this chapter we first defined motivation and collaboration. We then considered the roles that motivation play in human behavior. We identified and explained the place of strategies for bringing about motivation and collaboration. Finally, we explored the crucial role played by feedback and assessment in motivating members of a group.

Chapter Review Questions

  1. Interpretive Questions

    1. What factors might cause a highly-motivated individual to lose his or her motivation abruptly?
    2. Under what circumstances might collaboration be of minor importance to members of a group?
    3. How would you rank the collaboration strategies described in section 4 of this chapter? On what basis do you feel your ranking is justified?
  2. Application Questions

    1. Do motivational speakers actually cause members of their audiences to be motivated? Identify a total of at least half a dozen members of your family, friends, and peers who have heard motivational speakers and ask them how, if at all, the speakers changed their behavior or outlook.
    2. A commonly-held view of coaches in competitive sport is that they motivate athletes to achieve personal triumphs and develop productive collaboration with teammates. Investigate this issue and share your findings.
    3. Some people feel that, despite its intended purpose of increasing achievement, “high-stakes” assessment of K-12 students entails more drawbacks than advantages. Do you agree? Locate writings by three supporters and three opponents of such assessment, share the documents with classmates, and explain why you endorse or disagree with any two of them.

Additional Resources

Many organizations employ professional speakers whose chief function is to motivate groups in business, education, and other areas of society. See what you can learn by visiting and assessing the opportunities offered by the following websites associated with organizations of this sort:

Warren Bennis and Patricia Biederman’s book Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration, published in 1997 by Perseus Books, describes an impressive example of successful creative collaboration by a small group of employees in Lockheed Martin Corporation during World War II. Lockheed’s “skunkworks”—an unstructured, independent offshoot of the parent company—encouraged collaboration among engineers and others to produce innovative new products in a very short time.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington strives to provide its students with a fully collaborative learning environment built around “learning communities.” Visiting the college’s campus or its website (http://www.evergreen.edu) will reveal some of the principles and practices underlying Evergreen’s collaborative philosophy.

Many pairs of musicians have created famous and popular musical compositions. Read about these partnerships to see how well they were able to collaborate and what they felt made their collaboration successful:

  • W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
  • Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
  • Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Carolyn Wiley of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga published an article in the International Journal of Manpower, “What motivates employees according to over 40 years of motivation surveys” (1997—volume 18, issue 3), in which she claimed that employees overwhelmingly chose “good wages” as their top motivator. Although wages seem to be purely extrinsic, Wiley contended that they communicate what an organization values and that they affect employees’ emotional and psychological wellbeing. Reading Wiley’s article should give you a potentially new perspective on what motivates people to put forth effort in the business world.

Many theorists believe that what motivates people is culture-specific. Asians, in particular, are held to behave according to Confucian principles and collectivist motives. The chapter “The nature of achievement motivation in collectivist societies” in Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and applications (1994; Cross-cultural research and methodology series, Vol. 18; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications) offers an explanation of this viewpoint.

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.