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According to Dan Ariely on the Ted Talk video, the meaning of work is having a sense of progress and being rewarded in some way or multiple ways, being able to be proud of the work that you completed and to love what they are doing Dan gave several examples of experiments that he conducted where people were paid to complete tasks and he found that the people who were rewarded for their work or were able to see their sense of progress, were more willing to do the task for longer than people who were ignored or had to watch their work be taken apart in front of their eyes The sense of accomplishment that people got from seeing the work that they did or being acknowledged for the work that they did, enjoyed a tedious and repetitive task more than those who were ignored or watched their work be ignored Dan also realized that the people who were acknowledged for their work, like in the paper experiment, would be more likely to put in the time and effort it would take to do the task correctly rather than those people who were ignored.
If people realize that their work goes unnoticed, they would be more likely to not put as much effort into completing the task and would most likely not worry about whether they did it correctly or not, because no body would notice it.
Dan also discussed the “Ikea effect” where Ikea has products that take a long time to put together and sometimes can be very difficult to put together, Although, even though putting the product together can be stressful and take a long time, you would be more satisfied with that product than other products like it that did not require as much work Betty Crocker had an issue with this awhile back with their cake mixes.
All that was required was to pour the cake mix into a bowl, add water, put it in the oven and you would have a cake. The company thought that their customers would appreciate this product, however the reality was that it was highly unpopular due to the fact that people could not see it as “their” cake because there was not enough work put into making it.
Therefore, the resolution to that problem was that companies took the eggs and the milk out of the cake mix powder, requiring the customer to physically crack the egg in, pour the milk in, along with pouring the milk in and putting it in the oven to get the cake People then felt a lot more satisfaction with their cake and were more likely to identify it as their cake due to the amount of work they put into making it. The way to solve monotony in a workplace is to not only recognize the work that is put in and acknowledge the effort given, but also to not make a task too easy to complete People need to love what they do by having a sense of acknowledgment and accomplishment. Before the industrial revolution, Adam Smith discussed that efficiency was the key to success, meaning that in his example, at a pin factory, making a pin has 12 steps If one person did all 12 steps then production would be a lot lower than if you had 12 people and each person complete one step of making the pin Before the Industrial Revolution, that would make sense and we would all agree. However, today, Karl Marx idea that meaning is much more important in the workplace is more highly encouraged.
Although production would be faster with 12 people each completing a step, production would eventually decrease or not be as high of quality due to the fact that people would feel their work would go unnoticed as well as little to no satisfaction in the work they completed. According to Karl Marx, if one person completed all 12 steps themselves, they are able to love what they do more because they are able to see their sense of progress, If you would have multiple workers, each completing all 12 steps, production in the long run would end up being higher and better quality because people would love what they do and continue to do it. In conclusion, motivation is often associated with payment, however in order to be motivated you need to love what you do. In order to love what you do, you need to add meaning, creation, Challenge, ownership, identity, pride, etc, to the task at hand in order to get people in a workplace to be more productive as well as make them happier in their job, which would in turn, eliminate monotony in the workplace.
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