Saturday, 3 December 2011

3 December – shopping again

Another day to get away from the shopping rat race. Stephen Cottrell asks to consider what we really need – not what we think we want. He suggests we try a walk in the countryside – I only have to walk outside the front door to do this!

I happened to be browsing some web sites searching for information about volunteers when I spotted a note about Hertzberg’s Two-Factor theory – which rang a bell in the context of today’s ‘Do Nothing.’ Although developed to understand what motivates employees, it seems relevant in today’s thoughts. Hertzberg says there are two sets of factors: hygiene and motivation.

Hygiene factors, if missing, lead to dissatisfaction, but in themselves don’t motivate people. They need to be there for a degree of satisfaction, but they are not what it’s all about. Motivators are what drive people, or, in today’s context, are what people need. Hygiene factors include things like living conditions, relationships with peers and, interestingly, money. The real motivators are things like achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth. Translated from the workplace, I think this goes a long way to explain the answers in Stephen Cotrell’s book – what people really wanted for Christmas: “end to violence, peace in the middle east etc”

I found another relevant reference: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which has a similar message: there are a set of basic needs which need to be met before the higher-level drivers can have an effect on people, but these basic needs do not motivate. The basic needs include breathing, food, water, security of body and of employment. Maslow’s theory says that highly motivated people go beyond the basics and are driven by ‘Being-needs’ such as morality, creativity, esteem.

I know sometime during Advent I’ll be challenged to engage with people for whom the hygiene factors or ‘deficiency needs’ are a major problem, but for today, I think I’ve been given a new outlook on things.

If you want to read more about Hertzberg and Maslin, I think the Wikipedia entries are to be trusted! Click here for Hertzberg Maslow

Tomorrow: the reality of life contrasted with the images in the ads.

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