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As a child, I never really liked science, I was more of an artsy kind of gal and wanted nothing to do with science. My father, being a scientist and all, believed that with the right kind of motivation, I would one day come to love science just as much as he did. Don’t get me wrong, he had my intentions at heart, but his approach to teaching me how to be good at science and learn to love it, was all wrong. He would entice me with rewards such as being able to go to a friend’s house for the weekend and new gadgets. I was also excused from doing any house chores, only if I was doing extra lessons with him for science. What my father did not realize, was that I was not learning anything, all I was doing was just going through the motions, just to get to the end or receive my reward. Like many other managers in organizations, he believed that with the right kind of motivation, I would learn about science and one day come to love it. Alas, as I grew older and my opinions grew stronger, one day I found the courage to tell him that I had no interest what so ever in science and my grades reflected that. Argyris (1991) identified that the second mistake that managers make is to assume that learning is the result of the right kind of motivation. This exemplifies how employees may just go through the motions just so that they can receive the rewards at the end (after all as long they get that pay check, they will not be motivated to fully engage and find more plausible solutions to the organization’s problem’s). All they need to do is to tick all the correct boxes and…voilà!

If incentives (compensation programs and performance reviews) are not the best way for people to learn, then why do we have tests and grades in the education systems? Don’t grades (performance reviews) and the prospects to graduate (compensation) hinder the learning process for students? Having an education is supposed to prepare you for the real world problem-solving, but like Argyris (1991) mentions in his reading, the people that do get an education, the professionals, are the worst people to help solve those problems. This is because when things do not go as intended, these professionals will turn around and blame external factors for the failure. In MGMT300 the incentive for the winning team in mikes bikes is an extra 5% on top of their final grade, also we have weekly peer evaluations which are equivalent to performance reviews, which leads to me to question the effectiveness of the paper for my learning. At the beginning of the course in week 1, I was very excited to finally learn how to learn, after reading the Daudelin (1996); Kolb (1976) and the Peiperl (2001) journals. The journals emphasized the importance of learning through reflection and the importance of feedback in the learning process. So now what Argyris is claiming is that, the dangling carrot that is the 5% bonus marks reward and the weekly peer reviews are not the right kind of motivation for me to effectively learn? What does this all mean? These readings are just as confusing to comprehend as the dreaded wiki! One minute you believe you are going in the right direction, then suddenly you have hit a dead end, however you cannot find your way back.

References

Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4—15

Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36—48  

Kolb, D. A. (1976). Management and the learning process. California Management Review, 8(3), 21—31

Peiperl, M. A. (2001). Getting 360° feedback right. Harvard Business Review, 79(1), 142—147

3 Comments

  1. hey Arlette! I really enjoyed reading your jounral. The way in which you were able to use a personal story and relate it to the reading was very well done. Great point about the right motivation enabling us to learn, so yes, what does this all mean? You have understood, applied and evaluated the readings and I think you are heading in the right direction. My only suggestion would be to perhaps mention some potential solutions? If the 5% bonus mark is not the right kind of motivation, what can be done about it? Other than that, awesome entry! (smile) 

  2. Hey Arlette, brilliant entry!

    I loved the anecdote, very fitting and amusing as well, and I can see you got a lot out of the readings.  You wrote about one of my favourite topics ever which is engagement, so I found it very interesting and would be keen to hear more of your opinion on this along with motivation.  I also commend you on making the link between week one's readings and this weeks readings in regards to their contradictory nature about learning.  You are 100% right about motivation and how an individual 'going through the motions' as you say as a means to an end to get that final reward cannot be classed as motivation, even though a motivated individual would still do the same behaviour - their internal processes would be totally different.

    I think your learning journal is superb, it is witty, insightful, makes some brilliant points and linkages and my only suggestion for improvement is that you don't try and edit it in any way! (wink)

    1. I just read Sonia's comments and want to mention that I agree with her last point too, what do you think our motivation as a team is?  We could always talk about this on wednesday (smile)