Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can Family Motivate Workers Who Have Boring Jobs?

See How to Make It Through a Boring Day Job: New research suggests that, rather than being distracted, employees most committed to family are more motivated and productive by Kelsey Gee of the WSJ. Excerpts:
"Employees who feel their work helps support their families are more productive and energized about their jobs, even when they stand to gain little for themselves."

"workers who reported the most energy and processed the largest number coupons, despite disliking the work itself, were those who felt strong commitment to family, which could include spouses, children, parents, cousins or other kin. Those women processed about 10% more coupons a week than employees who reported less family-driven motivation."

"“from an identity perspective, when employees perform well, they reinforce their self-concepts as responsible breadwinners and good role models.”"

"much of a person’s most intense commitment to their job can come from their desire to support their loved ones"
See  also What really motivates us which argues that intrinsic motivation matters more than money. But I always wonder about that. Does that mean we don't need to pay doctors high salaries to get people to go to medical school?

Also, economists assume that people want to maximize their utility. Sometimes people are said to have inter-dependent utility functions. That is, the happiness of someone else affects your own utility. So if making more money on a job, even a boring one, if it is money you can spend on your family, it will cause you to work harder since you will enjoy the things you can buy for your family.

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