Intrinsic Motivation

Why Care About Intrinsic Motivation?

Notre Dame Research is committed to investing in strategies that will move the division forward and help make it "A Great Place to Work." Unlocking the power of intrinsic motivation is one of the keys to increasing both workplace productivity and satisfaction for employees—a win-win for everyone.

Drive Pink Book Cover

NDR has recently invited its managers and staff to learn about the concept of intrinsic motivation and its three building blocks: autonomy, mastery, and purpose, as described by career analyst Daniel H. Pink. In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink argues that the problem-solving needed in the 21st-century workplace will only be achieved by self-directed employees who have opportunities to develop their skills and contribute to something greater than themselves.

While NDR has borrowed Pink’s definitions for our training, research across the fields of psychology, education, sociology, economics, and, more recently, neuroscience has uncovered many similar principles and themes. Summaries of the most important concepts and additional resources are linked below: 

  • What motivates us? – the big picture
  • Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives
  • Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves
  • Progress – the steps forward or incremental progress we make each day on meaningful work

Intrinsic Motivation Reflection Video Series 

NDR created a series of videos and activities to encourage everyone in the division to pause and reflect on what motivates them during the inaugural Winter Session in 2020-2021. Although created to provide support for workers–most of whom had been working remotely for 8-plus months–during the height of the pandemic, the concepts and messages are relevant anytime one wants to think about what truly drives their day-to-day living. 

Need Additional Information?

If you have questions or ideas for additional resources in this playbook, please contact the Director of Finance and Administration