Do high salaries really encourage harder work?

People often claim that high salaries are needed to create incentives for harder work – and so inequality is justified.

But this short animated talk, about what motivates us, rather suggests otherwise. In it, author Dan Pink talks about how a lot of research shows that incentive-based payments don’t result in people working harder or better – except for rote, easily measurable tasks.

In most kinds of work, the things that actually motivate people are purpose (knowing that their work has some meaning), autonomy (feeling like they’re in control of their work), and mastery (being able to get better at what they do).

All of which are things that would be more plentiful in a more equal society, especially one with workplaces that were more egalitarian.

One comment on “Do high salaries really encourage harder work?
  1. I love the justification that high wages are their to provide the incentive for people to work harder. If that were true all people would be offered high wages.
    But low wage and salary earners are not offered these same incentives. The
    only incentive they get to work harder is being shown the door.

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