Motivation to learn: "Love is a better master than duty"

Came across this comment whilst exploring laptop.org.au, the Australian arm of the One Laptop Per Child movement [my emphasis]:

Learning is our main goal. … Epistemologists from John Dewey to Paulo Freire to Seymour Papert agree that you learn through doing. This suggests that if you want more learning, you want more doing. Thus OLPC puts an emphasis on software tools for exploring and expressing, rather than instruction. Love is a better master than duty. Using the laptop as the agency for engaging children in constructing knowledge based upon their personal interests and providing them tools for sharing and critiquing these constructions will lead them to become learners and teachers.

So why do we think it should be any different for adults in our organisations? – that ‘duty’ will somehow necessarily be a better motivator than love of the work itself?

Then crosslink that with Daniel Pink’s summary of recent research on extrinsic versus intrinsic motivators. From that, we discover that monetary bonuses and other ‘external’ motivators not only don’t help in knowledge-work, they actually make performance worse. What does work is ‘motivation from within’ – especially a commitment to the work itself for its own sake.

Crosslink that with what we know about the skills-learning process, and especially about the need for a ‘commitment of the heart’ – a commitment to the skill itself – to enable the capability to deal with real-world complexity in the context of that skill.

Crosslink that with what we know about the role of vision as a unifying force for and within an enterprise.

Crosslink that again with one of the core themes from the current version of ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library – the key international standard on IT service-management), that people do not want products or services as such, they want “satisfaction of a perceived need”; then note that this applies to all people within the enterprise as much as to the enterprise’s clients.

Given all of that, what types of motivation are provided or applied within your own organisation? Is there much evidence of awareness that “love is a better master than duty”? And if not, what would you need to change in the business-architecture or enterprise-architecture – such as in performance-metrics, performance-appraisals and the like – to support more of ‘love’ within the work itself?

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