Larry Ferlazzo writes: “The evidence demonstrating the dangers of extrinsic rewards and the importance of helping people develop intrinsic motivation is pretty overwhelming at this point.” This holds good form financial motivators at work and  grades and points and the like in the classroom.

Ferlazzo quotes the review of the results of a study on 200,000 employees: “The results showed that employee engagement levels were three times more strongly related to intrinsic than extrinsic motives, but that both motives tend to cancel each other out. In other words, when employees have little interest in external rewards, their intrinsic motivation has a substantial positive effect on their engagement levels. However, when employees are focused on external rewards, the effects of intrinsic motives on engagement are significantly diminished. This means that employees who are intrinsically motivated are three times more engaged than employees who are extrinsically motivated (such as by money). Quite simply, you’re more likely to like your job if you focus on the work itself, and less likely to enjoy it if you’re focused on money.”

Ferlazzo wrote two books on the subject – Helping Students Motivate Themselves and Self-Driven Learning – and has a blog.

Thanks to Jelmer Evers for the link.