I periodically post about examples of my own ignorance, and now have another opportunity to do so….

As a self-styled quasi-expert on intrinsic motivation (see my book “Helping Students Motivate Themselves” and my list, The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students), one would think that I’d be pretty familiar with research on the topic. And I am, or, at least, I thought I was.

Then, in this week’s New Yorker Magazine, I read a profile of Clayton Christensen, a widely-known business thinker who, among other things, has written a lot on motivation issues. Coincidentally, he himself wrote a short commentary on intrinsic motivation today for Fast Company.

In it, he refers to a well-known article written by Frederick Herzberg for the Harvard Business Review that is the most reprinted article they have ever published, and it’s about intrinsic motivation. Christensen summarizes it in his piece:

So, what are the factors that will cause us to love our jobs? These are what Herzberg’s research calls motivators. Motivation factors include challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth. Motivation is much less about external prodding or stimulation, and much more about what’s inside of you and inside of your work.

These are very similar to the points Daniel Pink makes about what “drives” us.

Until this weekend, I had never heard of Christensen or Herzberg.

I have a lot to learn….