Is money the only motivation at work? How can one prove that money is the only motivation?

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I would argue that money is not even the main motivator.  People do need money, and they might use salary as when searching for a job.  When people are actually at work, however, they want to be satisfied with what they do.  They want to enjoy the people they work with, feel respected, and feel like they have job security and opportunities for advancement.  People motivated by money alone are rarely happy in their jobs.  There has to be more to life.

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I think the “facts” of this issue probably depend upon many things. One is age. I would hypothesize that many of those who think money is the only motivation would be in the 20ish to 35ish range. I would hope that the longer people live and work, the more they realize there is a great value in working at a career that makes them happy. Of course socio/economic status would tie into this philosophy.

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Is money the only motivation at work?

How can one prove that money is the only motivation?

 Studies continue to show that salary is not the #1 motivation for work and that employees are motivated (and stay with their companies) for  the following reasons:

  1. Their work and contributions are recognied and  valued.  They feel appreciated and part of a community.
  2. They receive on-going feedback from their manager/supervisor, thus they feel "in" on things. This creates trust in the workplace.
  3.  There are on-going opportunties for learning and professional development

Salary ranks #4. 

 Sources:

  1. The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  2. 1001 Rewards and Recognition, Dr. Bob Nelson
  3. Society for Organizational Learning, Peter Senge 
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Money is not the only motivation for work, because there are people who spend countless hours working in fields like teachers, who are not paid nearly what they are worth.  When you choose a profession, the first criteria for the selection is that one must love what they do, or else, you will be unhappy.

Money has a part in the decision, but it is not the only motivation.  Another factor is location, how long a commute are you willing to put up with twice a day?  If your answer is that you want to work closer to home, then perhaps money cannot be the initial motivator for the decision.

Some people want to work in certain professions and will accept less money in order to gain entry into a certain field.

Money as the only motivation can be proven only in the extreme circumstances where individuals will do anything for money, such as commit crimes, willingly injure people by engaging in immoral activities, or knowingly breaking the law.

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