Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Giving and Getting
By BEIF Team
Dr. Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania has recently released a book entitled, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. The book introduces Grant’s academic research to a lay audience and demonstrates how prosocial giving actually benefits the giver. The New York Times Magazine has recently profiled Grant, who practices what he preaches, as he often holds four-hour long sessions of office hours in which he provides advice and counsel to students.
Grant, who specializes in the field of organizational psychology, has been interested in the motivation for a long time. The article recounts how Grant became a top sales leader upon realizing that his work as an ad salesperson benefits his college friends as it gives them jobs. This intuitive understanding of how motivation and performance are linked, led Grant to develop his first study as a master’s student at the University of Michigan and helped “[revive] the field of job design”.
A popular argument in favour of economic inequality states that it motivates people to work harder and earn more money. Yet, Grant’s research shows that motivation does not only stem from financial rewards but also from helping other people. Of course, there are limitations to this research as Dr. Jerry Davis, a management professor at the University of Michigan (and a friend of BEIF), recently asked Grant “[s]o you think those workers at the Apple factory in China would stop committing suicide if only we showed them someone who was incredibly happy with their iPhone?”