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The Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management by Scott Shane

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8.3. Motivational Task Dimensions

Although there are a large number of cognitive models and theories about individual needs and the drivers of individual needs, such as the ones previously described, there are few frameworks for analyzing how technical professionals perceive the various task dimensions of their jobs even though it is generally acknowledged that a professional's true calling comes from the nature of the work he or she is asked to do. Put simply, people in general, and technical professionals in particular, like to do neat things – 'to boldly go where no man has gone before'. If a technical revolution is taking shape, the more creative, highly motivated R&D professionals in that area just don't want to miss it! If organizational employees believe their work is challenging, innovative, significant, and exciting, then no demands are so difficult that they cannot eventually be met (Kidder, 1984). In his feature story on techies,for example, Alpert (1992) points out that during the interviews not a single engineer or programmer mentioned career advancement as a primary goal; instead, they talked about technical challenges, i.e., the work itself, as their chief reward.

Although extrinsic factors such as salary, benefits, security, and working conditions are also important, decades of research convincingly shows that they do not instill the kind of commitment and excitement needed in creative work environments where employees are expected to stretch their thinking, push ...

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