New Driver for Intrinsic Motivation

Dan Pink defined three drivers for intrinsic motivation in people: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Meaning that these are the actual things that drive people to invest their time, effort and attention to the task at hand, instead of extrinsic drivers such as carrot or stick. This is nowadays really well known and approved theory, at least in my IT related coaching circles. I’m a big believer in it myself.

However, I just recently came across a fourth driver which makes great sense to me: Relatedness. It was mentioned in Frank Martela’s book “Draivi” (in Finnish; pretty appropriately named as Pink’s book is also named “Drive”), and relatedness appears in an older theory of self-determination by Deci & Ryan.

Relatedness means that in addition to being in control of your life and making your own decisions (autonomy), being great or at least constantly better in something (mastery) and working to achieve some greater good in smaller or larger scale (purpose), people also can be motivated to do stuff just to belong to or to feel connection to some group of people (relatedness).

I wonder if relatedness actually has the biggest impact of all of these?! Think about teams, gangs, political parties, fan clubs, organizations (also terrorist organizations), etc… People have really big need to belong.

Adding Relatedness with Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose also makes really handy abbreviation for the four drivers of intrinsic motivation, i.e. RAMP. 🙂


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