Origin of Power LO24414

From: dpdash@ximb.ac.in
Date: 04/23/00

Replying to LO24399 --

AM de Lange quoted Gavin Ritz:
[words in square brackets added]

> I still have not observed one human action that cannot be
> explained [OR DESCRIBED?] in very simple motivational terms and its
> aggregated form POWER and dependence.

Dear At, Gavin, and other following this conversation:

A child says to his mother:

If you force me to throw the
garbage out, I will, but don't
try to motivate me.

I am going to present an independent response to Gavin, i.e., independent
of what At wrote. Gavin, it seems you have found what you believe to be an
'explanation' of human action. I wonder why you treat that as a 'good

There are many questions marks here. 'Motivation' may be an entirely
fictitious notion. A respondent may agree that she indeed had a motivation
before she initiated an action; but she might be entirely mistaken. There
might be other (e.g., less conscious, less personal) pressures pushing her
in the direction of that action. Often the stated motivations are far from
authentic. For example, a manager might say (or even believe) that he
wants to maximise shareholders' value, but actually act in order to
maximise his own value! Sometimes, an action can be an anticipatory
response to someone else's assumed motivation! These considerations
suggest to me that 'motivation' might be quite like the hypothetical
entity called aether: believed in the 19th century to be a medium that
fills all space.

However, I appreciate your statement in the sense that most actions can be
'described' in motivational terms. But, I suspect that this type of
description is not always useful, especially if all the parties involved
in some context accuse each other of 'motivations' that neither party can
prove or disprove.

Some 'motivation' stories are simply apocryphal in nature. Now and then
you come across the story of some child who was motivated to serve the
people from a very young age, or one who was motivated to change the world
at his very first encounter with injustice. Such stories can be quite
motivating to the credulous mind however!


Prof. D. P. Dash
Xavier Institute of Management
Bhubaneswar 751013
New E-Mail: dpdash@ximb.ac.in



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