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I'm trying to work out how to get my team to understand that different people in the team get different things out of work (excluding the financial drivers).

I want to explain this in terms of intrinsic motivators. I'm trying to get a definitive list. I think they are:

  • Challenge - We are best motivated when we are working toward personally meaningful goals whose attainment requires activity at a continuously optimal (intermediate) level of difficulty.
  • Curiosity - Something in the physical environment attracts our attention or there is a discrepancy between present knowledge or skills and what these could be if we engaged in some activity.
  • Environment Influence - We have a basic tendency to want to control what happens to us.
  • Scenario-planning - We use mental images of things and situations that are not actually present to stimulate our behavior.
  • Competition - We feel satisfaction by comparing our performance favorably to that of others.
  • Cooperation - We feel satisfaction by helping others achieve our goals.
  • Recognition - We feel satisfaction when others recognize and appreciate our accomplishments.

But there doesn't appear to be a final word on this:

My question is: Is there a definitive list of intrinsic motivators?

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While I wouldn't and cannot claim anything conclusive about intrinsic motivation, as far as I know, Self-Determination Theory (SDT, see below) is quite accredited. In short, at its core it postulates that humans are motivated by three innate psychological needs: Autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Moreover, I believe that the motivating factors listed in the question can be reduced to the three needs postulated by SDT.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68

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