less attractive sides to progress). Also, I have written about the motivational impact of progress (see for instance this post and this post). Is there evidence of the motivational impact of progress? Now, there is. Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer have written the book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work in which they report on a large scale study into worker performance and motivation.
This multiyear study tracked day-to-day activities of 238 people in 26 project teams in 7 companies in 3 industries. The study examined the relationships between workday evens, inner work life (the perceptions, emotions and motivation of the individual) and individual performance (creativity, productivity, work commitment, and collegiality).
The primary finding of the study was that three types of events had the most positive impact on work life and performance: 1) progress in meaningful work, 2) catalysts (events that directly help project work), and 3) nourishers (interpersonal events that uplift the people doing the work). Of these three factors, progress was by far the most powerful. The negative opposites of these three factors (setbacks, inhibitors, and toxins) had negative effects on worklife and performance. Their effect turned out to be much stronger than that of the positive factors. Even small progress and setbacks often had strong effects on inner work life.
I have made this figure to summarize the main findings of the study:
Question: What do you think about this research?