Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Business - Interdisciplinary

First Advisor

Melissa Intindola

Second Advisor

Douglas Lepisto


The principles of motivational psychology are at their most foundational level established through a combination of intrinsic motivation (internal drive to complete an activity without threats or the promise of external benefits) and extrinsic motivation (the use of an external reward or punishment to incentivize the completion of an activity). Since the Industrial Revolution, extrinsic motivation has served as perhaps the most recognizable form of motivation, as people are familiar with the carrot and stick concept that it embodies. However, the shift towards a global knowledge economy that has occurred in recent years has made the use of intrinsic motivators a necessity in the modern workplace. Extrinsic motivators are shown through experiments conducted by psychologists like Sam Glucksberg and Dan Ariely to induce functional fixedness (narrowing the focus and dulling creativity) in knowledge work. The shift towards a knowledge economy is accompanied by a shift towards meaning rather than solely focusing on efficiency in the workplace. Therefore, unlike the concept that Frederick Taylor presented, workers are no longer considered simple cogs in a machine that can be easily influenced by extrinsic motivators. Instead, extrinsic motivators like money have instead become hygiene and deciding factors to workers, as while they no longer serve as a primary motivator, they can still serve as a demotivator. Companies like Stryker, Google, and Zappos have all adapted to this global shift towards a knowledge economy and built their business model around the concept of intrinsic motivation to achieve success. Ultimately, in order to avoid failing due to stagnation, the business model of the modern company must effectively utilize intrinsic motivation to drive employee engagement, innovation, and operational effectiveness.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted