CBAC SPMIG: Motivation - Challenge from NeuroScience & Management's Strategic Responses

Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Chicago

July 15, 2011: 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM

The Strategic Management Practices Issues Group is a monthly discussion group of Booth alumni and students who gather to discuss a pre-selected topic and reading material. This is a collegial gathering of equals and we do not present speakers. The topic and pre-reading for July are:

Motivation - Challenge from Neuroscience & Management's Strategic Responses

Upon reviewing businesses that pursue innovation as a growth strategy, we observed disconnects between innovation and performance-focused culture and incentives. In part the disconnect results from misperceptions around motivation. July's discussion will review a series of studies that spell out the challenge and potential opportunity for businesses who have attempted to reconcile the neuroscience and traditional management practices.

Daniel Pink has written more than one book on the topic of mismatched and misplaced incentives. So though we tend to shy away from video, this 20 minute TED talk is worth the time to help you appreciate the problem. Pink is also one of the top 10 TED talks of all time, so we aren't alone in our recommendation.

Mark Buchan's piece tops our list of supplementary readings with a straightforward tale of managerial intervention and success. But it also throws down a profound challenge to the prevailing views of organizational effectiveness. He explains how previously overlooked behavioral cues that are now coming from sensors and in-depth workplace observations are changing management wisdom.

David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz give us a look at the neuroscence of leadership. They remind us of the consequences of management models premised on the belief that knowledge is power. The neuroscience research offers some insights that address some of the more fundamental challenges organizations and management teams leading change face. "Just focus people on solutions instead of problems, let them come to their own answers, and keep them focused on their insights." Apparently, that's what the brain wants. And some of the most successful management change practices have this type of principle ingrained in them. See what Rock and Schwartz had to say about this in 2006.

Finally, if you are not too time challenged, we've included a more current piece from Gary Hamel's WSJ blog. Though we don't wish to over-emphasize Hamel, once again this piece does a great job of characterizing the problem ..the question is whether your conclusions are in keeping with the lines he argues.

Pre-Reading Assignment: Available at under the events calendar when you pre-register (see link below).


U.S. Trust - Bank of America Wealth Management
135 S. LaSalle St., 44th Floor, Rooms 5 & ^
(Take elevators to 43rd floor - see receptionist)
Chicago, Illinois


No Charge


Register Online

Deadline: 7/13/2011


7:30 AM-8:45 AM: Light continental breakfast compliments of Bank of America Wealth Management


Rachel Kaberon