What makes organisations tick?

1. Organisations are formed when many people voluntarily submit themselves to common arrangements on an ongoing or fixed-period basis.

2. There is a duality of individuals working together ("workers") and the gestalt entity created as a result ("the organisation").

3. There are seven key motivators for workers:
(a) GREATER GOOD – having a positive impact on society
(b) SERVICE – benefiting their organisation's customers
(c) INSTITUTION – ensuring the standing and longevity of the organisation itself
(d) RESOURCES – increasing the funds available to the organisation
(e) TRIBE – maximising benefits to a group of workers they belong to
(f) RESPECT – increased personal standing with others; and
(g) WEALTH – immediate material benefits.

4. Each worker will prioritise the importance of these motivators differently. Workers may also determine what "positive impact" means in different ways.

5. An organisation's "orientation" is determined by the aggregate of individual worker motivations. However, organisational power structures enable the motivations of some workers to be suppressed or diverted into other motivators from an organisational perspective.

6. Workers with a motivational need that is insufficiently met by their perception of their organisation's orientation will be unhappy.

7. Workers who have their motivators diverted into other causes must consent to this arrangement through an implicit or explicit bargain, or else will be unhappy.

8. Where workers have a different understanding of what achieving one of their motivators means, either:
(a) a single direction will be adopted by organisational fiat, alienating those with a different view
(b) all directions will be pursued, diffusing the overall effort
(c) a consensus-achieving process will occur through agreement-seeking; or
(d) a civil war will occur, expelling all workers who are not prepared to adopt the winning viewpoint.

9. An organisation's long-term viability is determined by its orientation, ie the motivation of the organisation for continuing to exist; and its adaptability in continuing to meet that motivation in the face of change.

10. Change may involve internal changes (eg worker turnover), as well as external changes (eg social/economic/government factors).

11. Resilience and innovation are key to the adaptability of an organisation. However, achieving this requires an appeal to motivations that are the unique signature of each organisation.

Motivator list derived from Four Motivation Mistakes Most Leaders Make

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