What Email Inboxes Tell Us About Motivation Perception

In my last post, I introduced the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) framework as a possible way for districts to understand an individual’s motivation to act.  In this post, I’ll take the CBA model a bit further and apply it to real motivation scenarios.

I recently received a customer satisfaction survey.  I admit that the survey sat in my inbox for weeks, unanswered.  Not because I was unhappy with the company, but because I simply had other, more pressing issues that needed my attention.  Sound familiar?

I know I cannot be the only one guilty of ignoring a survey request.   But why haven’t I responded yet? Here are some possible links between a lack of responses and the CBA framework.

Cost Analysis

Let’s begin by analyzing participant costs. In most districts, an individual’s greatest cost is usually time or effort. Other costs and concerns may include:

  • Time required to complete the survey
  • Effort to access and read the survey
  • Giving up personal information
  • Fear of retribution for negative responses or comments

Fortunately, most surveys can be answered anonymously.  And a well-designed survey should take just 5-7 minutes to complete.  *hint, hint…*

Perceived Benefits

Next, let’s take a look at common, perceived benefits. It is important to understand what motivates individuals like me (and the parents/students in your district) before launching a survey:

  • Having a positive  impact on future decisions
  • Improving conditions for one’s own child or situation within their school
  • Opportunity to learn about the schools/district
  • Material incentives like raffle prizes or gift certificates

If more surveys were written to reduce costs and to increase benefits, more districts would begin to see motivated results — instead of crowded inboxes.

Author: Dr. Russ

Senior Director of Research

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