Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink is a non-fictional book that looks at what motivates people. The book references many studies that attempts to come up with the conclusion.
The Candle Problem is a famous performance test that tested how quickly people were able to solve a particular problem that involved thinking creatively. It turns out when participants were offered monetary incentives for solving the problem quickly they actually solved it slower than those who were not offered monetary rewards.
Another study showed that when you started fining parents for coming late to pick up their child at a daycare, they actually started to come in even later to pick up their kid. The reasoning was that the parents now considered it a fair trade off they were willing to make – paying for extra child care time.
The conclusion Daniel Pink makes in his book is that rewards and punishments are not the motivating factors that so many people believe. In turns out, according to the author, is that people are naturally intrinsically motivated and as long as their basic survival needs are met, they will do things simply because they want to. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that but you will have to read the book to get the full story.
Worth reading if you are in any kind of leadership/management role.