The 4 Drive Theory in the Place of work

The 4 Drive idea, explained in the 2002 e-book Driven by Drs. Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria of the Harvard Business School, describes human determination in conditions of a set of dynamic, interacting needs that are a elementary section of humankind’s make-up.  The needs arose from our evolutionary previous and are intrinsic to human psychological makeup as a section of the psychological gear that delivered benefits to adaptation and survival in previous epochs.

The drives themselves are total and elemental, providing a thorough clarification for human determination that are not able to be damaged down into more constituent elements.  Every single of the four drives (get, bond, understand, and defend) contains features and components that influence interactions and outcomes in the workplace.

The push to get contains equally content merchandise and position and can lead to equally exceptional general performance and harmful level of competition. The push to acquire includes physical objects and prosperity, relating to gathering the necessities for survival, and social relationships, about the acquisition of position, achievements, and energy. These social “merchandise” are proxies for the content necessities that make improvements to the survival odds for one’s self and descendents.  Giving very clear backlinks concerning task general performance and fulfillment of this push is proposed as a main component for making a satisfying task.  The push to get can be moderated by the push to bond to help dampen unhealthy level of competition in an firm.

The push to bond manifests by itself in our urge to uncover other folks and have interaction them with in relationships of mutual caring. Exploration has regularly demonstrated that we have a tendency to bond with other folks of similar demographics and outlook.  Companies can operate to grow this all-natural inclination with professional-diversity human useful resource improvement applications.  Once workers are effective in establishing particular person relationships the connections can mature to incorporate teams and operate teams. This push can be used to benefit by companies that promote attachments to operate teams, divisions, and the total firm. The push to bond potential customers to interactions of wholesome assist amid operate teams if supported with crew-dependent benefits and specialist goals. Even though the push to bond is directed to folks, the push to understand relates largely to operate actions.

The push to understand is satisfied by operate environments that encourage curiosity and allow for exploration and developing comprehension.  It also relates to comprehension one’s position in the firm and the importance of that position. A good instance of the toughness of this push is the diploma of task fulfillment that expert awareness workers derive from problems in the workplace. The sense of stimulation and excitement from obtaining new skills can actually outweigh pay back and positive aspects as a task fulfillment issue. The push to understand can perform effectively in a team context, interacting with the push to bond.  The three drives previously explained are pretty much constantly attractive in the workplace, contrasting with the push to defend.

Even though acquisition, bonding, and mastering are lively drives that humans look for to satisfy, the push to defend is latent: it must be stimulated by a menace to come to be lively. Threats to the particular person, their team, and the firm as a total can bring about the push to defend. The firm, then, can work to adjust this push by removing or correcting information resources that converse accidental or misguided threats.  It can also deliver workers the indicates to react to genuine threats in the firm’s competitive or regulatory environment.  If adequately tempered and focused the push to defend can be a resource of determination and strength, but it is  in character and not beneficial if in excess of-stimulated.

Even though the 4 Drive idea describes the motivations to get, bond, understand and defend as elementary to human psychology, the relative toughness of every push varies in men and women.  Also, the influence of particular person drives can differ in excess of time in a single particular person.  It is harmful when just one push dominates, main to unbalanced private and firm outcomes.  For instance, performing purely on the push to acquire can lead to harmful level of competition, and in excess of-stimulation of the push to defend to paranoia.  An significant concept of the 4 Drive idea is balance concerning and amid drives so they can compliment and regulate every other.  Structuring careers to assist this conversation is an significant consideration in the workplace.

It is feasible to measure personnel perceptions about the workplace and relate those to 4 Drive motives.  A sample 4 Drive study relating the four main drives to task fulfillment is presented below.  The study concerns themselves deliver information on regions that supervisors can contemplate in light-weight of the 4 Drive idea.

Drive to Get and Accomplish

Are workplace monetary benefits tied to general performance in your firm?
Is your pay back competitive?
Are expectations by which your general performance is evaluated plainly expressed?
Is the need for superior general performance plainly expressed in your firm?
Are you appropriately recognized for your general performance?
How satisfied are you with your pay back from operate?
Are you able to distinguish you by means of your task?

Drive to Bond

Does your firm encourage you to rely on assist from other folks?
Are collaboration and teamwork valued and recognized by your firm?
Does your firm’s culture encourage sharing of best procedures?
Is your firm is supportive of friendship amid workers?
Do you really feel strongly that you are a section of the crew?
Are your supervisors people-oriented?
Does your administration exhibit that it cares about you on a private degree?

Drive to Master and Understand

Does your task incorporate operate that pursuits you?
Do you have the prospect to understand new things at operate?
Does your task achieve anything meaningful in your firm?
Are your assignments tough?
Does your operate incorporate a variety of responsibilities?
Does your firm actively assist private development and mastering?
Are you are gaining skills and/or awareness as a section of your operate?

Drive to Protect

Is your firm’s general performance ranking process open up and transparent?
Is your operate environment welcoming and non-daunting?
Do you really feel your firm’s general performance ranking process is reasonable?
Do your supervisors treat people rather?
Do you belief the firm’s general performance ranking process?
Does your firm assist open up communications – are you able to communicate up?


Lawerence, P. & Norhira, N. (2001).  Driven:  How Human Character Shapes our Alternatives.  San Fransico, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Copyright © Stan Emelander 2009