The How and Why of Human Performance – Part 2

In PART ONE of this series we discussed the How part of the “How and Why of Human Performance.” Now let’s examine the Why portion.

Why are you motivated to act based on your natural motivations and drivers? This is a field mostly researched by Dr. Eduard Spranger (Fun fact: He did NOT create any comic book characters). It examines our core motivational drivers. He and his colleagues identified seven core motivators in human performance:

  1. Aesthetic: The drive to achieve harmony, balance and form over function.
  2. Economic: The drive to generate value, attain revenue and generate wealth.
  3. Individualistic: The drive for autonomy, independence and freedom.
  4. Political: The drive to lead, have authority and be in command.
  5. Altruistic: The drive to help, to give and to support others.
  6. Regulatory: The drive to establish and maintain regulations, policies and rules.
  7. Theoretical: The drive to learn, understand and seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake.


The more your motivators are satisfied, the more engaged you become.


Whatever our strongest motivators are, they need to be met by the work we do. The more those motivators are satisfied, the more engaged (passionate) we become. Certain jobs in real estate satisfy several of these, but they cluster around specific roles. Sales commissions reward those with the Economic driver. Being independent satisfies the Individualistic drive. Being a team leader answers the need that comes with the high Political drive. Aesthetic helps with interior design, photography and staging. Altruistic, regulatory and theoretical drives can benefit someone who is in an administrative role.

As Dr. Spranger describes these drivers of human performance, they are:

  • Aesthetic: The aesthetic person sees the highest value in form and harmony. Each experience is judged from the standpoint of grace, symmetry or fit. He regards life as a procession of events; each event enjoyed for its own sake. He need not be a creative artist, nor need he be decadent. He is aesthetic if he but finds his chief interest in the beauty of life. To the Aesthetic, to make a thing charming is a million times more important than to make it true or practical.
  • Altruistic: The highest value for the altruistic person is love of people. In this dimension it is the altruistic or philanthropic aspect of love that is measured. The altruistic person prizes other persons as ends. She is therefore herself kind, sympathetic and unselfish. The altruistic person regards love and service as the only suitable form of human relationship.
  • Economic: The economic person is characteristically interested in what is useful. This interest in utilities develops to embrace the practical affairs of the business world. These include the production, marketing and consumption of goods, the elaboration of credit, and the accumulation of tangible wealth. This type is thoroughly practical and conforms well to the prevailing stereotype of the businessperson.
  • Individualistic: The individualistic person seeks to be separate and independent. Her desire is to stand out, to express her uniqueness and be granted freedom over her actions to champion her own bearing. She is only concerned with her own freedom and protecting her own sovereignty. The individualistic person rails against subjugation by any external force. When she feels suppressed her only focus becomes her own emancipation.
  • Political: The political person is interested primarily in power and control. His activities are not necessarily within the narrow field of politics, but this person likes to be in charge. Leaders in any field generally have high power and control values. Since competition and struggle play a large part in life, many philosophers have seen power as the most universal and most fundamental of motives. This person wishes above all else for personal power, influence and renown.
  • Regulatory: The highest value of the regulatory person may be called unity. The regulatory person is one whose mental attitude is directed toward achieving structure. She is permanently directed to the creation of the highest and absolutely satisfying value of order and constitution. She may find her life’s value in the affirmation of life’s systems or processes and in active participation therein.
  • Theoretical: The dominant interest of the theoretical person is the discovery of knowledge and truth. In the pursuit of this goal he characteristically takes a ‘cognitive’ attitude. He looks for identities and differences. Since the interests of the theoretical are empirical, critical and rational, he is necessarily an intellectualist. He could frequently be a scientist or philosopher. His chief aim in life is to gain, order and systematize his knowledge.

These different aspects of your personality constitute one of the most comprehensive understandings human performance, how you will perform in a given role, and how satisfied you will be in it.

Determine your greatest drivers/motivators and improve your personal success.

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