Twenty years ago, The Boston Globe published an article on how traditional forms of motivation diminish creativity. For the most part, this is consistent with the goal-free philosophy. Organizational goals are extrinsic forms of motivation that often degrade performance rather than enhance it.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
Psychologists have been finding that rewards can lower performance levels, especially when the performance involves creativity.
A related series of studies shows that intrinsic interest in a task — the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake — typically declines when someone is rewarded for doing it.
If a reward — money, awards, praise, or winning a contest — comes to be seen as the reason one is engaging in an activity, that activity will be viewed as less enjoyable in its own right.
Researchers offer several explanations for their surprising findings about rewards and performance.
First, rewards encourage people to focus narrowly on a task, to do it as quickly as possible and to take few risks. “If they feel that ‘this is something I have to get through to get the prize,’ they’re going to be less creative,” Amabile said.
Second, people come to see themselves as being controlled by the reward. They feel less autonomous, and this may interfere with performance. “To the extent one’s experience of being self-determined is limited,” said Richard Ryan, associate psychology professor at the University of Rochester, “one’s creativity will be reduced as well.”
Finally, extrinsic rewards can erode intrinsic interest. People who see themselves as working for money, approval or competitive success find their tasks less pleasurable, and therefore do not do them as well.
You can read the entire article at Studies Find Reward Often No Motivator by Alfie Kohn.
P.S. Antony, thanks for sending me this information.