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July 31, 2006

One man's pill....

........is another man's poison, is what Vroom was trying to say when he talked about the concept of valence in his Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Essentially, valence refers to the emotional orientation that people may have with respect to a particular outcome. The same outcome may produce favourable consequences for some, and not-so-favourable consequences for others.

Like what happened at the Guardian office when they decided to allow employees to bring in their children to work. The employees and their kids sure had a great time, but the other adults (non-parents) had reactions ranging from mild discomfort, to refief that it was over, to comments like "It was worse than Bring Your Dog to Work Day". Talk about unintended consequences.

Learning: Maybe the next time, Guardian can club Work from Home (for the childless employees) along with Bring your Child to Work, so that one group does not get motivated at the cost of the other!


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