Our past experiences of finding love from our labor motivate our future efforts and willingness to take on challenges. As supporting adults we often need to know just the right amount of help and just the right time to provide it. Work to maintain that pleasure of love from labor that most parents experience when our child is in pre-school through the teen and early adult years.
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Steve: 00:33 Generating the love from labor discovery – the Ikea effect. So when you’re making the purchase of an Ikea cabinet for your child’s bedroom, are you anxious to get home and begin construction or are you pondering how you can delay starting the job? There is research that supports that our labor can increase the love of our production. It’s why that home improvement project which we are quite proud of doesn’t get the same assessment from the potential buyer when we’re selling our home.
Steve: 01:16 Angela Duckworth, the researcher and author around the topic of grit, posted a blog titled, “Harnessing The Ikea Effect for Student Motivation.” That blog sent me exploring to find out more about just what is the Ikea effect. Duckworth shared that she had put together an Ikea stool and she found that her assessment of its beauty had increased substantially over her husband’s view of the finished piece. She was confident that had their roles reversed, in other words, had he assembled the stool, his rating would be higher than hers. That sense of having increased value in a product that you have produced has been labeled the Ikea effect. An early hint of the effect of labor on the value of a product emerged in the 1950s with the production of cake mixes. The initial products were interpreted as making baking too easy, thus decreasing the value of the cake.
Steve: 02:38 When the manufacturers implemented the need for adding eggs to the prepared mix, consumers were more comfortable with the finished product. We often seek to avoid unnecessary effort. A lab experiment found that participants randomly assigned to build an Ikea storage box, were willing to pay a 63% premium to take it home with them compared to those who were given the chance to buy an identical preassembled box. Thus, the person’s sweat equity increased the value. An initial conflict emerged for me as I considered the Ikea effect because it doesn’t seem to apply to me when it comes to Ikea purchases. Discomfort sets in for me in the store or when the delivery occurs and tends to continue throughout the building process and frequently even increases as I look at the final construction. A Harvard business school paper shed some light for me on my conflict. “The psychological process by which labor leads to love requires consideration of an additional crucial factor.
Steve: 04:01 The extent to which one’s labor is successful. Thus, our account suggests that only when people successfully complete a labor-intense task, do they come to value the fruits of that labor, the products they have created.” Now I get it. I do experience the Ikea effect at times, just not when I’m doing an Ikea construction. You see, when I tackle an Ikea construction project, I generally lack the motivation to take on the challenge. See, I know I can order and pay for assembly when ordering the delivery. And I’ve experienced that the visual directions provided by Ikea are insufficient for my existing construction abilities. When the directions say to put screw C into hole F I have difficult deciding which screw is screw C. Undoing a mistake that I make later. Isn’t as easy as when I make a mistake on my computer. I do assume that with some coaching support over time, I could develop the necessary skills to increase my success and experience the Ikea effect.
Steve: 05:28 I’m guessing as happens with our students, I find ways to avoid a failure experience. So as a parent, supporting your youngster, the key is providing just enough help so that the too many failure experiences don’t prevent future trying, while allowing your child to sense that they generated the outcome. Allowing them to experience love from labor. That love from labor is motivation. It’s motivation to tackle future challenges and invest in continuously learning how to. As you watch a learner struggling, take time to observe how he or she is responding to the struggle. Some supporting help needs to be timed just right whenever possible. Right at the time that the struggling person is considering quitting, a little help encourages continued effort, but helping too soon can stop the empowerment that comes from a person’s struggling through to success. Currently, my wife and I are having coffee from mugs that were made for us by a friend who’s new to the pottery experience. Our daughter, not knowing the history of the mugs questioned our choice. It was easy to explain the love from labor to her. Many of you have keepsake items that your child created in preschool. Don’t lose that understanding of love from labor as teens and young adults tackle the challenges of new learning and life experiences. Thanks for listening.
Steve [Outro]: 07:34 Thank you for listening. You can subscribe to Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud on iTunes and Podbean. And please remember to rate and review us on iTunes. I also want to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on twitter @stevebarkley ors end mey our questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.