According to research out of George Mason University, executives’ erroneous beliefs about what motivates employees are remarkably stable over time. At intervals over 40 years, managers were asked to rank the factors that motivate employees. Their lists emphasize external factors such as compensation, job security, and promotions. But when employees answer for themselves, the lists differ considerably. Employees say they are motivated by inherent factors such as interesting work, being appreciated for making meaningful contributions, and a feeling of being involved in decisions.