Amabile and Kramer Reading Response Essay

Amabile and Kramer Reading Response Essay

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Inner Work Life, written by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, explains how employees’ reactions and feelings towards events affect their job performance. The authors define inner work life as the way that perceptions, emotions and motivation combine in an employee’s life. When an event occurs, all employees will feel a certain way (positively or negatively) about what has transpired, and this will influence how they react and what they expect. Inner work life is not easily detected by managers, and often times not examined by the actual employee. Because of this, the authors had subjects write daily journal entries regarding their work so that inner work life could be studied.

How Inner Work Life Affects Performance

It seems obvious enough that when a person experiences positive feelings, his or her good spirits would translate to better work performance. However, I was surprised to find that, according to the article, “Across all 26 teams, people were over 50% more likely to have creative ideas on the days they reported the most positive moods than they were on other days.” (Amabile, 2007, p. 9) Because many jobs require a significant amount of creative thinking, it seems extremely relevant that positive moods boost the number of creative ideas that subjects in the study had.

The subjects in the study had their moods elevated by very simple gestures. When an upper level executive in the company brought in pizza and bottled water, everyone was pleased. “That seemingly trivial event caused people on the BigDeal project to perceive their work and themselves as important and valued, which evoked additional positive emotions.” (Amabile, 2007, p. 4) If something as effortless as bringing in pizza for workers s...

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...crucial to maximizing the potential of employees. Even though it is difficult to measure inner work life by observation, the effects on productivity and satisfaction amongst workers will be very noticeable when managers implement the two pieces of advice. Again, those key points are to enable employee progress and to treat the employees as human beings. These can be implemented together by following the management by objectives process suggested in Management: A Practical Introduction. After the process is put into place, employees will have higher spirits which will boost output of ideas and, ideally, increase company profits.


Amabile, T. Kramer, S. (2007). Inner Work Life. Harvard Business Review, 1-13.

Kinkicki, A. Williams, B. (2009). Management: a practical introduction (4th ed.). New York City, NY: The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

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