Motivation beyond borders

Motivation beyond borders

Karsten Bundgaard | Partner | Motivation Factor Institute | Copenhagen | Denmark

In a globalized world, as we meet with our colleagues across borders – be it at conferences or corporate meetings throughout the world – we often end up talking about the differences between countries, people and cultures. We talk about how we live and work, about children, family, working hours, education, vacation and compensation. It is always exciting to compare the “other’s” with your own life.

Recently during a business dinner, which included both Europeans and Americans, we talked about whether there are in fact any differences in what motivates us depending on where we live. Is an American motivated by the same things as, let’s say, a person from Denmark? We decided to investigate.


Motivation Factor collects anonymous data from around the world. Respondents answer 150 weighted questions as part of the Motivation Factor Indicator online assessment tool and using the results from this tool, we are able to capture and articulate individuals’ needs and talents – their motivation drivers.  We have forwarded the resulting data from thousands of assessments to the highly, regarded research company Boston Research Group – our preferred validator of the assessment tool – and have asked them to analyze the enormous amounts of data.

For this particular question, the goal was to determine whether a Danish businessman would be motivated by the same things as his American counterpart.  We were aiming to identify which statements from the indicator were rated highest from Americans and Danish respondents and we asked Boston Research Group for a cursory review to see if we might identify a pattern in the results.  As it turned, out there is a distinct difference in what Danish and American men rate highest. In fact, there was not a single overlap among the 6 highest rated statements. Other differences of significance are:

  • DK: 4 out of 6 of the highest rated statements are pointing toward needs
  • US: 5 out of 6 of the highest rated statements are pointing toward talents
  • DK: The two highest rated statements are about commitment and honesty
  • US: The two highest rated statements are about success and catalyzing


*) The analysis is not scientific, and is based on the results from the Motivation Factor Indicator for February 2013

Take a glance and make your own conclusion. But yes, like everything else, the motivation varies across borders.

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