The Reiss Motivation Profile as a behavior design tool

The Reiss Motivation Profile was of particular interest to me as someone whose area of focus is the intersection between services and behavior. During the writing of my thesis on the subject I used a model of behavior, the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM), that covers motivation and further divides it into three kinds: hope/fear, pain/pleasure and social acceptance/rejection. I think the RMP is a great attempt to further personalize the aspect of behavior and use it, as stated on the paper for anything from sports coaching to marriage counseling. 

The positive aspect of the RMP is that there is personalized detail about the individual. The major failing point that I see is that (according to the FBM) behavior does not depend only on motivation, but on ability factors and on triggers, the reminders of appropriate behavior. Therefore, used by itself, the RMP might fail as a tool to generate a target behavior.

Here is an example of this incompleteness as a behavior design tool, taking from my own RMP results. One of my highest motivations, my third, is the desire for beauty. And indeed, I will take a lot of steps to insure that my environment is beautiful. But, together with having high need for beauty I also have limited funds. So my ugly, second hand sofa, that I bought from my friend  years ago is still with me. And it will still be with me until I feel that I can buy a new one (using cash) that is much more beautiful. The lack of funds, of course, is one of the 6 ability factors and it's, right now, trumping the motivation. 

That being said, this tool, used together with the FBM, could be very useful when designing a behavior for a specific person. Services that are personalized and both seek to change behaviors will become increasingly popular (gyms, healthcare, banking).  Deepening the understanding of an individual's motivations before using it to create services that allow the him or her to change behavior will eventually be common-place.

It could also work, partially, by assigning one of the 16 motivations in the RMP to a specific target group. For example, if one is designing a gym for women in their 20s and 30s, one might use the RMP as a research tool and provide to a number of research participants. If, for example, we find that a great number of them are motivated by romance, family and social contact, this will undoubtedly need to impact the design of all aspects of the gym, from communications to business models (do we tie the gym to a dating service?) to what specifically the gym does to modify a behavior, for the most part, using the gym frequently enough to produce results.

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