More and more organizations want to have some kind of transcendant purpose. Partly because it makes people work better. Partly because that's the way to get better talent. And what we're seeing now is that when the profit motive becomes unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things happen. Bad things ethically sometimes, but also bad things like not good stuff: like crappy products; like lame services; like uninspiring places to work. That when the profit motive is paramount or when it becomes becomes completely unhitched from the purpose motive, people don't do great things.
Daniel Pink: Drive, part of the superb RSA Animate series. Once again, Daniel Pink challenges our notions of what motivates people. Just giving people more money isn't enough (though you do need to give them enough money to "take the issue of money off of the table"). To be motivated to do great work, we need to have a purpose.
You should watch the whole thing: