Creating a Productive Workplace with the BAMBA Method

Dr. Raj Raghunathan | Methods for Productivity Through Happiness

The 5 most important determinants of your happiness at work can be represented using the BAMBA model. Explore each of these in detail.


“I call the dance La Bamba. Usually, the dance involves two people, but since I didn’t have a dance partner, I had to demonstrate it all by myself. I’ll admit it just wasn’t the same without a partner. I guess you could say that in order to get full effect, it takes two to Bamba. Bamba is a perfect metaphor for happiness at work. It takes two, both you and your organization, to keep you happy at work. And just like the dance, improving happiness at work can be quite challenging. But it can also be fun and enjoyable. Come to think of it, there’s even another similarity between La Bamba and happiness at work. It turns out that the five letters that form the word bamba actually represent the five most important determinants of your happiness at work. What are these five determinants? Well B stands for basic needs. You can’t be happy at work unless your basic needs are met. What are basic needs at work? There are three main types or, as I like to call them, domains of basic needs: physical needs, emotional needs, and mental needs. You obviously need your basic needs to be fulfilled if you want to be happy at work. In fact, forget about being happy, even to not be unhappy or even to be in just a neutral state, you need your basic needs fulfilled. The A stands for autonomy, which is about freedom and empowerment you enjoy at work. If you feel micromanaged and completely under someone else’s thumb, you enjoy very little freedom and empowerment. You have little autonomy and you won’t be happy. By contrast, if you could feel fully empowered at work and have the freedom and autonomy to make decisions as you see fit, you would enjoy high levels of autonomy and are likely to feel happy at work. The M stands for mastery, mastery refers to the need we all have to become increasingly better at the work we do. If you’re in marketing, you aspire to become a world marketing expert, creative in identifying customer needs and at crafting the right message to the right audience at the right time. If you’re a designer of public spaces, you’ll want to become better at understanding…”