Alfie Kohn

All rewards, by virtue of being rewards, are not attempts to influence or persuade or solve problems together, but simply to control. […] Control breeds the need for more control, which then is used to justify the use of control. […] Punishment and reward proceed from basically the same psychological model, one that conceives of motivation as nothing more than the manipulation of behavior. […] … [ Read more ]

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise, and Other Bribes

The idea that competition and reward are effective motivators forms the bedrock of our educational, economic, and managerial systems. Kohn, though, has strongly attacked the belief that competition is healthy and has documented its negative effects in No Contest: The Case against Competition (1986). Now he challenges the widely held assumption that incentives lead to improved quality and increased output in the workplace and in … [ Read more ]

For Best Results, Forget the Bonus

“Do this and you’ll get that.” These six words sum up the popular way in which American business strives to improve performance in the workplace. And it is very popular. At least three of four American corporations rely on some sort of incentive program. After all, such incentives are basically rewards, and rewards work, don’t they?

The answer, surprisingly, is mostly no. While rewards are effective … [ Read more ]