OJA HAP 392 DL2 - Pres#24

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Punished: Is it Effective to Reward :

Punished : Is it Effective to Reward Pres #24 Hap 392 DL2 Amanda Oja

Author Recognition:

Author Recognition Alfie Kohn Attended Brown University Specifically focuses on writing about human b ehavior, education, and parenting Described in Times Magazine as “ perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.” Criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated upon across the country Punished by Rewards ~ Is it effective to reward?

Topics of Focus:

Topics of Focus Is the process of rewarding necessarily effective? Do rewards distract someone from achieving the overall goal? Are rewards more effective for some rather than others? Can rewards be effective both long term and short term? Do rewards necessarily improve the overall performance?


Thesis In todays society, most of the population will not be willing, or able to, complete a task without their behavior being driven by extrinsic motivation. However, even with external rewards being a factor, to what extent are rewards effective?

Do rewards distract?:

Do rewards distract? Rewards increase probability of doing a task, but because they offer a certain reason for doing the task, ones motivation and attitude is altered. Rewards tend to drive an individual towards more jealous thoughts rather than working cooperatively and efficiently as a whole. By having a reward waiting at the ‘finish line’, some will often race to the end for the reward rather than working towards quality in the task given.

Are rewards more/less effective for some?:

Are rewards more/less effective for some? “in order to make people behave in a particular way they must be needy enough so that rewards reinforce the desired behavior.”- (Kohn, p.36) The Individuals who are offered the reward must be necessarily dependent on those who offer the reward. Sometimes rewards are offered, but are not worth the favor asked. A single mother with 2 children is offered a 5k raise to work later hours every day. She declines, because a 5k raise is not enough to motivate her when she has her children to attend to. A well-off, full time worker is offered to take part in a medical trial for a new skin treatment, and is offered $500. The risk is that her skin could react in a bad rash that would last for weeks. Is the reward worth the risk?

Can rewards be effective both long term and short term? :

Can rewards be effective both long term and short term? Rewards should be judged on whether or not they lead to changes that will last. In Human resources, extrinsic rewards such as bonuses and vacation leave are highly successful. Long term incentive plans do require employees to demonstrate sustained performance for more than one fiscal year Token economy- system of behavior modification that is designed to increase a desired behavior by rewarding “tokens” -popular reward method in hospitals as a behavior modification tool

Do rewards necessarily improve overall performance?:

Do rewards necessarily improve overall performance? “Rewards usually improve performance only at extremely simple- indeed, mindless- tasks, and even when they improve only quantitative performance.”-(Kohn, 46) In human resources- a HR worker will work harder on an assigned project if they are offered a project bonus. People who are offered rewards will work harder, but overall quality of the work is lower and contains more errors when compared to someone who hasn't been offered a reward. (Kohn,47) In healthcare, one could receive a reward for filling out an HRA. Rewards in health care lack a “hunting” mechanic, which adds no mystery or uncertainty in completing the task


Conclusion Overall, from reading Alfie Kohn’s Punished by Rewards chapter on “ I s it effective to reward?” , I have come to the conclusion that it is not effective to reward in the long-term. Initially, rewarding is a great tactic to use in order to motivate someone to do something they wouldn't ’ t otherwise. However, in the long run, rewards will only result in impaired performance and overall decreased motivation all around.


R eferences Kohn, Alfie (1993) Punished by Rewards . New Your, NY: Houghton Mifflin. Preface & CH 3: Is it Effective to Reward? (Do Rewards Change Behavior?) Is it effective to reward? [17 pages ] Punished by Rewards. ( n.d. ). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.hope.edu/academic/education/coursesites/jordan/kohn/Punished by Rewards.htm Reward Management. (2010). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.hrwale.com/compensation/reward-management / The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism. ( n.d. ). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http:// www.theihcc.com /en/communities/ rewards_and_incentives /rewards-in-health-care-are-in-need-of-an-overhaul_hrxypm54.html

References cont.:

References cont. Employers Award a Wider Variety of Incentive Pay  . ( n.d. ). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from https://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/articles/pages/incentive-pay- variety.aspx

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