Reward Systems LO13667

Roxanne Abbas (
Sun, 18 May 1997 07:07:59

Replying to LO13611 -- was: Intro -- S. Chou

At 04:32 PM 5/15/97 +0200, you wrote:

>Currently I'm involved in a paper about the effect of extrinsic rewards on
>the learning organisation.

> In my opinion using extrinsic rewards is a form of
>using control (the carrot as in the "carrot and the stick"). Shouldn't
>managers just rely on intrinsic motivation and forget about changing
>reward systems?
>Anyone who has comments or literature recommendations is welcome. Anyone
>who wants to share his personal experiences in similar circumstances is
>also welcome.

I share your interest in the use of extrinsic rewards in learning
organizations, as well as other organizations who are not intentional in
their learning. I am a compensation consultant who spent about 15 years
designing extrinsic reward systems before I met Alfic Kohn and read his
book "Punished by Rewards". Reading this book literally gave me a
headache every time I picked it up. Kohn was effectively causing me to
doubt a major premise of these years of work.

I have come to believe through my experience that extrinsic rewards are
often counter-productive in their effect on people and the organization.
Rewards systems are generally designed as control tools, but they often
serve to limit potential or even misdirect the efforts of employees.
Still, I believe that there may be a place for them in situations where
the work itself is so routine or unpleasant that it offers no intrinsic
reward or when the job requires unusually long work hours which deprive
the e mployee of the pleasure of a balanced life.

I would like to encourage you to post your message on web site, which
serves as a Dialogue Group specifically for compensation professionals.
We currently have about 60 participants who are all very interested in the
topic of your research. I also have an extensive reading list I could
offer you off-line if you send me a note.

Best regards,

Roxanne Abbas


Roxanne Abbas <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>