Author of “Motivation from the Inside Out: Rethinking Rewards, Assessment, and Learning” and “Beyond Bribes and Threats: Realistic Alternatives to Controlling Students’ Behavior”, Alfie Kohn wrote this piece for the New York Times in 1993 about rewards in the workplace not motivating employees the right way.
Kohn suggests that these rewards act the exact same as punishments and create negative work environments.
Whatever the reason, rewards turn play into work and work into drudgery. Worse, when rewards corrode intrinsic motivation, workers have no other reason to put out an effort. This pattern, in turn, confirms supervisors’ beliefs in the need for incentives. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For Best Results, Forget the Bonus – [AlfieKohn]