Threats and Rewards as Motivation

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Motivation can be classed into two aspects, Intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is seen as the internal cause which leads people to undertake a certain task because of their interest in it and the satisfaction and pleasure they receive from doing the job, while extrinsic motivation is generated thorough external inputs, such as incentives, punishment or threats, which makes anyone do a task asked of them. J. Strickler (2006) implies that the sensible knowledge and understanding of human motivation is said to be rooted in 20th century behaviorism, which is an idea made popular by Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner in the 1930s, who theorized that human behavior is motivated by some form or another by way of external stimuli ( i.e. rewards, incentives, threats or punishments), this theory helps us see how Incentives and threats can be seen as stirring techniques and tools in motivating and moving people towards a specific goal which can possibly be measured, but finding the needs of individuals and what motivates individuals to behave in the ways required to produce the desired outcome is not a clear straightforward path which has been fully understood, this is supported by F. Wilson (2010) stating that motivation is not simply about identifying a set of requirements associated to an individual or presuming that there is a straightforward correlation between the requirements of the individual and the efficiency of output, unlike Maslow hierarchy theory which tends to suggest people satisfy one need or desire at a time, so if that need is met at that time motivation can be accomplished.

The use of threats and incentive in specific industries and organizations vary depending on the type of organization, the work force and the kind of people in the organization which reflects on the entire culture of the organization and the goals of the organization. In the case of incentives as motivator, the use of measurable performance based incentive systems have been core elements of private and public sector operation (C. Heinrich et al; 2009), predominantly performance related pay systems (PRP) as monetary incentives in motivation. The basic theoretical foundation for PRP’s, as motivators in motivation theory can be identified in the theories of Maslow (1943; 1954) and Herzberg (1968), Where they draw on pay as a necessary human requirement for work and the satisfaction of this need in turn leads to some form of motivation at work (S. Pilbeam; 2006), PRP is also a direct link that can be seen between the employer and employee in an employment contract, where an assessment of performance is made based on some perceived contribution or value from the employee to the organization within a specific time frame or period (S. Pilbeam; 2006), for example M. McGee et al (2006) performance improvement experimentation shows how incentives like monetary incentives can affect individuals and groups of individuals differently, testing and showing scenario’s where it did seem to increase peoples’ productivity, especially when based on individual efforts solely and when it also had an adverse effect when it came to group performance, also O. Bandiera (2010) work analysis of incentives in the work place shows that although social incentives reduced individual productivity of some employees, it had on overall positive effect which benefited the organization . O. Richard et al (2009) defines psychological contract as a set of mutual reciprocating promise or commitment linking the individual and organization, based on the individual’s opinion and perception. So In the case of motivation of employees, if a sound psychological contract is present and some form of reward is anticipated by the employee, for example monetary or punishment reward is implied by the employer in regard to the quantity or quality of work done, then it is easy to see how incentives especially can motivate employee, but to what motivating capacity is another...
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