How effective are Incentives?


Based on the week’s readings, write a brief persuasive essay describing how effective you think incentives are in shaping human behavior, particularly in an organizational or business setting.

Sample paper

How effective are Incentives?

The success of any organization is highly determined by workers’ behaviors, commitment, and determination to meet the organization’s goals. Human resources play a great role in influencing organization performance. It is highly important for any organization to be able to control workers’ behaviors to ensure that they align with the organization’s culture and that they are focused on the attainment of the set organization goal. One strategy that the human resource department employs to influence workers’ behavior is through incentives. Incentives refer to things given by a party to encourage or motivate another party to do what this particular they want or to initiate the results they desire. In most cases, money is used as the main form of incentives in various situations. The main purpose of using incentives is to boost people’s morale and to influence their behavior toward what is highly preferred by an organization or the give1.

Incentives play a great role in determining the organization’s outcome. According RSA when monetary incentives are given to workers engaged in hand skills activities, they motivate them to improve their performance. However, this is not always the case for all individuals in an organization. According to RSA individuals working in areas where cognitive skills are applied are unlikely to be motivated by monetary incentives2. In such a situation, higher monetary incentives tend to impact the performance negatively, probably due to the investment of more time into a task, causing burnout which impacts their thinking ability. It is therefore highly important for an organization to identify the specific incentive that can be used to motivate a particular group of people based on their interest and nature of work, other than using monetary incentives in all cases. It has also been established that the higher the level of monetary incentives the lower the performance. This means there is a limit to what monetary incentives can do to motivate people. An organization should always gauge the level that works for it and not surpass it. The best strategy to employ while using money as an incentive, to promote good performance is, by ensuring that workers have enough compensation for the work done, to eliminate their financial worries. This will make workers to set their focus on work to be done, rather than thinking about strategies to make extra money. This is likely to enhance individual performance and hence general organization performance.

To motivate workers in cognitive skills demanding areas of operation, an organization should focus on incentives that are likely to stimulate their thinking. This should include freedom of using their time for personal innovation, free-thinking, free interaction and sharing of ideas. According to RSA when workers in the technology department are given free time to do anything and present the results, the organization resulted in a generation of innovative ideas that helped push its operations to another level2. This simply implies that monetary incentive is not the only thing that people need to change their behaviors or to perform better. They just need to be given what they value most to feel treasured and motivated. This rejuvenates their strength and desire to invest more in the company and enhance enhancing their general performance. This simply means that while money is important to every employee in an organization, excess of it does not always guarantee high performance. An organization should always offer reasonable compensation to all workers and add other valuable incentives to boost their work morale and motivate them.

References List

  1. Sandel, M. J. What money can’t buy: The moral limits of markets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2012.
  2. RSA ANIMATED: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. 2010.