Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

by Alfie Kohn

The basic strategy we use for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: do this and you'll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way that we train a family pet. The quick fix of rewards may seem to be effective, but manipulating people with external incentives actually kills their interest in what they are doing and lowers the quality of their work. Indeed, Kohn shows that the decline in our workplaces and classrooms may be related to our acceptance of a theory of motivation derived from lab animals. Drawing on a wealth of psychological research, he points the way to a more successful strategy based on working with people instead of doing things to them. "Do rewards motivate people?" asks Kohn. "Yes. They motivate people to get rewards." Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished By Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547526157
  • ISBN-10: 0547526156
  • Pages: 448
  • Publication Date: 09/30/1999
  • Carton Quantity: 10

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About the Author
Reviews
  • About the Book
    The basic strategy we use for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: Do this and you'll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way we train the family pet. Drawing on a wealth of psychological research, Alfie Kohn points the way to a more successful strategy based on working with people instead of doing things to them. "Do rewards motivate people?" asks Kohn. "Yes. They motivate people to get rewards." Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished By Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.
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  • Reviews
    "a clear, convincing demonstration of the shortcomings of pop-behaviorism, written with style, humor, and authority," Kirkus Reviews

    "Every parent, teacher, and manager should read this book -- and hurry." -- Thomas Gordon, founder of Parent Effectiveness Training

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