We often see a lot of people complaining about work. A majority of them regard working as an extremely hard, vapid and low earning affliction. They always dream to live a happy life without working. But in reality, it is not possible to live without doing work. Each individual needs to work for various reasons, no matter whether he is the son of the billionaire or a layman struggling with poverty. When it comes to doing work, we are usually driven by an intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. According to Oxford English Dictionary, intrinsic is defined as “belonging naturally; essential”, while extrinsic is defined as “not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside’. We can clearly depict from these two definition that people are either driven by their own passion or self-interest towards a particular subject, or to the rewards promised upon completing a task that is difficult to accomplish. Having an intrinsic motivation is kind of normal. People who are devoted to their target will work and sacrifice everything to achieve them. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation are usually weak and interdependent. People rely heavily on the rewards and may be discouraged if they fail to obtain them. In my opinion, rewarding system is not an effective method to control human behavior because they creates many negative consequences in the long run.
First and foremost, rewards can create problems from the science point of view. According to Deci, the extrinsic motivation, in general, causes decreased feelings of self-determination, which then result in reduced intrinsic motivation. In the case of organizational structure, as the organization approaches the mechanistic end of the structural continuum, a decrease in self-determination ostensibly will result, in increase of formal rules and standardized procedures (130). Such circumstance should never happens because a strict rules will only troubles people for petty reasons. For instance, an accountant relies heavily on monthly bonuses or incentives before in order to provide good labor. Without these extra credits he won’t contribute as much as he possibly could. The chief will then have to set a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to ensure people work accordingly to run the company. All this because of a number of people who set incentives as their main target in doing work. Sherman and Howard also said “Although this effect (the rewards system’s effect) may be of only minor importance in private and public sector organizations, it is of critical importance in voluntary or third sectors organization in which extrinsic incentives are scarce and the organization is dependent largely on voluntary activity that is primarily intrinsically motivated” (884). People should never rely on rewards because not all employers can afford to allocate budget for them. Rewards, if promised, should never be set as the main priority when doing work. Instead, we should try to foster ourselves to develop interest towards our work. In this way, even though we might not get reward for something that we did, at least we can continue helping the organization we serve to continue developing. Indirectly, we are actually serving our country by maintaining a stable economy.
Another point of view that should be taken into account is from the educational point of view. Students are normally graded and labelled by teachers according to their exam grades which are parallel with their intellect. Smart students will be given rewards for their performance in form of praises or even gifts by their parents or teachers. On the other hand, students who often get low marks will be ashamed of their bad results, sometimes to the extent of losing their self-confidence. Expectations from parents and teachers only worsens this situation. They must study even harder to prevent the same thing from occurring. Unfortunately, this situation also forces students to cheat as a solution. The low-achievers will want to get the same rewards as the smart students and eventually most of them choose the wrong way. An unhealthy environment was then unintentionally created. In my very own personal experience, I have seen my close friends cheat during an important exams i.e. SPM. When asked why they did that, many of the reasons is because they couldn’t bear to see sadness in their parent’s face if they fail. To witness this kind of situation first hand makes me question the conventional education system. The students are kind of forced to score during exams or they will have a hard time to cope at college or school. Robin Grille said that “Rewards and praise condition children to seek approval; they end up doing things to impress, instead of doing things for themselves.” (Rewards and Praise: The Poisoned Carrot). We can see from this situation that rewarding system deviates students from learning with pristine values of education. Many of the students will study for the sake of passing exams and not trying to apply their knowledge to real life. Perhaps the authority should revise the education system that only focuses on being the best on exam papers when instead there are people who are weak in doing so but excel in other fields such as hands on work.
In a nutshell, extrinsic rewards can trouble humans in a number of ways. Reward system, if fostered to students of young age through praises or gifts by parents and teachers will create problems in the future. The same students, when they were grown up, will be very likely to hope for rewards from the organization they’re working with. Even though it does have some good minor potential, the major harms can destroy us as a society ultimately in the long run. We should come to a realization that rewarding to motivate is not a good method to keep people producing good works. It can unintentionally persuade people to do things beyond sanity.
Grille, Robin. “Rewards and Praise: The Poisoned Carrot – The Natural …” “The Natural Child Project”
http://www.naturalchild.org N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016
Staw, Barry M. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Center, 1976. Print.
Sherman, Daniel J., and Howard L. Smith. The Influence of Organizational Structure on Intrinsic versus
Extrinsic Motivation. 4th ed. Vol. 27. N.p.: Academy of Management, n.d. Print.