Rethink Rewards and Punishments

Are rewards and punishments Effective?

Yes, rewards and punishments are effective if we keep the rewards coming. According to research behaviour outcomes stop when rewards and punishments cease? Is this desirable? Do we keep reinforcing “the goodies” (Alfie Kohn) ? If so, how long do we keep doing it? What will happen to people when we stopped the process of rewards and punishments?

Do we want to control or protect people?

What are our management goals in the classroom and at work? Is it to have obeying subjects whom we feed with rewards and punishment to keep in control or creative people who can think for themselves?

Do Rewards Work?

Most schools and work places base their programs on punishment and reward systems. It’s hard to get away from the fact that society is strongly based on rewards and punishment as standard behaviour. However, research may suggest otherwise.

Some researchers claim that control doesn’t work in the long run, that it’s only has a short term effect. In fact, Alfie Kohn speaks persuasively against punishments and rewards (1993) because once you start, there’s no end to it. People become adducted the rewards. Some studies such as the one done by Uri Gneezy, Stephan Meier, and Pedro Rey-Biel (2011), indicate that incentives don’t change behaviour.

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