If we apply this experiment in the workplace, we may be inclined to believe that carrots and sticks work to motivate our employees. We may reward them with bonuses or threaten them with reprimanding language in order to get them to do their work better. However, decades of research show that the reasons we work determine how well we work. We expand on this concept in our book, Primed to Perform.
While it’s true that carrots and sticks can serve to compel employees to perform, this doesn’t serve to sustain high-performing cultures. Sure, if you threaten to fire your employee if they don’t produce a PowerPoint, they will likely produce the PowerPoint. However, because they are doing so out of emotional and economic pressure, their performance is likely to suffer. The same is true for rewards.
What did you learn?
What is confusing?