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A for B

December 3, 2011

When it comes to motivating employees to fulfill specific tasks understanding what you are trying to motivate them to do is very important. In the article, “On the Folly of rewarding A for B” the topic is discussed that many managers hope for a specific outcome, and reward for something completely different. The article discusses how when managers reward the wrong behaviors employees are not motivated to achieve the actual targeted goal.

Here is an example that they article gave a company that followed the “when in doubt, pay it out”

“this situations was made even worse by the firm’s reward system. The reward system called for annual mereit increases to be given to all employees, in one of the following three amounts”

1. If the worker was “outstanding”  (a select category, into which no more that two employees per section could be placed) 5%

2. If the worker was “above average” (normally all workers  not outstanding were so rate) 4%

3. If the worker committed gross acts of negligence and irresponsibility’s for which he or she might be discharged in many other companies; 3%

Rewarding A for B will negatively affects Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. This theory states that if people are motivated positively to do a specific task the outcome will be far more productive. But if managers motivate employees to do one thing, and they achieve another and are rewarded for not reaching their initial goals they will be less likely to strive for greater productivities. Thus motivating employees with the hope of reaching a challenging goal will be useless.

For example, according to the “managerial and organizational Implications of Expectancy theory” the other discusses the implications for managers. It states that you must first determine the outcome, and reward for actually achieving that outcome. Some rewards could be helpful in order to motivate the employees but a manager must “tie some rewards to group accomplishments to build teamwork and encourage cooperation” (pg 227). These rewards may be given, but the employees must understand they are not the final reward. These are motivating rewards to get them to achieve their goal. They will not be rewarded in the end if the job was not completed.

Rewarding A for B can be avoided if managers clearly define what they are expecting from the team. Once a clear goal is determined then the manager must figure out way to motivate and reward the employees in ways that will help them in reaching this specific goal. And managers must stay strong when goals are not met. Credibility will be lost by managers if they reward behaviors that they are not seeking.

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