Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 69 of 153 
Next page End Contents 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74  

So, it is not surprising that many of us resist external pressure (and,
thus, some aspects of extrinsic motivation). 
Also, note that if an extrinsic reward system has been designed to
control one's actions and quickly produce some product or accomplish
a very precise outcome, the required actions will very likely focus
one's attention on each small precise step and on speed, like a robot.
This concentration on efficiency results in little time to think about how
to make improvements in the process, little motivation to be creative,
and little intrinsic satisfaction in the activity. This concentration on
performing well is also often true when we are competing and trying to
win. In a similar way, when we strive to gain someone's praise or
approval, that effort is likely to detract us from actually enjoying
accomplishing the task (but we like the attention, if we get it). For a
variety of reasons it frequently feels better doing what we want, how
we want to do it, and at our own pace. Autonomy and freedom from
demands is the preferred state for many of us...BUT without explicit
directions and guidance will students learn what others think they
should learn? Some will, some won't. Without clear guidelines and
rewards for carrying out one's work will we be as efficient as others
want us to be? Probably not, so some tension between "freedom"
(intrinsic motivation) and control by others (extrinsic), often using
rewards, continues. This isn't just a conflict within a person; it is a
group or social argument. Since the joy of learning and of enjoying
your skills at work are highly valuable reactions to have, teachers and
employers naturally became concerned about the provision of
incentive programs based on certain kinds of extrinsic rewards given
under overly-controlling conditions. 
Much, much more study is needed but it seems that rewards, in
general, are highly beneficial and appropriate to use, except when
people are engaged in activities that are already high-interest (and
probably don't need additional motivation) or could be. This conflict
between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is important to understand
both when we are simply trying to understand behavior and when we
are trying to arrange optimal conditions for encouraging desired
behaviors. Therefore, I will discuss several more situations that
hopefully will shed more light on this unique behavior management
Rewards and intrinsic satisfaction in conflict--a rare but real
Sometimes, rewarding a behavior makes it less likely to occur in
the future (Kohn, 1993; Cameron, Banko, & Pierce, 2001). Wow! That
seems strange. It is contrary to everything else I'm telling you in this
book. How could this happen? We will discuss several interesting
circumstances, some based on research but others involve pure
(1) Some so-called "rewards" can have insulting implications, such
as "Son, I'll give you a dollar to mow the lawn" or "Honey, I need
Previous page Top Next page

« Back