Another Look At Workplace Incentives

UNPUBLISHED 2002 Another Look at Workplace Incentives By Alfie Kohn This short essay was written in 2002 as an invited contribution to an anthology. The author who had extended the invitation, a supporter of incentive systems, subsequently declined to publish it.  Managers and consultants with a strong professional interest in continuing to use – or convincing others to use – … Read More

Challenging Behaviorist Dogma

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS REVIEW March/April 1998 Challenging Behaviorist Dogma: Myths About Money and Motivation By Alfie Kohn The idea that dangling money and other goodies in front of people will “motivate” them to work harder is the conventional wisdom in our society, and particularly among compensation specialists. Those of us who have challenged the Skinnerian orthodoxy that grounds this conviction … Read More

For Best Results, Forget the Bonus

NEW YORK TIMES October 17, 1993 For Best Results, Forget the Bonus By Alfie Kohn “Do this and you’ll get that.” These six words sum up the most popular way in which American business strives to improve performance in the workplace.  And it is very popular. At least three of four American corporations rely on some sort of incentive program. … Read More

Turning Learning Into A Business: Concerns About ‘Quality Management’ at School (*)

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP September 1993 Turning Learning Into A Business Concerns About “Quality Management” at School By Alfie Kohn Every few years a new idea captures the imagination of educators and suddenly seems to be everywhere at once.  The journals are filled with breathless accounts of its importance, a cadre of consultants materializes to offer workshops and trainings, and a new … Read More

No Contest

INC. Magazine November 1987 No Contest By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the original article.]  Long before anyone was talking about team-building or Theory Z — less than a decade after World War II, in fact – a sociologist named Peter Blau compared two groups of interviewers at a public employment agency. Those in the first … Read More