In “Punished by Rewards” en “No Contest” komt bijna zijdelings het verband tussen hiërarchische verhoudingen, competitie en prestatiebeloning enerzijds en creativiteit anderzijds aan de orde. Ofwel: conservatisme (of is het conservering) enerzijds en rebellie anderzijds.

In “Punished by Rewards” schrijft Kohn:

If rewards bolster the traditional order of things, then the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is right to warn (or promise) that “to de-emphasize conventional rewards threatens the existing power structure. The trust of a book like this one is rightly viewed as political insofar as it raises questions about systems that support the status quo, but is no more political than pop behaviorism, which turns out to be a profoundly conservative doctrine posing as a value-free technique.

Met beloningen richt je mensen af, zoals Pavlov zijn dieren africhtte.

­The underlying principle can be summarized this way: when we are working for a reward, we do exactly what is necessary to get it and no more. Not only are we less apt to notice peripheral features of the task, but in performing it we are also less likely to take chances, play with possibilities, follow hunches that might not pay off. Risks are to be avoided whenever possible because the objective is not to engage in an open-ended encounter with ideas; it is simply to get the goody. One group of researchers explained that when we are motivated by rewards, “features such as predictability and simplicity are desirable, since the primery focus associated with this orientation is to get through the task expediently in order to reach the desired goal.” Another psychologist was more succinct: rewards, he said, are the “enemies of exploration.”

Een onderzoekende houding is nodig om het bestaande in twijfel te trekken en om tot verandering te komen. Ontbreekt die houding, dan kan je creativiteit en innovatie ook vergeten.
Beloningen worden ingezet als controlemechanisme, met beloningen zorg je dat de medewerkers doen wat er van hen verwacht wordt. Het zijn de managers die bepalen wat juist is en wat dus beloont moet worden. Wat je krijgt is conformisme. Want vanwege het eigenbelang zorgt de medewerker dat hij doet wat verwacht wordt om zijn beloning in de wacht te slepen.
En dat is dodelijk voor innovatie.

By contrast, the far more meaningful kind of risk-taking entailed by exploring new possibilities is precisely what people are unikely to do when they are trying to obtain a reward. Far more common in most activities is an orientation of unreflective expedience – the very opposite of what creativity requires.

De boodschap is dat rebellie en creativiteit broodnodig zijn om te vernieuwen, te innoveren, om flexibel te blijven en om voldoende aanpassingsvermogen te hebben om te overleven in een wereld waarin verandering de norm is. Hiërarchie, competitie en prestatiebeloning helpen daar niet bij.


Citaten uit “Punished by Rewards”.

Boekbespreking “Punished by Rewards

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Boekbespreking “No Contest

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