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Incentives play a major role in the shaping of human behavior and attitude towards various activities. Basically, incentives are rewards or compensations which arise from the achievement of pre-set objectives. In most organizations, rewards and compensations are usually commensurate with an individual’s efforts and performance. Specifically, this is manifested by the basic law of behavior which dictates that higher incentives will lead to more effort and better performance.
Often, incentives in an organizational go a long way in shaping employee behavior and perceptions towards certain scenarios. Fundamentally, most incentives may be monetary or non-monetary. In a business setting, incentives may include promotions, security of service, praise, recognition, and job enrichment. In light of this, incentives serve to make employees feel self-motivated as they are aware of the possible rewards that they may receive on the achievement of certain specified goals. Therefore, the level of performance among employees will vary greatly depending on whether the set goals are incentivized or not. Industriousness and creativity are behavioral traits which may be greatly affected by the presence of incentives. In essence, the self-motivated employees are most likely to experience job satisfaction at their workstations. For a business or organization, this has the net effect of increasing productivity and translating to higher output. Overly, this is brought about by the positive change in the behavior of the employees.
Similarly, incentives affect the self-esteem associated with an individual ultimately impacting on how they conduct themselves. For instance, when an employee receives an incentive following an outstanding performance, it demonstrates that the management recognizes his/her exemplary at work. Consequently, the employee feels recognized and important. In retrospect, this feeling of self-consciousness may drive employees to either pride or humility. In addition, those who have not received any incentive may be prompted to work harder so that they may receive them next time.
In brief, by using incentives a competitive human behavior is inculcated both consciously and subconsciously in the employees. However, this may result in one of two scenarios. On one side, a more cohesive team will be built as employees develop teams that aim at achieving a common goal. On the contrary, malice, suspicion, and unfair competition tactics may arise as the employees scramble for the available incentives.
On the same accord, pro-social behavior is greatly influenced by the presence of incentives. For instance, an organization may offer incentives to employees who volunteer in local social activities such as organizing sports teams, conserving the environment, or taking care of the needy. Naturally, there may be little interest in these activities if no form of reward is handed out. However, the moment a reward scheme is introduced, employees may tend to scramble for the opportunity to gain material benefits from their social activities. In this case, the incentives can be said to have coerced the employees to participate in social activities. In effect, the use of incentives may indirectly lead to social development due to the increased employee participation.
Noteworthy, negative incentives also have a great influence on human behavior. Primarily, incentives are put in place to punish and correct the mistakes performed by employees. Basically, they act as a physiological tool of punishment when the positive incentives prove to be ineffective. Alternatively, they are used jointly with positive incentives to complement each other. For example, fines, transfers, penalties, and demotions are examples of negative incentives. Importantly, negative incentives affect employees’ behaviors by keeping them constantly on their toes with the urgency to perform better in order to avoid possible punishments. Therefore, employees develop a culture of diligence and professionalism in their work. Nevertheless, negative incentives may inculcate fear among the workers and this may lead to an overall resentment towards authority.
To sum up, incentives are an important means through which businesses may motivate employees to work harder and develop their skill. In general, organizations may form various forms of incentives, both monetary and non-monetary to achieve their desired objectives. Consequently, an organization should develop ways of using incentives in order to increase its employee’s performance.