On The Folly of Rewarding A While Hoping For B” is a well known article by Steven Kerr that appeared in The Academy of Management Executive. Kerr shows us that we need to carefully examine the rewards and punishments behind the behaviors we want to encourage in our society. An excellent example of how B.F. Skinner‘s ideas are so important. Steven Kerr’s article is still so relevant today.
In the “On The Folly…” article, Kerr states that,
Whether dealing with monkeys, rats or human beings…most organisms seek information concerning what activities are rewarded and then seek to do (or at least pretend to do) those things often to the virtual exclusion of activities not rewarded.
In politics, official goals…may be relied on to offend absolutely no one…The American voter typically punishes (withholds support from) candidates who frankly discuss where the money will come from, rewards politicians who speak only of official goals but hopes that candidates (despite the reward system) will discuss the issues operatively [i.e., with specifics].