Businesses The Real World You Never Saw

1542 words - 6 pages

Businesses - The Real World You Never Saw Audience: Business people Recently, I obtained a job opportunity at the corporate retail store Best Buy. Having worked there for about a month already, I have earned two, two-week paychecks and I will be receiving my employee discount in two more weeks. My supervisor and coworkers have also acknowledged me for the repetitive sales that I have been making in our Home Theater department. In short, I am receiving a great deal of praise and positive feedback around the workplace. Therefore, in reading Tom Peters' article, "Incentives for Success," I just could not understand how there could be too little positive reinforcement in the business world these days.Throughout the article, Tom Peters threateningly critiques Alfie Kohn's argument "Incentives Can Be Bad for Business." In terms of attack and counter attack on the writer's viewpoints, Peters' response to Alfie Kohn's argument is clearly ingenious. Peters clearly argues and frames his point of view on the opinions that: praise is better than punishment, there is "far too little positive reinforcement" rather than too much, workers ought to be recognized more for their efforts, rewards can stifle innovation, and that "competition is [still] the chief motivator for individuals and groups" (4-6). Peters further mentions that: It's not easy to develop a good incentive system, and there are undoubtedly thousands of ways to construct useless, even damaging ones. To read Kohn's article, you might think that bad incentive systems are the rate at most companies. The truth, however, is that most companies don't offer any incentives at all to their employees, except to a thimbleful of folks at the top. (5) On the lineup, Peters' and Kohn's thoughts and ideals over incentives are well balanced. However, I find that Peters is pursuing a gradual defeat on the topic of competition. Moreover, Peters' viewpoints and observations are so contradictory and outdated that I worry that he does not live in "the real world of business" these days.Peters does a mediocre job at best in explaining that what businesses need is a lot more positive reinforcement and a lot less of the negative kind throughout the corporate landscape. However, in explaining about it, Peters contradicts himself and gives Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner way too much credit. Skinner could be "the popularizer of positive reinforcement" or "the one who discovered that aperiodic (random, unexpected) 'schedules of reinforcement' are much more powerful shapers of future behavior than periodic (routine, expected) schedules," but for someone who is reading Peters' article, one would personally like to hear what Peters has to say regarding this topic instead of some Harvard psychologist with an expensive education (4). I agree with Peters in understanding that negative reinforcement does more harm than good, but to me, Peters is a hypocrite in saying that there should be far less criticism and more positive...

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