The article by Kerr discusses a major flaw in most reward systems; what the systems reward is not what the organization or group they are used in wants to achieve. The author gives the example of the American voter community which wants presidential candidates that have comprehensive operative goals rather than those with official goals. On the contrary, the voters do not support candidates that emphasis more on their operative goals than their official goals. Kerr points out that such a reward system only ensures that the voters never get presidents with operative goals since most candidates opt to show their official goals to appeal to the electorate. This is an example of a situation where behavior A is rewarded while the one giving the reward actually wants behavior B to be practiced. The author also points out that though most businesses require long-term growth, teamwork, and commitment to absolute quality; the businesses reward quarterly earnings, individual efforts, and meeting deadlines even when the products are defective and the services substandard. Kerr encourages managers to re-evaluate their reward systems to ensure that they achieve organizational goals and objectives. In doing this, the author suggests that managers first identify which type of behavior they are currently rewarding and then analyze these behaviors to identify whether they are the specific ones they want to motivate amongst their employee or a misconception of what the organization actually requires (Kerr 13). By doing this, the reward system becomes reinforcement for positive behavior in the human resource function.
This scholarly piece by Kerr relates to me as a future employee in that it teaches me to focus on what the organization seeks to achieve rather than on only what is being rewarded. It teaches me to prioritize the organization’s goals first before my own rewards. It also teaches me that at times what I am being rewarded for may not be the best thing for my career, same way it may not be the best for the organization. With this realization I should be able to stay focused on my professional growth and not be distracted by rewards that will only stop me from achieving these goals.
This article also teaches me, as a future manager, on the importance of developing a comprehensive reward system. This is because failure to do so may result in ineffective reward systems that impede on our organization not achieving its goals and objectives. Also, this article teaches me as a future manager to always review reward systems to ensure that they are relevant in the business. This will help in ensuring that the reward system keeps in step with changing strategic goals and that it does not get out phased by emerging trends in the evolving human resource market (Armstrong 204). I would also test the reward systems first before actually adopting them into the organization to ensure their effectiveness in positively reinforcing the required behavior.
At the end of the article, it is pointed out that many managers did not adopt the proposals made in the article in their businesses though they read the article. This has taught me that most managers are reluctant to adopt change in their organizations especially when it comes to replacing systems that are already running within their business. When I become an employee, I will ensure that I keep an open mind and that I am ready to embrace change whenever necessary as long as it does not compromise the company’s future plans. In relation to this I have also learnt that some managers just want to assume problems and hope they go away. This can be seen by the fact that though most managers agree with the findings of the article, only a few are willing to solve the problems in their organization. As an employee I will seek to be proactive when it comes to dealing with problems facing the organization and to avoid assuming them as they never solve themselves.
I have learnt that ineffective reward systems only end up siring hypocrisy within an organization as people try to do various things, even wrong ones, just to be rewarded and appreciated as effective employees. This means that most of the behavior evidenced in the employees where such faulty reward systems are practiced is only motivated by the desire for rewards and not intrinsically inspired. This is risky for the organization since reward systems are supposed to create a certain work culture that should outlive the reward system (Armstrong 156); however, such pretence only means that the achieved work culture will collapse when the rewards are withdrawn. This negatively implicates on the long term growth of the company. As a future manager I will ensure that the effects of reward systems in the organization are permanent and that fellow employees are not motivated only by the need for appreciation but also by the need for professional and organizational growth.
Over emphasis on overt behavior is also something that this article has taught me to avoid. This is because such over emphasis ignores covert behavior which forms an integral part of business operations. I have learnt that this over emphasis is mainly because overt behavior is easy to analyze and rate and hence is an easier option for managers when developing reward systems. However, this article has clearly shown that not all easy options are effective in the long run.
I have also learnt that equity should not be emphasized at the expense of efficiency in an organization. The organization’s reward system should ensure that managers do not feel obligated to reward employees to ensure equity but rather to reward efficiency. For example as a manager, I will ensure that I do not overlook an employee’s mistakes simply because they have worked for a long time at the company.
This article relates to the book material as it deals with the human resource function which the material also deals with. The article highlights employee reward as a significant part of the human resource function which is similar to what the book material highlights. It is through employee reward that an organization is able to motivate its human resource to achieve its strategic goals. This is why both the book and the article highlight the importance of ensuring that employees are rewarded for exhibiting behavior that is relevant to the organization’s goals. Due to this significance, the article hence calls for an effective reward system for employees in various organizations and also in political matters. Both the book and the article show reward systems as form of performance appraisal meant to boost productivity of the human resource function of a business. The two publications also show reward systems as being used to pay employees for their performance, as incentives to improve efficiency, and to increase the overall revenue generated by an organization.
Armstrong, Sharon. The Essential HR Handbook. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
Kerr, Steve. “On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B.” Academy of Management Executive 9.1 (1995): 7-14. Print.