There are essentially three classifications of rewards. They are intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards

There are essentially three classifications of rewards. They are intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards, financial versus nonfinancial rewards, and performance-based versus membership based rewards. What are the strengths and weaknesses associated with each type of reward? Which type of reward is most successful in the business environment and why?

Expert Answer

There are many things associated with rewards. Rewards are more useful in situation specific , team specific circumstances and may or may not have the same results. Perhaps, even in the hands of a skillful manager, the rewards may give an entirely different kind of result than in the hands of a less skillful manager.

Intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards: Extrinsic rewards are more linked to money and material well being while intrinsic rewards relates to feeling of accomplishments, competence, inner satisfaction. Extrinsic rewards are very good motivators. Higher monetary incentives helps a sales person to push more and a supervisor to finish production lot earlier. However, beyond a point, extrinsic rewards loses its motivation. Humans are not pavlovian dogs who will salivate when the buzzer goes. They also have internal needs like a job well done, recognition, a good boss, opportunities to learn something new etc. Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards also interacts in very different ways. For example, it has seen that in some situations, people who were enjoying intrinsic reward , their happiness decreases if extrinsic rewards are added. For example, creative professionals like designers who are feeling compentent as well as pride for designing something extra ordinary will react differently if he starts getting compensated in terms of extrinsic rewards only. Similarly, people at the bottom of pyramid may also need intrinsic rewards while extrinsic rewards may be a bigger motivator for them since their needs for money may be more urgent.

Above explanation is also true for financial versus non financial rewards. In a few cases, even within the category of extrinsic rewards, financial and non financial rewards may react differently. For example, a bank associate who spends 4 hours to commute may be more happier if he is placed in a branc nearer to his home than getting a raise. Hence, the nature of rewards may required to be customised according to individual.

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