UT Tyler Organizations Can Adopt Reward Systems that Reward Habits Response

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Article Summary: Organizations can end up implementing reward systems that reward behaviors that are not in sync with their broader desired outcomes.

While I have not experienced this in my work life, my wife certainly has. She works for a large corporation. The corporation is trying to implement a new system that allows customers to self-service their account issues by utilizing remote access to the customers computer, which allows the representative to demonstrate the necessary steps to resolve the given issue. This system is referred to as “co-browsing”. The corporation rewards its employees who obtain the most co-browse sessions by giving them gift cards to an online retailer. However, the corporation also stresses that the shorter the call time, the better, because they are able to assist more customers. Due to the nature of co-browsing, this leads to lengthier call times. So, in effect, they are rewarding one behavior that leads to a outcome that they do not want.

As an HR manager, this can be prevented by analyzing what behavior is being incentivized and what that behavior could lead to. Although the use of strong incentives “opens up the possibility of obtaining substantial performance gains, it also increases the possibility of something going terribly wrong.” (Cascio 438). This can be seen in the example that my wife has experienced at her job. Although the reward is resulting is performance gains in one area, it’s actually hurting the overall goal of the organization. According to Babcock, “HR can help ensure that programs designed to motivate desired employee behaviors are well aligned with corporate objectives.” (Babcock 2013). This further supports the idea that managers should take a deeper look into what behaviors they are rewarding and how those behaviors affect the larger organizational mission.

Should contain 1 internal reference (a reference to a textbook page) and 1 external reference (a reference to a business journal/magazine article


Cascio, W. F. (2016). Managing human resources: Productivity, quality of work-life, profits. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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