5708Re: [agile-usability] Re: One Of My Biggest Agile Problem.
- Sep 6, 2008William,
>I believe that you are correct. I have not made a major study of the
> I think you're using the words "punishment" and "reward" in ways
> different than common usage, and different than the technical terms in
field of psychology beyond some limited areas of interest, so I would
agree that my definitions probably differ at least in spirit. That being
said, I do not for one minute regret the conversation that has taken
place as a result of my loose labeling or other's definitions.
> You also seem to have some misunderstandings about what Kohn says andI honestly appreciate that, William. As I posted before, it's been a
> doesn't say, and where you have it right, he has addressed your
> responses and questions at length.
> In hopes of solving all of these problems and advancing the
> discussion, I've had Amazon send you a copy of his book. Look for it
> toward the end of the week.
long time since I have read from his book, so I will suspend further
discussion of Kohn on my part until I have had a chance to do a bit of
reading. I sincerely doubt that my personal world view will
significantly shift as a result, but the least I can do is get the facts
straight before I assault them. :-)
Voodoo Usability Shaman, Agile Sadist
> Jonathan House wrote:
>> Hi Ron,
>> Yes, I've had a cat. I'd say that they are the exception that proves
>> the rule. It's amazing how well they can take your reward /
>> punishment system and turn it against you...
>> On a more serious note, echoing one of the things that was touched
>> upon in the SL Agile discussion yesterday, there is a wide spectrum
>> of rewards and punishment and an equally wide spectrum of applicable
>> conditions for those rewards and punishments. People who don't bother
>> to go beyond the surface automatically equate rewards with the giving
>> of physical things or overtly positive verbal feedback, and
>> punishment with the infliction of physical discomfort or overtly
>> negative verbal feedback. That's only a part of the story.
>> Take Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as an example
>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs). Here's
>> a summary in reverse order (from primitive to advanced):
>> Physiological needs (food, water, air, sleep, etc).
>> Safety (safe from physical harm, secure employment, secure family
>> bonds, etc).
>> Love (friendships, positive family relationships, etc)
>> Esteem (confidence, achievement, respect of others)
>> Self-actualization (morality, creativity, problem solving, etc).
>> The human experience completely encompasses this range of needs.
>> Those that fail to have needs met at a lower level are rarely in any
>> condition to fulfill needs at a higher level (yes, I know that there
>> are detractors to this theory. I'm not one of them).
>> Now take the concept of reward and punishment and apply it across
>> this hierarchy of needs. Let's see what we come up with:
>> Physiological - rewards and punishments at this level are obvious.
>> The criticality of those same rewards and punishments are quite
>> literally the difference between life and death. Obviously exertion
>> of rewards and punishments at this level are extremely effective for
>> inducing behavior in individuals, but have no place in any level of
>> civilization due to the massive negative effects on the rest of the
>> population. If only the dictators of the world would pay attention in
>> their psychology classes.
>> Safety - Even though this is still very far down the needs hierarchy,
>> it's surprising how often reward / punishments at this level come up
>> in our modern societies. Rewards include continued employment, access
>> to family and property, security of the physical self from harm.
>> Punishments include loss of jobs, denial of access to family and
>> friends, loss of property, risk of bodily harm. The whole concept of
>> an effective workforce revolves around the concept of the access to
>> or denial of employment. Do well at your job and your reward is
>> continued employment. Screw up, and you lose your job. Take a look at
>> places where it is much harder to either become employed, or once
>> employed, lose your job. What happens to the productivity of the
>> workforce without this reward / punishment system? I need point no
>> further than to government and public education to illustrate this
>> Love - Forget to give your significant other a gift on Valentines
>> day? Guess what's coming. Plan an elaborate surprise party for a
>> close friend and what can you expect? Reward and punishment examples
>> abound at this level.
>> Esteem and Self Actualization - Now we're getting into interesting
>> territory. Alfie Kohn states (in the interview that William linked
>> to) "The kind of motivation elicited by extrinsic inducements isn't
>> just less effective than intrinsic motivation; it threatens to erode
>> that intrinsic motivation, that excitement about what one is doing.".
>> I call "bulls**t" on this one. Intrinsic motivation is just as
>> effectively controlled by rewards and punishments as extrinsic
>> motivations. The only difference is the nature of those rewards and
>> punishments. Here's an example. I, as an experienced martial artist
>> (yes, I really am) can perform physical tasks that others want to
>> learn. According to Kohn, my demonstration of these techniques does
>> not constitute an extrinsic "reward" or motivation. I am simply
>> performing a physical act that others are observing. But yet I know
>> that if I execute this physical act in an inept way, I am going to
>> demotivate those that are watching me from wanting to learn (failing
>> to trigger their intrinsic motivations). But if I perform that exact
>> same physical act to the best of my abilities, there's going to be a
>> lot more intrinsic motivation popping up. No reward and punishment
>> from the perspective of Kohn, but I have still quite effectively
>> influenced behavior.
>> Effective rewards and punishments at the esteem and self
>> actualization level are never physical, and are rarely overt ("you
>> did a great job, Jimmy!"). But they still exist, and we see and use
>> them all of the time. Just because they don't take the form of what
>> we traditionally consider rewards and punishments doesn't mean that
>> they aren't. My alternative theory is that specific categories of
>> rewards and punishments cease to be effective when the target of that
>> attention transitions to a different level of need. The mistake we
>> make is that we don't adjust our rewards and punishments to match
>> their growing (or diminishing) level of needs actualization.
>> Oh, and a final parting shot at Kohn. If extrinsic reward systems are
>> so fallible, why is it that we continue to see those with greater
>> skills being rewarded above others with lesser skills? Employees that
>> perform better are rewarded not from a warm glow within, but higher
>> pay. Professional athletes receive the pay and attention that they do
>> because of superior physical skills. How many people capable of
>> performing at at a high level say "no, you can keep all of that nasty
>> extrinsic piles of cash. I'm intrinsically motivated to be a florist!".
>> Jonathan House
>> Technology Operations Director, Amirsys Inc.
>> Voodoo Usability Shaman, Agile Sadist
>> Ron Jeffries wrote:
>>> Hello, Jonathan. On Friday, September 5, 2008, at 4:36:54 PM, you
>>>> As an aside to all of this, we continued the rewards / punishments
>>>> conversation into the Agile Roundtable discussion group here in Salt
>>>> Lake City on Thursday and had some fascinating discussions. There were
>>>> others here who were present, so I'll let them share their
>>>> thoughts. My
>>>> takeaway was that there was no convincing arguments that dispelled the
>>>> reward / punishment mechanisms as a means of successfully altering
>>> Oh, yes, it is well-established. Punishment will alter behavior --
>>> while the punisher is looking.
>>> Haven't you ever had a cat?
>>> Ron Jeffries
>>> Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.
>>> --Albert Einstein
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