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Do bonuses actually make us work harder?

Eat Sleep Work Repeat

Bruce Daisley

Workplace Culture, Social Sciences, Management, Work, Culture, Business, Science

4.7991 Ratings

🗓️ 21 February 2024

⏱️ 53 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Many of us have worked in environments that provided bonuses or rewards for success. Maybe they took the form of team rewards or individual incentives, or end of year profit-share schemes. But do these rewards achieve what they are designed to?

Professor Uri Gneezy is the world's foremost expert on the science of incentives - and he comes with a huge warning about what such schemes actually achieve.

Eat Sleep Work Repeat is today hosted by Bruce Daisley, Ellen Scott and Matthew Cook.

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This is a week to sleep work repeat. It's a podcast about workplace culture, psychology and life.


Hello, I'm Bruce Staysley. I'm Ellen Scott. Hi, I'm Bruce Staysley.


I'm Ellen Scott.


Hi, I'm Matt.


Today's episode is an exploration into incentives and how we try to engineer decisions and this was conversation that you wanted to have


Matt. What was the what was the appeal of today's guest? Partly when I read


Uri's work was just how much I loved how great a storyteller he is.


He has so many wonderful stories from across history,


not just modern world of work of incentives and signals often being designed wrong


which kind of creates quite a humorous outcome of the story and it just made


approaching his work so much easier because I've originally when I came across that I was thinking


Wow, this could be quite heavy we're digging into psychology of incentives of rewards and yeah it was it was really light reading in a sense and it's a real joy to hear him talk through many of the stories and one of the reasons that it fascinated me was so often at work many


the conversations we're having around rituals around recognition come down to what are we


incentivizing what are we actually wanting as a result to happen what


behaviors do we want to incentivize and all too often we're not necessarily thinking that all the way through and I just loved


Uri's approach to common sense signals.


Yeah, I think I think the reason why I found that appealing is that I've worked in no shortage of


organizations where big


bosses suddenly announce an incentive scheme or a way to try to change the


results, the performance of an organization and they just seem to be so


counter to common sense or to a sense of team that yeah I was really


fascinated to hear his work because of that.


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