Rewards and incentives are related but quite different things. An incentive is something that tends to stimulate or spur individual or group action. A reward is something tangible or intangible that is given to an individual or group for a service. Rewards are given for one of two reasons: (1) outstanding performance of assigned duties and tasks, or (2) unique contributions to the organization either job-related or non-job-related (Tracey, 1999).
Tangible and Intangible Rewards
Tangible rewards (money, treats, certificates, extra privileges, etc.) are external ways of motivating group work. They can be used selectively to build a sense of internal motivation within the group. This is accomplished through another behavior modification principal paired association (Tracey, 1999).
Tangible rewards make group members "feel good", and these rewards follow a major accomplishment, then sooner or later the accomplishment itself will lead to a very positive feeling. This, in a nutshell, is the longer term justification for selectively using external rewards.
Social rewards are among the most powerful ways of recognizing and rewarding achievements (Andrews, 1999).
The need for affiliation is a basic motivator of work groups. Belonging to a special group, and having the time and resources to hang out with that group is very motivating and engaging. Consequently, providing rewards that allow group members the opportunity to socialize is a very effective strategy in motivating group work (Andrews, 1999).
Such rewards might include something as simple as "free-time" to socialize. Food always serves as an instigator of social activity. A pizza party as a reward for a work group accomplishing its goals is a sure thing. Other social opportunities may involve a trip to a local restaurant or a group trip to the movie theater. While the activity itself may be motivating, it is the concept of doing that...