Re: Incentives LO1160

Michael McMaster (
Thu, 11 May 1995 10:40:01 +0000

Replying to LO1121 --

Ivan develops the area of relating incentives to knowledge quite
well. In particular, if we are looking for ways that will match
implicit community knowledge as well as explicit and individual

He points out that, " Employees will
> still have a need for money (rent, grocery stores, etc. might still be
> around), but it will very difficult to tell someone here have this bonus
> because you were more intelligent this past month!

But the focus will generally not be on knowledge or intelligence
itself. It will still be on the application of or results produced
by that intelligence. (In sports, the reward is for games won not
ability to play - and if you want to win, you concentrate on

We do need to develop measures for learning, knowledge accumulation,
knowledge availability and intelligence capacity but I think that if
we look for these in the thing itself rather than the thing in
action, we'll make a lot of mistakes - that is, what we measure and
even improve will not make a difference in our action.

I'd return to what Ivan also said about involving the people affected
in the design of their own system. I think this is key to
organisational learning. If we remember that we never "start with a
clean sheet" when we consider organisation, its reward systems, etc.
then we can see that we need to understand the way it is and can then
begin to develop - in dialogue and experiment - the way it might be.
In the development, we learn so that we are sufficiently competent
when we begin to implement.

The problem with "doing it to others" is not so much the power or
force as it is the lack of learning and intelligence (meaning the
distributed phenomenon) that is present.

Michael McMaster