A fundamental tenet of reinforcement theory is that human beings behave in ways contingent on the consequences of their actions. Human resource managers may apply reinforcement theory when seeking to improve employees’ task-related behaviors. When reinforcement theory is applied appropriately, it can motivate employees. When applied inappropriately, however, it can demotivate employees.
As Kerr (1975) points out, there are abundant examples of reward systems that unintentionally transmit the wrong message and might demotivate the target audience.
With these thoughts in mind: