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Rewards and Punishment

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 1.11 Rewards and Punishment

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Civil Secret Teachings 1.11 (11)

Observed lessons

  • Reward and punishment sends signals not just to the person but all who know about this action. If more know, then more will respond to the signals.
  • Reward indicates trust.
  • Punishment indicates a need for certainty.
  • The rewards and punishments given by the ruler are far more significant than those given by lesser people.

Discussion

Reward and punishment are two sides of the same coin. They are both forms of extrinsic motivation, which can be rather pernicious in the way it appears to work at the time. In conditioning, punishment stops action while reward encourages it. Yet many use punishment with the intent of persuading people what they should do. This is one reason why punishment can be ineffective. It can also cause reaction or other forms of coping that easily becomes dysfunctional.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, seeks to build deep personal motivation through inspiration and other more difficult forms of motivating people. The main problem for many leaders is that intrinsic motivation is harder, requiring more time and skill. Yet done well it is far more powerful.

In general, the Civil Secret Teachings puts far more emphasis on intrinsic motivation, which illustrates the maturity of the author, even though it was written many centuries ago.

See also

Motivation, Reward Alignment, Conditioning

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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