What Makes Employees Work Harder: Punishment or Pampering?

Bad news: Monitoring devices — and, more gruesomely, massive layoffs — really do seem to make us more productive

by Derek Thompson

You’re a boss. You have a bunch of employees you consider under-motivated, unproductive, and, well, sorta lazy. You wonder: How do I make them talk less? Focus more? Try harder? Think more creatively? Just be better?

You turn to social science and economic research and find that much of the conclusions appear to be divided into two strategic approaches. For lack of more officious-sounding terms, I’m going to call them: the Feel-Good strategies vs. the Feel-Bad strategies.


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