Incentives and Disincentives
The problem, as Drive author Daniel Pink would explain, is that the new Head implemented a system based on “carrots and sticks”. However such external consequences have a number of undesirable effects:
More generally, this Head of school’s mistake was their assumption that unless externally motivated by rewards and punishments, teachers would not put any effort in their work. In line with Self-Determination Theory, human beings are actually intrinsically motivated to expend energy in productive ways, unless they are deprived of one or more of the following—which is exactly what reinforcement does:
Entrusting teachers with the responsibility to address broad challenges, the Head will be able to unleash these three intrinsic rewards, reignite their school’s spirit, and boost its performance. Following the example of many successful companies, this could include giving the faculty:
If “flow” is the name of this mental state in which individuals are absorbed in a task that makes them feel, at the same time, challenged, in control, and successful; the addition of relatedness and purpose transforms this experience into the exhilarating sense of efficacy that Durkheim called “collective effervescence”.
Pink, D. H. (2011). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Riverhead Books.