An incentive: if you do 50 pushups, I’ll buy you a coffee.

A reward: you’ve done 50 pushups! I’ll buy you a coffee.

Incentives and rewards, in the realm of human resource management, are often used (or attempted to be used) to improve morale, increase productivity, and encourage workers to contribute their best work.

Rewards are retrospective – they are only given once evidence is provided of the behaviour or achievement. Incentives, on the other hand, are benefits promised beforehand, and if the goal behaviour is exhibited, become a reward.

So, it seems like they differ in timeline, but share the same objective of encouraging more of a particular behaviour.

This might all seem fluffy and meaningless. But my reason to think about this is to wonder if the meanings differ in the context of this quote from Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State:

…tax incentives are given to companies that declare past engagement in [X]. In this sense, they do not stimulate new [X]; they reward [X] already carried out…

Looks and feels like Spring in Grevillea Park!


Food: congee, pumpkin, untuna, lettuce, chocolate, bread, noodles, ice cream, roast beetroot salad, mushroom and broccoli.

Workout: none.