In the 10th episode of season 2 of the television series, The life and times of Tim, a situation arises where the boss has to let go of some members of staff. It is obviously expected that he (the boss) should have only retained the members of staff who performed impressively as far as company responsibilities were concerned. He however retains the main character (Tim) and when his (the boss’s) superiors inquire of his reasons for leaving Tim on board, the boss confirms that it was because the name ‘Tim’ was easier to remember.
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In this situation, Tim was rewarded for having a shorter and ‘easier on the brain’ name as opposed to his performance in the office. As a matter of fact Stan, one of the other and more deserving characters in the show as far as rewards are concerned, is furious that he got fired as Tim was rewarded with a move to a better office. To quote Stan, “They kept you (Tim)? Worthless, douche bag, lazy, droid of an employee, Tim; Tim is kept, Stan is fired.”
From this example, it is easy to see that the boss was rewarding Tim for one thing while expecting to do another. With the revelation that the brevity of his name is the main reason for him still occupying his position with the company, it is predictable that Tim will at no time fully commit himself to the requirements of the post and will instead hope that the next time the company is downsizing, he would still be saved by his name.
In order to ensure that the correct behavior is encouraged, the boss should have followed correct company procedures and sacked those individuals who were keen on ensuring the organization’ s sustainability by working hard in their respective positions. In this instance, the underperforming Tim would not have stood a chance and the likes of Stan, who were more committed to scoring strongly on the enterprise’s score sheet, would have been retained.
Even worse is the fact that the boss made this revelation as the culprit in question, Tim, was listening. Though unethical by all standards, it would have been appropriate for the boss to let the decision to retain Tim be his own secret and then make it appear that he (the boss) had made the decision based on the performance. It is highly likely that all the other employees of the company would have fully applied themselves to the achievement of organizational goals had this been the criterion and foundation on which the reward system was grounded.
The above example goes in tandem with the ideas presented by Steven Kerr in his article On the Folly of Rewarding A in which he elaborately explores circumstances in various professional fields where individuals get rewarded for doing certain things and then fail to get noticed when they do other things for which they expect to be rewarded. Kerr advises that it is paramount that an appreciation of the fact that individuals will generally tend to work towards fulfilling those roles for which rewards are expected. Drawing from the TV show example above and going in line with Kerr’s proposition, company heads should make it their business to ensure that they appropriately reward individuals who effectively help their institutions prosper.