Summary of How to Demotivate Your Best Employees

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees summary

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


Recognition motivates employees, yet some company award programs have the opposite effect. A recent Harvard Business School study reveals that it matters a great deal how managers award employees, and for what. Freelance writer Dina Gerdeman talked with one of the study’s co-authors to find out how a well-intentioned incentive program ended up alienating a company’s most valuable employees. getAbstract recommends her article to managers who want to recognize their employees the right way.

About the Author

Dina Gerdeman is a freelance news and features writer for Harvard Business School and other outlets. 


More than 80% of companies seek to increase employee motivation using rewards. Certain types of employee recognition programs, however, can cause more harm than good. Harvard Business School professor Ian Larkin and his colleagues studied a nine-month-long attendance award program at an industrial laundry facility, which sought to increase productivity, yet ended up doing the opposite.

The plant manager’s goal was to discourage unexcused absences and late arrivals. At the end of each month, the manager convened a meeting at which ...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

9 Ways You Make It Harder for Your Team to Get Stuff Done
More Than Just Weather and Music
The Leaders Championing the Financial Wellness at Work Movement
Making Manufacturing Sustainable by Design
Hollywood's Obituary, the Sequel. Now Streaming
To Make Zero-Based Budgeting Work, Change Behavior

Related Channels