South-Western - Management  
To Motivate, Keep Innovating
Topic Motivation
Key Words Motivation, employee morale, recognition
InfoTrac Reference A113759945
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News Story 

Motivation is a moving target. One company that has made a special push to recognize employees is Syncrude, Ltd., one of Canada's largest energy companies. Manager of Operations, John Thomas, created a "pay it forward" award, consisting of a plaque that was first given by John to someone on his senior staff. The recipient was instructed to then give the award to someone else, at the discretion of the current holder of the award.

John also reviews performance appraisals, selecting the ones identified as high performers, and writing them a personalized letter. Leaders on the four shift teams and a day crew identify three or four people on their teams whom they value and appreciate. These people are pulled off the job for special recognition.

John also schedules four hours a week to go into the mine and talk to employees about procedures, safety and morale. The company is also considering implementing informal workshops to work with team leaders on positive recognition practices.

John feels these programs have had a significant impact on employee morale.


Name four ways this company motivates its employees. Which do you feel would be the most motivating? Why?


Are the rewards discussed intrinsic or extrinsic rewards?


Which reinforcement contingency is demonstrated in this article?

Source "To Motivate, Keep Innovating," Bank Marketing, Jan-Feb, 2004, p. 18.
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