Theorists who support this ‘motivation’ approach believe that we need not be concerned about follower’s internal mental states, prior knowledge, learning styles or current levels of an individual’s understanding (internal cognitive events). Rather they argue that ‘reinforces’, (consequences that immediately follow behavior) will, if they are ‘good’ lead to a repetition of the behavior and if they are ‘bad’ will lead to an avoidance of the behavior.
Although this theory is accepted in many circles, (because its easy and we don’t need to think too hard to apply it) experience shows that this philosophy ignores much that is known about human behavior. In addition it is likely (particularly if applied in isolation) to stimulate behavior designed to do as little as possible to avoid the ‘stick’ and as little as possible to gain acceptable levels of reward or the ‘carrot’.
If the object of creating motivated staff is to strive to create excellence and superior performance the danger of using this technique is that the leader/manager will only create a comfortable state of trouble free mediocrity.
Do you ever say to yourself... god this is a mediocre bunch...or that department is a poor performer... perhaps you should look at they're boss and ask him/her to stew his/her carrots over someone else's fiery sticks...