In a software design organisation the monthly report showed the level of ‘bugs found’ to be down. Management wondered whether technicians could find more, so offered an incentive for finding bugs.

Ever keen to get the incentive, technicians put bugs into the software and then ‘found’ them!

The incentive created additional ‘work’ and additional expense.

It is also likely that the effect of the incentive would be to devalue the task. Morale would fall as pride is destroyed, further debilitating the system.

Having spent millions on ‘knowledge management’ software, managers incentivised people to send bits of ‘knowledge’ to the ‘knowledge library’; so people sent whatever they could to get the incentive. Did that do anything for knowledge?