The most carefully crafted incentives, from cash rewards to social props, routinely backfire. What does it really take to get people to do the “right” thing?
Beginning in 2011, Wells Fargo bank employees opened more than 2 million sham bank and credit card accounts in their customers’ names, violating their trust, as well as charging them hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. What drove so many agents to act so unethically? Incentive structures that tied a substantial piece of their compensation, not to mention their continuing employment, to steep sales targets.