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the carrot and the stick
A motivational tactic that uses a reward and punishment system to encourage improved performance or behavior. Companies are slowly learning that the carrot and the stick is an ineffective management approach. Employees are much more motivated to do a better job when they are recognized for their hard work.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
carrot and the stick, the
Reward and punishment. The term alludes to dangling a carrot in front of a horse or donkey to get it to move, and threatening or beating it with a stick. An essay about philosopher John Stuart Mill explains that for Mill’s father, “Praise and blame . . . were to man what carrots or sticks are to a horse or an ass . . . It was this carrot and stick discipline to which Mr. John Mill was subjected.” The term dates from the late 1800s.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer