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#22764 - 03/14/01 09:06 AM Are you incentified?
garynamy Offline

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 20
Loc: Maryland
Just a note on the continuing decline of the English language in corporate America.

In my company, executives have been groping for years for a word that means 'to encourage by use of incentives.' In other words, a verb to fill in the blank in a sentence like, "We want to [***] our employees to achieve our goals."

But 'encourage' is too weak, since the connotation they're going for is that we're giving people things (key rings, t-shirts, etc.) for doing good work; and 'encourage' seems like a vague pat on the back or a few words.

So 'incent' was tried out for a while, accent on that second syllable, please. "We incent our employees with bonus pay." But the backlash was felt, and the neologism was discarded.

I got a memo yesterday, though, from a manager who was pleased that a particular program was 'incentifying' his employees.

I really dislike both words, but does anyone have an established word that can fill the breach?

#22765 - 03/14/01 09:17 AM Re: Are you incentified?
Fiberbabe Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 771
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Incentivize is one I've heard in common use. "Incentify" sounds like it belongs back on the Don King thread...

#22766 - 03/14/01 10:28 AM Re: Are you incentified?

i'd probably have simply used "motivate".

#22767 - 03/14/01 10:29 AM Re: Are you incentified?
Sparteye Offline

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
My husband's employer also insisted upon "incenting" his employees. Sigh.

How about "motivate?"

#22768 - 03/14/01 10:31 AM Re: Are you incentified?

LOL... beat ya!!

#22769 - 03/14/01 10:37 AM Re: Are you incentified?
Sparteye Offline

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
In reply to:

LOL... beat ya!!

#22770 - 03/14/01 11:08 AM Re: Are you incentified?
Rouspeteur Offline

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 163
How about inspire?

Perhaps the problem with the management is that they spend so much time twisting the meanings of words they can't recognise a perfectly good and appropriate word when they see it.

#22771 - 03/14/01 11:24 AM Re: Are you incentified?
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
I don't agree. This is the well-trodden road of the noun becoming a verb, with a more specific meaning than the existing alternatives.

The noun of an 'incentive' article (gift or other inducement) therefore becomes to incentivize, meaning quite specifically to reward by means of giving this article. IMHO it's not a pretty word. But then few such ~ize formations are! They do seem to serve a need - and that's what surely counts in how language adapts?

#22772 - 03/14/01 11:34 AM Re: Are you incentified?
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
from the R+ concept (positive reinforcement)
-joe (nonplussed) friday

#22773 - 03/14/01 04:35 PM Re: Are you incentified?
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
How about bribe?

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