|Corporate executives, car dealers, and politicians often cite the need to incentivize people to act in certain ways. They may want salespeople to work harder, customers to be more eager to spend, or businesses to take more risks. Incentivize has been motivating people since the mid-1970s?the more informal incent came along about 10 years later. Both words mean the same thing, ?to give an incentive to? or ?provide a motivation for.? Usually the incentive is in the form of a material reward?a bonus, rebate, or tax break. But although these two verbs are popular with business leaders, they curry little favor with the Usage Panel, which sees them as trendy jargon. Ninety-four percent of the panel rejects incentivize in the sentence He?s the leader of this organization, and he?s got to have the whole team of people incentivized to improve shareholder value. Ninety-six percent reject incent in The management incented the employees to improve the shareholder value of the company. Panelists suggest motivate, encourage, and give incentives to as alternatives.
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