AOB Elements





The ‘carrot and stick' approach has been ingrained in human relationships since time immemorial. In the past half-century or so, however, there has been a growing consciousness of the degree to which behaviour can be controlled by  ‘carrot and stick' methods.  Pavlov's famous experiments with dogs probably mark the point at which their purposeful use as a technique began to be considered on a significant scale.  Some of the applications were for therapeutic purposes  e.g. operant conditioning of autistic children but others found their way into management practices.

Fred Herzberg, in his paper "One more time; how do you motivate employees?" (Harvard Business Review 1968), described the ‘carrot and stick' approach in terms of ‘KITA', which signifies ‘Kick in The Arse'.  He pointed out that nowadays KITA are psychological rather than physical and that of these the negative  type (corresponding to the ‘stick'), is the most advantageous, for example because the person administering it can appear to be above it all and the employee has no tangible evidence of actual attack.


The term ‘KITA', though humorous, is unnecessarily vulgar and moreover not particularly apt. How can a non-physical KITA be delivered?  How can a caress, inducement or other encouraging act be identified by the term ‘positive Kick In The Arse'?  Why ‘Arse' when physical assault can be anywhere - and psychological stimuli are to the mind anyway?

Instead of  KITA, it is preferable to describe the two basic elements as:-

PEPS - Positive [Encouraging] Psychological Stimuli.

NIPS   - Negative [Intimidating] Psychological Stimuli.

Single elements are called:


PEP with the notation




NIP with the notation



Assemblies of these elements may be referred to as PEP-NIP systems.

This paper does not deal with the single or multiple delivery of random or unplanned NIPS and PEPS which are endemic in human interactions.  Along with the consciousness of the PEP-NIP model there has developed a systems approach to the use of PEPS and NIPS,  in which positive and negative stimuli are combined in a pattern designed to determine or influence behaviour..  These have found their use in, for example, negotiation, marketing and career development.

A convenient model of the use of PEPS and NIPS is one in which ‘the target' - the person being controlled - is regarded as negatively charged.  Positive and negative signals may be applied to attract or repel and thus move ‘the target' as required.  This analogy is much more useful than the conventional "carrot, stick and donkey" model; the increasing sophistry of electronic devices and circuits has its counterpart in the growing complexity of NIP and PEP dispensing systems. The action of a series of positive and negative signals on the negatively charged electron causes a spot of light to move in intricate patterns on the screen of a cathode ray tube;  similarly, a system of NIPS and PEPS can make a target person dance to whatever tune may be required - providing of course that person behaves like a ‘thing'.


Six varieties of PEP-NIP systems have been identified in management practice and in literature.  These are summarised in:

A starter note is also attached on:

My first publications on PEP-NIP Systems was in the Harpenden Parish Magazine issues of December 1970 to February 1971, under the pen-name of Theo E. Klinal.  The name was based on a logic-free anagram of ‘Clinical Theology', a psychological ‘movement' which was strong within the Church at that time.  The papers are attached:



AOB Elements