Make your own free website on
Incentives/ Payoffs
What motivates the men of Recon Platoon, 3 SIR to do the things they do? How do they keep going when subjected to long hours of work stress?

Being enlisted personnel in the SAF, the scouts of Recon Platoon, 3 SIR are given token allowances for national service. The average reconnaissance trooper earns slightly more than the infantry rifle-man, given that they are specialised troopers and hold at least the rank of corporal. Nevertheless, the men do not generally consider the national service allowance given incentive enough to motivate them in work.One trooper gives his comments:

It's not as though it's a lot of money; I could easily spend one month's NS pay in one night pubbing along Boat Quay...
Well, if money's not a big motivator, what is?

The reconnaissance platoon is generally regarded as an elite platoon by both officers and men in 3 SIR. Membership to this elite sub-unit in the regiment does not come easy -- potential reconnaissance troopers are subjected to ardous screening processes to even qualify for the basic Infantry Reconnaissance Troopers Course at the School of Military Intelligence (SMI). This "exclusive membership" results in swelled egos: the men of Recon Platoon 3 SIR mark themselves off as the true specialists in the regiment and regard themselves second to none.

Being the "elite" of the battalion requires the troopers to prove themselves from time to time that they are indeed fitter and better able to do their jobs compared to the average infantry trooper. In military exercises, the men from Recon. Platoon, 3SIR proved themselves to be proficient in their tasks, being able to provide information to an accuracy of close to 90-95% based on evaluation standards set by the Army Training Evaluation Centre (ATEC).  In sports and physical fitness tests, the scouts proved once again that they are a team to be reckoned with-- almost all of them received the Gold Award in the SAF's physical fitness tests, the rest receiving the Silver Award. Even in friendly matches in soccer, and rugby against the other rifle platoons in the battalion, the scouts were able to out-perform their opponents; the platoon was beaten only in basketball, a sport which not many of them played.

Good records in training exercises and sports led the men from the scout platoon to believe that they were truly "one up" above the rest of the rifle platoons. These results ,in turn, serve as motivators leading to desires to better performances as many of the scouts feel they have a reputation to uphold.

An unwritten code of conduct also exists in the scout platoon: being part of the platoon doesn't necessarily mean you are automatically accepted by your peers in the platoon; your position and place in the platoon has to be earned:

                       Making it into the [scout] platoon isn't easy-- keeping your place is even harder. You are constantly
                       being evaluated, not only by the other officers and men from the other platoons, but also by your own
                       platoon mates...
                                                                                                                         [ Team Signaler, Recon Team 5 ]

Furthermore, the platoon believes in sharing both rewards and punishments. As the Team Commander of Recon Team 2 puts it:

...Either you do well and everyone gets a break, or you screw up and we all get ****** together.
The men of Recon Platoon, 3SIR are, if anything, very proud young men (some might call them egomaniacs) and they generally feel that an individual has to earn his place in the platoon by proving his abilities as both a trooper and a team member. The  platoon  basically  functions  like  the  machine shop and shop floor described by Roy and Burawoy: each
[ trooper ] attempts to achieve a certain level of "production" that earns an incentive "pay"-- pay here pertaining more to informal rewards than cash incentives.These informal rewards range from getting to go on leave and off-passes to the more psychological incentives like gaining the respect and recognition of your fellow platoon-mates.

For any national serviceman, taking time off or going on leave is a BIG incentive to working harder. Any commander could tell you quite frankly that the slightest hint of having a couple of days away from camp is enough to get any soldier "working his butt off". Even if you don't get a full day off, having a "nights-off" with a couple of friends in town is equally a good motivator.

In addition to incentives, a system of punishment also exists as a disincentive to lower levels of "production". Punishment in the Armed Forces can range from lectures by higher commanders to the much-dreaded "extras"--extra guard or ordinace duties. Within the platoon itself, an informal system of punishments exist. More of this would be discussed under internal relationships.