What is Kudos?

Smartpedia: Kudos is an expression that is spreading across the Internet and increasingly entering common usage, and stands for appreciation, praise and respect.

Kudos – appreciation, praise or respect in one short word

Language is alive and communication is important for social interaction and success in organisations and developments. Kudos is evidence of this linguistic vitality. Originating in Greek and standing for glory or honor, today it means appreciation, praise, respect, or even gratitude. It is a colloquial “Kudos”¹, a recognition of an achievement or result.

According to its form, Kudos is a Greek noun in the singular, but the final -s is often misunderstood as a plural suffix, which leads to the incorrect reversion to Kudo.² This can be observed in the increasing demand for Kudo Cards, which should be called Kudos Cards according to the word’s origin. But: Language is alive.

Kudos and Likes – siblings in spirit

It’s hard to imagine communication on the Internet without the vaunted Like button. A Like expresses approval of something such as an action, a result, a product or service, a message, an opinion, etc. Kudos and Likes are siblings in spirit and some websites now offer Kudos instead of Likes.

Small differences between the two means of expression exist at best in the use of “Kudos” as a term in written comments or as a verbal exclamation – similar to the French “Chapeau”:

  • Kudos for your remarks. Easy to follow and neatly researched.
  • The choice of authors in your blog is top-notch. Kudos!

However, examples of the use of Likes can be found:

  • Please leave a Like if you enjoyed the video!
  • Do I get a Like for the action from you?

Ergo: Language and communication change continuously.

Feedback via Kudos Cards

Kudos Cards – sometimes called Appreciation Cards or Praise Cards – are an easy way to express appreciation among colleagues and employees. Words of thanks, praise and appreciation are recorded on cards and shared in a place visible to all team members – a bulletin board, community room, etc.. Collecting the cards in a Kudos Box is also relatively common in organisations.

Some publications recommend combining them with additional tokens of appreciation (flowers, movie tickets) or publicly presenting the written appreciation at lunch, for example; in practice, however, opinions vary as to whether this is really appropriate.

Templates for purchase or self-printing can be found relatively easily on the Internet. Alternatively, there are organisations that forgo the use of cards and instead use plastic gold coins and express mutual appreciation by exchanging or passing the coins. Here, organisations should simply try out what works well for them.

    Kudos - appreciation, praise or respect in one short word

    Impulse to discuss:

    Feedback culture is often called for in agile organisations. Can this be permanently promoted in an organisation through the use of cards?


    [1] dict.cc
    [2] Online Etymology Dictionary

    The term Kudos is also used as a brand name, computer game, music album or fictional value system in a science fiction novel. You can find more information here.

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