This is an insightful sentence. Typically people see awards as only good things. However, if we look at the power dynamics behind the giving and receiving of awards, we can appreciate other perspectives. Let me offer two insights.
First, the person who gives an award has power. So, if he or she gives an award to someone and not another, then he or she is making a point. Through this action, he or she can harm or offend some people, if they feel slighted or reinforce good relationships, if they feel deserving and acknowledged. Hence, we can see that the giving of awards can be an instrument of offence and defense.
Second, awards can also create incentives and competition. When a person exploits this aspect, then it can be a instrument to create productivity.
In short, there are power dynamics behind awards and this fact makes it a powerful tool.