When you finish something big at work that gets recognized by the top brass you're not recognized for doing the work. Your boss's boss is given the full amount of kudos and they in turn give a reduced amount of kudos to your immediate boss. By the time you get recognized there are only one or two kudos left.
"Jack suffered the full loss of the kudo trickle down theory after slaving on that project for six months. He got the last remaining kudo left. What a shame."
"Stacy only got a pat on the back from the remains of the kudo trickle down theory. All that work for one kudo."