Goal Setting and Monetary Incentives: When Large Stakes Are Not Enough
AbstractThe aim of this paper is to test the effectiveness of wage-irrelevant goal setting policies in a laboratory environment. In our design, managers can assign a goal to their workers by setting a certain level of performance on the work task. To establish our theoretical conjectures we develop a model where assigned goals act as reference points to workers’ intrinsic motivation, creating a sense of gain when attained and a sense of loss when not attained. Consistent with our theoretical framework, we find evidence that managers set goals that are challenging but attainable for an average-ability worker. Workers respond to these goals by increasing effort, performance and by decreasing on-the-job leisure activities with respect to the no-goal setting baseline. We study the interaction between goal setting and monetary rewards by considering different values for the monetary incentives involved in completing the task. Interestingly, we find that goal setting is especially effective when monetary incentives are strong. These results suggest that goal setting may foster workers’ intrinsic motivation and increase their level of performance beyond what is achieved using solely monetary incentives.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-24.
Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Intrinsic motivation; incentives; goal-setting; reference dependent preferences; virtual organizations.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-11-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2012-11-17 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2012-11-17 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HRM-2012-11-17 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2012-11-17 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lei, V. & Noussair, C. & Plott, C.R., 1998.
"Non-Speculative Bubbles in Experimental Asset Markets: Lack of Common Knowledge of Rationality Vs. Actual Irrationality,"
Purdue University Economics Working Papers
1120, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- Lei, Vivian & Noussair, Charles N & Plott, Charles R, 2001. "Nonspeculative Bubbles in Experimental Asset Markets: Lack of Common Knowledge of Rationality vs. Actual Irrationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 831-59, July.
- Noussair, C.N. & Lei , V. & Plott, C., 2001. "Non-speculative bubbles in experimental asset markets: Lack of common knowledge of rationality vs. actual irrationality," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-381105, Tilburg University.
- Pokorny, Kathrin, 2008. "Pay--but do not pay too much: An experimental study on the impact of incentives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 251-264, May.
- Bjorn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Michel Andre Marechal & Daniel Schunk, 2009. "Egalitarianism and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 93-98, May.
- Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
- Dickinson, David L, 1999. "An Experimental Examination of Labor Supply and Work Intensities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 638-70, October.
- Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005.
"Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?,"
NBER Working Papers
11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
- Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Gneezy, U. & Rustichini, A., 1998.
"Pay Enough - Or Don't Pay at All,"
1998-57, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2005.
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/9543, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993.
"Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997.
"Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
- Kevin Murdock, 2002. "Intrinsic Motivation and Optimal Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 650-671, Winter.
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003.
"Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Stephen Rassenti, 2011. "Real Effort, Real Leisure and Real-time Supervision: Incentives and Peer Pressure in Virtual Organizations," Working Papers 11-05, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
- Gómez-Miñambres, Joaquín, 2012. "Motivation through goal setting," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1223-1239.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Megan Luetje).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.