IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/joepsy/v33y2012i6p1247-1265.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rewarding carrots and crippling sticks: Eliciting employee preferences for the optimal incentive design

Author

Listed:
  • Pouliakas, Konstantinos
  • Theodossiou, Ioannis

Abstract

The effectiveness of conventional firm-specific incentive tools is assessed based on the perceptions of a unique sample of employees from seven European countries. A ‘menu’ of conditions likely to elicit optimal worker response to specific incentives is also revealed. The results suggest that the primary determinant of employee effort is job discretion, though monetary rewards and ‘gift exchanges’ are the most effective motivators. Monitoring and Taylor-type assembly lines are considered unproductive. The optimal incentive design by firms is shown to be shaped by a host of contextual factors and requires a “participative” management approach to achieve its maximal motivational potential.

Suggested Citation

  • Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2012. "Rewarding carrots and crippling sticks: Eliciting employee preferences for the optimal incentive design," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1247-1265.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:6:p:1247-1265
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2012.08.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016748701200092X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
    2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    3. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 2000. "Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 353-376, July.
    4. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    5. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 592-612, March.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
    7. Mark B. Stewart, 2004. "Semi-nonparametric estimation of extended ordered probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(1), pages 27-39, March.
    8. Agell, Susanne Ackum, 1994. "Swedish evidence on the efficiency wage hypothesis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 129-150, March.
    9. Kristensen, Nicolai & Johansson, Edvard, 2008. "New evidence on cross-country differences in job satisfaction using anchoring vignettes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 96-117, February.
    10. W.D. McCausland & K. Pouliakas & I. Theodossiou, 2005. "Some are Punished and Some are Rewarded: A Study of the Impact of Performance Pay on Job Satisfaction," Labor and Demography 0505019, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. 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.
    12. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, "undated". "Distrust - The Hidden Cost of Control," IEW - Working Papers 193, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    13. Baker, George P & Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1988. " Compensation and Incentives: Practice vs. Theory," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 593-616, July.
    14. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    15. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
    16. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    17. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
    18. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-817, August.
    19. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    20. repec:ags:stataj:116207 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Confronting Objections to Performance Pay: A Study of the Impact of Individual and Gain-sharing Incentives on the Job Satisfaction of British Employees," MPRA Paper 14244, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    23. French, Stephen & Kubo, Katsuyuki & Marsden, David, 2001. "Does performance pay de-motivate, and does it matter?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3637, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    24. Anders Frederiksen & Elod Takats, 2004. "Optimal incentive mix of performance pay and efficiency wage," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0418, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    25. Konstantinos Pouliakas, 2010. "Pay Enough, Don't Pay Too Much or Don't Pay at All? The Impact of Bonus Intensity on Job Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 597-626, November.
    26. Robert Drago & John S. Heywood, 1994. "The Choice of Payment Schemes: Australian Establishment Data," Labor and Demography 9402001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 04 Feb 1994.
    27. Chiang, Flora F.T. & Birtch, Thomas A., 2005. "A taxonomy of reward preference: Examining country differences," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 357-375, September.
    28. Charles Brown, 1990. "Firms' Choice of Method of Pay," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 165-1-182-, April.
    29. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1999. "Earnings, Productivity, and Performance-Related Pay," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 447-463, July.
    30. Konstantinos Pouliakas & Ioannis Theodossiou, 2010. "Measuring the Utility Cost of Temporary Employment Contracts Before Adaptation: A Conjoint Analysis Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 688-709, October.
    31. Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 844, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    32. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    33. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    34. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    35. Gallant, A Ronald & Nychka, Douglas W, 1987. "Semi-nonparametric Maximum Likelihood Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 363-390, March.
    36. Illoong Kwon, 2005. "Threat of Dismissal: Incentive or Sorting?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 797-838, October.
    37. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
    38. Goldin, Claudia, 1986. "Monitoring Costs and Occupational Segregation by Sex: A Historical Analysis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-27, January.
    39. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
    40. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:177-242 is not listed on IDEAS
    41. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1993. "The Revenge of Homo Economicus: Contested Exchange and the Revival of Political Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, Winter.
    42. Beggs, S. & Cardell, S. & Hausman, J., 1981. "Assessing the potential demand for electric cars," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, September.
    43. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    44. repec:nsr:niesrd:319 is not listed on IDEAS
    45. Frey, Bruno S., 1993. "Shirking or work morale? : The impact of regulating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1523-1532, December.
    46. Colin Green & John S. Heywood, 2008. "Does Performance Pay Increase Job Satisfaction?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 710-728, November.
    47. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/071, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    48. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-364, May.
    49. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    2240; 2430; 2630; 2650; Incentives; Effectiveness; Effort; Attitudes; Employees;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:6:p:1247-1265. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.