IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/14443.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Henry Sauermann
  • Wesley M. Cohen

Abstract

We examine the impact of individual-level motives upon innovative effort and performance in firms. Drawing from economics and social psychology, we develop a model of the impact of individuals' motives and incentives upon their innovative effort and performance. Using data on over 11,000 industrial scientists and engineers (SESTAT 2003), we find that individuals' motives have significant effects upon innovative effort and performance. These effects vary significantly, however, by the particular kind of motive (e.g., desire for intellectual challenge vs. pay). We also find that intrinsic and extrinsic motives affect innovative performance even when controlling for effort, suggesting that motives affect not only the level of individual effort, but also its quality. Overall, intrinsic motives, particularly the desire for intellectual challenge, appear to benefit innovation more than extrinsic motives such as pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Sauermann & Wesley M. Cohen, 2008. "What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation," NBER Working Papers 14443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14443
    Note: PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14443.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    2. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    4. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2005. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
    5. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    6. Kevin Murdock, 2002. "Intrinsic Motivation and Optimal Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 650-671, Winter.
    7. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    8. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    9. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. William G. Ouchi, 1979. "A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(9), pages 833-848, September.
    11. N. Lacetera & L. Zirulia, 2008. "Knowledge Spillovers, Competition, and R&D Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 624, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    12. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297-297.
    13. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
    14. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    15. Schmookler, Jacob, 1962. "Economic Sources of Inventive Activity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 1-20, March.
    16. Jeffrey A. Roberts & Il-Horn Hann & Sandra A. Slaughter, 2006. "Understanding the Motivations, Participation, and Performance of Open Source Software Developers: A Longitudinal Study of the Apache Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 984-999, July.
    17. Lakhani, Karim R. & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "How open source software works: "free" user-to-user assistance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 923-943, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan T. Kolstad, 2013. "Information and Quality when Motivation is Intrinsic: Evidence from Surgeon Report Cards," NBER Working Papers 18804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ryan, James Christopher & Berbegal-Mirabent, Jasmina, 2016. "Motivational recipes and research performance: A fuzzy set analysis of the motivational profile of high performing research scientists," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5299-5304.
    3. Sachiko Kuroda & Isamu Yamamoto, 2009. "How are hours worked and wages affected by labor regulations?: The white-collar exemption and 'name-only managers' in Japan," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2009-008, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
    4. Mohamed Zennouche & Jian Zhang & Bo Wen Wang, 2014. "Factors influencing innovation at individual, group and organisational levels: a content analysis," International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 23-42.
    5. Burhop, Carsten & Lübbers, Thorsten, 2010. "Incentives and innovation? R&D management in Germany's chemical and electrical engineering industries around 1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 100-111, January.
    6. Jonathan T. Kolstad, 2013. "Information and Quality When Motivation Is Intrinsic: Evidence from Surgeon Report Cards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2875-2910, December.
    7. Claire Bonnard, 2011. "Les incitations à l'innovation dans le secteur privé," Post-Print halshs-00599700, HAL.
    8. John P. WALSH & NAGAOKA Sadao, 2009. "Who Invents?: Evidence from the Japan-U.S. inventor survey," Discussion papers 09034, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Nick Manning & Zahid Hasnain & Jan Henryk Pierskalla, 2012. "Public Sector Human Resource Practices to Drive Performance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25489, The World Bank.
    10. Cohen, Wesley M., 2010. "Fifty Years of Empirical Studies of Innovative Activity and Performance," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    11. Roach, Michael & Sauermann, Henry, 2010. "A taste for science? PhD scientists' academic orientation and self-selection into research careers in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 422-434, April.
    12. Romero-Martínez, Ana M. & Montoro-Sánchez, Ángeles & Garavito-Hernández, Youseline, 2017. "O efeito da diversidade de gênero e o nível educacional na inovação," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 57(2), April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:nbr:nberwo:14443. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.