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Rewarding Carrots & Crippling Sticks: Eliciting Employee Preferences for the Optimal Incentive Mix in Europe

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  • Pouliakas, Konstantinos
  • Theodossiou, Ioannis

Abstract

A ranking of a variety of incentive devices used by firms according to their perceived effectiveness by employees is identified. The determinants of employee incentive preferences are also investigated, suggesting a ‘menu’ of conditions under which an organization’s personnel policies will have maximum motivational impact on its workforce. Based on the beliefs of a unique sample of workers from seven European countries, the results suggest that (a) the primary determinant of the level of employee effort is the amount of discretion offered at work; (b) pay incentives and ‘gift exchanges’ are the most important motivators; (c) the use of monitoring and Taylor-type assembly lines are the least effective incentives; and (d) the optimal design of incentive strategies by firms is strongly shaped by a host of contextual factors. The expressed desire for autonomy, and distaste for control, by employees gives credibility to the “participative” management approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Rewarding Carrots & Crippling Sticks: Eliciting Employee Preferences for the Optimal Incentive Mix in Europe," MPRA Paper 14167, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14167
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incentives; effectiveness; effort; attitudes; employees;

    JEL classification:

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

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