IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/zewdip/14096.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A field experiment in motivating employee ideas

Author

Listed:
  • Gibbs, Michael
  • Neckermann, Susanne
  • Siemroth, Christoph

Abstract

We study the effects of a field experiment designed to motivate employee ideas, at a large technology company. Employees were encouraged to submit ideas on process and product improvements via an online system. In the experiment, the company randomized 19 account teams into treatment and control groups. Employees in treatment teams received rewards if their ideas were approved. Nothing changed for employees in control teams. Our main finding is that rewards substantially increased the quality of ideas submitted. Further, rewards increased participation in the suggestion system, but decreased the number of ideas per participating employee, with zero net effect on the total quantity of ideas. The broader participation base persisted even after the reward was discontinued, suggesting habituation. We find no evidence for motivational crowding out. Our findings suggest that rewards can improve innovation and creativity, and that there may be a tradeoff between the quantity and quality of ideas.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibbs, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne & Siemroth, Christoph, 2014. "A field experiment in motivating employee ideas," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-096, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:14096
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/103746/1/803512228.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    2. Florian Ederer & Gustavo Manso, 2013. "Is Pay for Performance Detrimental to Innovation?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(7), pages 1496-1513, July.
    3. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 527-554, September.
    4. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    5. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    6. Katharina Eckartz & Oliver Kirchkamp & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "How do Incentives affect Creativity?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-068, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    7. Charness, Gary & Grieco, Daniela, 2013. "Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4mr6p1d5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    8. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    9. Olivier Toubia, 2006. "Idea Generation, Creativity, and Incentives," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 411-425, September.
    10. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    11. Henry Sauermann & Wesley M. Cohen, 2010. "What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(12), pages 2134-2153, December.
    12. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    13. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009. "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
    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. Englmaier, Florian & Grimm, Stefan & Schindler, David & Schudy, Simeon, 2018. "The Effect of Incentives in Non-Routine Analytical Team Tasks - Evidence From a Field Experiment," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 71, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Gosnell, Greer & Metcalfe, Robert & List, John A, 2016. "A new approach to an age-old problem: solving externalities by incenting workers directly," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84331, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Andrea Blasco & Olivia S. Jung & Karim R. Lakhani & Michael Menietti, 2016. "Motivating Effort In Contributing to Public Goods Inside Organizations: Field Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 22189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:eee:jbvent:v:34:y:2019:i:2:p:224-241 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Manthei, Kathrin & Sliwka, Dirk & Vogelsang, Timo, 2018. "Performance Pay and Prior Learning: Evidence from a Retail Chain," IZA Discussion Papers 11859, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • 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:zbw:zewdip:14096. 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: (ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/zemande.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.