Does wanting to keep your job make you worse at it?

The basic economic models of employee motivation focus on how much employees are paid. But of course we know that there many other factors that impact workers’ productivity, and we also know that the relationship between reward and performance is, to be frank, a bit weird. Being paid to do things apparently makes tasks less enjoyable, and we tend to take less effort over them. After all, if you being paid to do something, if can’t possibly be much fun, can it? There is a good RSA talk by Dan Pink on this topic.

(At this point, I begin to wonder if there is something here to explain why I’m writing this blog.)

A recent addition to this area of work comes from academics at the Georgia Institute for Technology and Duke University. They looked in particular at people working in Research & Development. Unsurprisingly, those who wanted to be intellectually challenged performed well in their roles. But more interestingly, people who thought that job security was important did not perform as well at work. Perhaps they were too risk-averse and didn’t take on the projects that gave them the best opportunities to make a difference. Which is all a bit ironic really…

The full paper is here:

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3 Responses to Does wanting to keep your job make you worse at it?

  1. Pingback: Performance-related pay isn’t performing | Five Minute Economist's Blog

  2. Pingback: I should be so lucky (to get a job) | Five Minute Economist's Blog

  3. Pingback: Paid to do the Maths | Five Minute Economist's Blog

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