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The undermining effect revisited: The salience of everyday verbal rewards and self-determined motivation

The undermining effect revisited: The salience of everyday verbal rewards and self-determined motivation

Hewett, Rebecca and Conway, Neil (2015) The undermining effect revisited: The salience of everyday verbal rewards and self-determined motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37 (3). pp. 436-455. ISSN 0894-3796 (Print), 1099-1379 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2051)

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Abstract

Self-determination theory suggests that some rewards can undermine autonomous motivation and related positive outcomes. Key to this undermining is the extent to which rewards are perceived as salient in a given situation; when this is the case individuals tend to attribute their behavior to the incentive and the intrinsic value of the task is undermined. The role of salience has yet to be explicitly tested with respect to work motivation; we know little about whether undermining occurs in relation to verbal rewards, which characterize everyday work. We examine this in a field-based quantitative diary study of 58 employees reporting 287 critical incidents of motivated behavior. When considering simple direct effects, the undermining effect was not supported; highly salient verbal rewards associated positively with introjected and external motivation, but at no cost to autonomous motivation. However, moderator analysis found support for the undermining effect for complex tasks; highly salient verbal rewards associated positively with external motivation while associating negatively with intrinsic and identified motivation. The findings suggest that verbal reward salience is an important characteristic of verbal reward perceptions and that salient verbal rewards are not advisable for more complex tasks but can have a valuable motivational impact for simple tasks.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of above article and may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. FIRST published: 2 September 2015
Uncontrolled Keywords: Self-determination theory; task complexity; undermining effect; verbal rewards; diary study
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 09:16
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/13814

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