Academic Research in Action


recognition
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Recognition: The Problem and the Remedy – Active Constructive Responding

Have you ever re-read a note of praise sent to you by a respected colleague or manager? What about the ones you’ve written praising other people? Appreciation doesn’t have to be in writing – face-to-face will do the trick too – but when you commit to it in writing, or even record it in a…

workplace motivation
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Extrinsic Rewards Can Spark Intrinsic Motivation 

When confronted with the myth that extrinsic rewards crowd out intrinsic motivation, reference academic research, motivational theory, and empirical evidence to set the record straight.   In a recent interview with an industry veteran about motivating the remote workforce, we got to talking about the widespread assumption that extrinsic rewards ‘crowd out’ natural motivation among workers.…

program design
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Non-Cash Rewards in a Period of High Inflation

Non-Cash Rewards in a Period of High Inflation: Scope Sensitivity and General Evaluability Theory Firms should review and optimize their incentives and rewards programs to address the unique workforce challenges they face in 2022. Inflation in the United States has reached an annual rate of 8.5%, heights not seen since the early 1980s.[i] Though wages…

program design
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Loss Aversion and Incentive Design

Of the few dozen business books critiqued in Academic Research in Action thus far in 2022, The Voltage Effect by University of Chicago economist John A. List counts among the most insightful. List comes from the hard-nosed “Chicago School,” that includes Milton Friedman. Friedman’s free market theories underpinned economic policy under Ronald Reagan and Margaret…

Recruiting
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Signaling Theory and the Role of Incentives and Rewards in Attracting Talent

March 2022 The Covid-19 pandemic initially drove mass layoffs, vaulting the US unemployment rate to almost 15% at its peak in April 2020, the highest in more than 70 years.[1] In Covid’s continuing wake, however, the jobless rate has dropped precipitously, to just over 2% for degreed workers and 4% overall.[2] This and unprecedented churn…

workplace motivation
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Social Reinforcement and Peer Recognition Networks

February 2022 After two years of pandemic-driven disruption, many of us have become amateur students of epidemiology. The manner in which contagions diffuse – or do not – should concern leaders across every industry, but not just to combat Covid-19. The spread of social contagions will play a critical role in late-stage and post-pandemic recovery.…

mental accounting theory
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Mental Accounting Theory and the Efficacy of Non-Cash Rewards

January 2022 In 1999, behavioral economist Richard Thaler published his groundbreaking mental accounting theory. In it, Thaler describes how people tend to code and organize their money and expenses, in effect, putting different value on the same amounts of money depending on how they classify it (e.g, ‘fun’ money versus money to pay the bills).…

workplace motivation
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Incentives & Rewards in Remote and Hybrid Workforce Management

Throughout their 2020 book, Lessons from the Titans, Wall Street veterans Scott Davis, Rob Wertheimer, and Carter Copeland cite incentives as one of three prime managerial levers that signal what’s important, shape employee actions and behaviors, and build the culture: “Where the top of the organization influences culture is on actions and incentive” How much…

points
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: The Psychology of Points Reward Programs

Through much of 2021, the IRF and researchers from the University of Waterloo and the University of Central Florida collected data and conducted interviews in an exploration of the psychology behind employee points-based reward programs. These programs have proliferated inside organizations almost in tandem with their popularity in the consumer space. We analyzed survey results…

program design
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Applying Behavioral Science & Experimentation in Reward Program Design

October 2021 Behavioral science is less a discrete arena of study, and more an interdisciplinary approach to gaining a better understanding of why people do what they do – and, by extension, how to influence their thoughts, actions, and choices. Sound familiar? While the science remains ill-defined – and, for most, a little mysterious –…

program design
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Individual or Team-Based Incentives?

the important role incentive program designers have in helping firms reward and recognize workers in ways that lead to better-functioning teams.

workplace motivation
Academic Research In Action

Academic Research in Action: Social Exchange Theory

August 2021 Applied Social Exchange Theory in Social Recognition Program Design Social Exchange Theory (SET) evolved in the 1950s from early 20th century behaviorism and reinforcement theory – the notion that people act in response to positive stimuli or to avoid negative stimuli. SET extends positive and negative stimuli to include social recognition (good and…