The impact incentive types on organisational performance in anglo cultures: a reply to Drake, Haka and Ravenscroft (1999)

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Conference Proceeding
2008 AFAANZ/IAAER Conference website papers, 2008, pp. 1 - 48
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Experimental research suffers from biases introduced by experiment design choices, such as the choice of alternative incentive and reward structures. We propose that framing rewards in a broader typology when researchers make decision about which reward structures to use in an experiment will minimise the potential for a false choice bias. To highlight this problem we replicate Drake, Haka and Ravenscrofts (1999) incentive structure experiment using a simpler, more theory driven design. Drake et al (1999) propose that organisational performance maybe be better if group compensation is given in preference to individualistic compensation, within the context of an information rich environment (using activity based costing). In particular, Drake et al (1999) apply an experimental research design to test that proposition using U.S. MBA students. Their results suggest that, ceteris paribus, given a group in preference to an individualistic incentive scheme, innovation, efficiency and profitability may improve. We argue that this conclusion is inconsistent with the incentive structure choices faced by managers, the societal values of the U.S., culture and agency theories in general. A possible explanation for Drake et als (1999) result is the use of a tournament incentive scheme as the basis for individual compensation. As such, we replicate the Drake et al (1999) experiment using Australian university students and an individual profit incentive scheme as the basis for individual compensation. Our results, in contrast to Drake et al. (1999), indicate that given an individual in preference to group incentive scheme, task performance improves in an information rich environment. This experiment highlights the false choice bias that reduces the generalizability of experimental research in general and highlights the value of propositions couched in a broader reward typology.
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