What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation
Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business
Wesley M. Cohen
Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NBER Working Paper No. w14443
We examine the impact of individual-level motives upon innovative effort and performance in firms. Drawing from economics and social psychology, we develop a model of the impact of individuals' motives and incentives upon their innovative effort and performance. Using data on over 11,000 industrial scientists and engineers (SESTAT 2003), we find that individuals' motives have significant effects upon innovative effort and performance. These effects vary significantly, however, by the particular kind of motive (e.g., desire for intellectual challenge vs. pay). We also find that intrinsic and extrinsic motives affect innovative performance even when controlling for effort, suggesting that motives affect not only the level of individual effort, but also its quality. Overall, intrinsic motives, particularly the desire for intellectual challenge, appear to benefit innovation more than extrinsic motives such as pay.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52working papers series
Date posted: October 27, 2008
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