Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2420965
 


 



A Field Experiment in Motivating Employee Ideas


Michael Gibbs


University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Susanne Neckermann


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Christoph Siemroth


University of Essex - Department of Economics

December 16, 2015

Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
We study the effects of a field experiment designed to motivate employee ideas, at a large technology company. Employees were encouraged to submit ideas on process and product improvements via an online system. In the experiment, the company randomized 19 account teams into treatment and control groups. Employees in treatment teams received rewards if their ideas were approved. Nothing changed for employees in control teams. Our main finding is that rewards substantially increased the quality of ideas submitted. Further, rewards increased participation in the suggestion system, but decreased the number of ideas per participating employee, with zero net effect on the total quantity of ideas. The broader participation base persisted even after the reward was discontinued, suggesting habituation. We find no evidence for motivational crowding out. Our findings suggest that rewards can improve innovation and creativity, and that there may be a tradeoff between the quantity and quality of ideas.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: Innovation, creativity, intrinsic motivation, incentives, performance measurement

JEL Classification: C93, J24, M52, O32


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Date posted: April 7, 2014 ; Last revised: July 18, 2016

Suggested Citation

Gibbs, Michael and Neckermann, Susanne and Siemroth, Christoph, A Field Experiment in Motivating Employee Ideas (December 16, 2015). Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2420965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2420965

Contact Information

Michael Gibbs (Contact Author)
University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Chicago Booth School of Business Logo

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Susanne Neckermann
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )
Christoph Siemroth
University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/csiemroth/
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