Motivating Effort in Contributing to Public Goods Inside Organizations: Field Experimental Evidence

44 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016  

Andrea Blasco

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Olivia Jung

Harvard Business School

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Michael E. Menietti

Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

We investigate the factors driving workers’ decisions to generate public goods inside an organization through a randomized solicitation of workplace improvement proposals in a medical center with 1200 employees. We find that pecuniary incentives, such as winning a prize, generate a threefold increase in participation compared to non-pecuniary incentives alone, such as prestige or recognition. Participation is also increased by a solicitation appealing to improving the workplace. However, emphasizing the patient mission of the organization led to countervailing effects on participation. Overall, these results are consistent with workers having multiple underlying motivations to contribute to public goods inside the organization consisting of a combination of pecuniary and altruistic incentives associated with the mission of the organization.

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Suggested Citation

Blasco, Andrea and Jung, Olivia and Lakhani, Karim R. and Menietti, Michael E., Motivating Effort in Contributing to Public Goods Inside Organizations: Field Experimental Evidence (April 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22189. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2769721

Andrea Blasco (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Olivia Jung

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6741 (Phone)

Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael E. Menietti

Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2607 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/mmenietti/

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