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Money: The Great Demotivator?

If you got a big raise, you'd perform even better at your job, right? Wrong, suggests recent research. In fact, more money might actually cause your work performance to decline. Before you hide this post from your boss, let's look at the facts.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, compiled a few recent studies over at HBR blog network, with the goal of determining, once and for all, whether money makes us perform better at work.

The first research he examined, a meta-analysis in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, showed that there was a less than 2 percent overlap between pay and job satisfaction. A Gallup poll from 2011 bore out these findings, with income levels making no significant difference in employee engagement.

More damning to our hopes for a raise are the two studies that follow, which show that extrinsic rewards (e.g. cash, candy, free tickets to the sporting event of your choice) actually make people perform less well.

What does boost performance? Intrinsic motivation -- in other words, interest, passion, and commitment separate from compensation. Which is not to say that we don't need money.

"Of course, that doesn't mean that we should work for free," Chamorro-Premuzic writes. "We all need to pay our bills and provide for our families -- but once these basic needs are covered the psychological benefits of money are questionable."

Tell Us What You Think

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(Photo Credit: Materials Aart/Flickr)

1 Comment

  1. 1 Pete 18 May

    i am sure Mr Professor stuggles to pay his bills! while living in a studio apartment with his wife , mother , and 4 kids.. loving each day pushing a trolley of groceries the 10 miles home because he doesn't want to own any form of transport... 

    we all want better lives , to be able to afford a better form of living... and have our kids have oppertunities, better then what we had.. he should really rethink his research ...

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