Olafsen, A., Halvari, H., Forest, J. & Deci, E. (2015). Show them the money? The role of pay, managerial need support, and justice in a self-determination theory model of intrinsic work motivation. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology,56(4), 447-457. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12211
The link between money and motivation has been a debated topic for decades, especially in work organizations. However, field studies investigating the amount of pay in relation to employee motivation is lacking and there have been calls for empirical studies addressing compensation systems and motivation in the work domain. The purpose of this study was to examine outcomes associated with the amount of pay, and perceived distributive and procedural justice regarding pay in relation to those for perceived managerial need support. Participants were 166 bank employees who also reported on their basic psychological need satisfaction and intrinsic work motivation. SEM-analyses tested a self-determination theory (SDT) model, with satisfaction of the competence and autonomy needs as an intervening variable. The primary findings were that amount of pay and employees' perceived distributive justice regarding their pay were unrelated to employees' need satisfaction and intrinsic work motivation, but procedural justice regarding pay did affect these variables. However, managerial need support was the most important factor for promoting need satisfaction and intrinsic work motivation both directly, indirectly, and as a moderator in the model. Hence, the results of the present organizational field study support earlier laboratory experiments within the SDT framework showing that monetary rewards did not enhance intrinsic motivation. This seems to have profound implications for organizations concerned about motivating their employees.
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