Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. John Austin

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley E. Huitema

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Maria M. Malott


The current study examined how individual monetary incentives with individual feedback and group monetary incentives with group feedback affected the performance of high performers across multiple sessions using 10-person simulated groups. The primary objectives of the study were to examine the effects of individual and group monetary incentives on the performance and satisfaction of high performers. Participants consisted of 11 keyboard proficient college students who performed a computerized data entry task modeled after the job of a bank proof operator. A within-subject ABCB reversal design was used. Each participant was exposed to the following pay and feedback conditions: hourly pay with individual feedback (A), individual incentives with individual feedback (B) and group incentives with group feedback (C). The dependent variables consisted of the total number of checks processed correctly per session, the percentage of checks processed correctly per session, the amount of time spent performing the check task, and participant satisfaction with the three pay systems.

The majority of participants (9 of 11) increased their performance during the first individual incentive phase as compared to the hourly pay phase. Of these, seven decreased their performance when paid group monetary incentives. Furthermore, six of the seven increased their performance when reversed to the final individual incentive phase. The results suggest that high performers are likely to perform better under individual than group incentive pay.

The majority of participants found the individual incentive pay to be the most preferred (6 of 11) and most satisfying (6 of 11), and the group incentive pay to be the least preferred (7 of 11), least satisfying (9 of 11), and most stressful (7 of 10) of the three pay systems. These data suggest that in organizations where high performers exist an individual monetary incentive system may be a better choice than a group monetary incentive system in terms of employee satisfaction and performance.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons