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. Gordon Henry


The present study examined the performance levels of high performers under equally-divided group monetary incentives, individual monetary incentives, and hourly pay to determine: (a) whether the performance levels of high performers would be higher under individual and group incentive pay systems than under an hourly pay system, (b) whether the performance of high performers would be lower under group incentives than under individual incentives, and (c) whether changes in performance would be due to comparative feedback indicating that the participant is a high performer. Participants were eleven college students who performed a computerized work task that simulated the job of a bank proof operator. The primary dependent variables were the number of checks processed correctly, the percent correct, the rate of performance, and the time spent on task. An ABCDC within-subject reversal design was used, where A = hourly pay with individual feedback, B = individual incentives with individual feedback, C = individual incentives with individual and group feedback, and D =group incentives with individual and group feedback. The results of the current study indicate that high performers increase their performance when paid monetary incentives as compared to hourly pay. The results also indicate that high performers, when paid group monetary incentives, may or may not decrease their performance. Six of the 11 participants decreased their performance when exposed to the group monetary incentive condition. Those participants who did decrease their performance did not appear to do so because they were made aware of the fact that they were high performers in the group. The majority of participants found the group incentive pay system to be the most stressful, least satisfying, and least preferred of the three pay systems. Therefore, although many of the participants performed comparably under the individual and group incentive conditions, they indicated that they found the group incentive condition less desirable. This suggests that while performance differences may not occur when high performers are paid group monetary incentives, businesses may still want to exercise caution when deciding whether to use such a pay system.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access