Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ray Cool

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brad Huitema


This study further investigated the use of a computer simulation to assess subject preference for different types of pay systems. Subjects were eight undergraduates recruited from psychology classes at Western Michigan University. The dependent variable was the subjects’ choice of pay system, either simulated hourly pay or base pay plus incentive. Simulated work performance was determined by the computer with 0.50 probability of low or high performance. For Experiment 1, the independent variable was the maximum amount of simulated pay that subjects could earn under each pay type. For Experiments 2 and 3, the independent variable was the percentage of simulated expenses relative to total expected simulated pay. The simulated expense conditions were 85% and 95% of total pay for Experiment 2 and 50% and 100% of total pay for Experiment 3. Every four simulated weeks, subjects paid simulated expenses. There were four phases for each session. The adequacy of the simulation was assessed by examining the stability of subjects’ choices. The manipulation of simulated pay amounts controlled subjects’ responding in Experiment 1, with all subjects selecting the pay type with the greater payoff. The simulated expense conditions in Experiments 2 and 3 did not control subjects’ responses. These data suggest that overall, subjects did not prefer one pay type over the other.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Richard Malott

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access