Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Heather M. McGee

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley E. Huitema

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sigurdur O. Sigurdsson


Social comparison, goal-setting, feedback, fixed pay, hourly pay, incentive pay


The purpose of the study was to compare the effects of graphic social comparison feedback (SCF) with tiered goals under both fixed pay and incentive pay. Graphic SCF that displays the individual performance of each group member was found to be the most effective type of graphic feedback in two relatively recent studies (Einarsson, 2016; VanStelle, 2012). The effectiveness of SCF may be due to the fact that the performances of peers serve as sub-goals for each individual, essentially setting up individualized ability-based goals. Currently, it is unclear whether the normative component of SCF contributes to its effectiveness. Rather, similar effects might occur when individuals are given non-normative tiered goals and provided with private, individualized feedback. A 2 x 2 factorial design was used with the following four experimental conditions: (a) goal-setting with fixed pay, (b) goal-setting with incentive pay, (c) SCF with fixed pay, and (d) SCF with incentive pay. Results were based on 64 undergraduate student participants who were randomly assigned to each experimental condition. Each attended a covariate session and three experimental sessions. Sessions were 45 minutes. Participants performed a computerized task that simulates the job of a data entry clerk. The main dependent variable was the number of correctly completed records. A two-factor ANCOVA was used to analyze the differences among the groups. Statistically significant differences were found on factor A and B. The incentive pay conditions performed significantly better than the fixed pay conditions and the SCF conditions performed significantly better than the goal-setting conditions. No significant interaction effect was detected. This study contributed to the feedback literature by comparing the effects of two types of graphic feedback: graphic feedback based on normative standards and graphic feedback based on goals. The component analysis showed that these two types of feedback, although structurally similar, can affect performance differently. In turn, this suggests that the underlying behavioral mechanisms of the two types of feedback are different.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons