Date of Award

8-1989

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. John Nangle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Because studies that examine factors that affect worker preference for different pay systems are difficult to conduct in the workplace, the feasibility of using a laboratory simulation was assessed. The dependent variable was subject choice of the percentage of incentive pay to total pay. The independent variable was the percentage of monthly expenses to monthly income. The higher the incentive percentage the greater the potential earnings, but the greater the variability of pay and the probability that subjects would be unable to pay expenses. Work performance was simulated by the roll of a die. Thirty college students worked in groups of three. Ten groups were exposed to five different expense sequences.

Most subjects displayed sensitivity to the expense manipulations, and eighteen responded consistently to their systematic manipulation. While the generality of the results to a real environment was not assessed, the fact that the independent variable controlled responding is encouraging.

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