An alternating-treatment design was used to compare the productivity of college students engaged in a card-sorting task under an individual monetary incentive system and a 10-member group monetary incentive system. In both pay conditions, subjects received a base pay plus incentives contingent upon the number of cards sorted in 20-minute sessions. In the individual incentive condition, subjects earned $0.005 for each card sorted over 400 cards. In the group incentive condition, incentives were based on the group average, with all subjects earning $0.005 for each card by which the group average exceeded 400. Subjects received feedback on their performance and the performance of other group members in both conditions. The number of cards sorted did not differ significantly under the two pay systems. Subjects reported the systems to be equally enjoyable and demanding, however, when asked which pay system they would prefer to work under in the future, high performers chose the individual incentive system, and low performers chose the group incentive system.
Honeywell, Judith A.; Dickinson, Alyce M.; and Poling, Alan
"Individual Performance as a Function of Individual and Group Pay Contingencies,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 47
, Article 6.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol47/iss2/6