The Psychological Record

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 83–93 | Cite as

Effects of Different Incentive Distribution Methods on Work Performance and Satisfaction in Small Groups: a Simulation Study

  • Shezeen Oah
  • DaHee Shon
  • Kwangsu MoonEmail author
Original Article


This study examined the relative effects of different monetary incentive distribution methods on work performance and satisfaction in small groups. Three types of incentive plans were compared: individual incentives, equally distributed group incentives (EG), and differentially distributed group incentives (DG). Four participants performed a simulated work task for 21 four-hour sessions. An alternating treatment design was adopted, and three experimental conditions randomly alternated for each session. The main dependent variables were the number of correctly completed work tasks and amount of off-task time. Results indicated that performance under DG was higher than that of EG and the individual incentives condition. However, the EG and individual incentive conditions had the similar levels of performance. The amount of off-task time was higher in the EG condition than in the other two conditions. In addition, the error rates did not differ across the three incentive conditions, whereas satisfaction and fairness ratings were the highest for individual incentives. Finally, implications for researchers and practitioners, along with limitations of the study, are discussed.


Group incentives Individual incentives Pay satisfaction Work performance 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChung-Ang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Teachers College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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