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The relative effectiveness of incentive motivators: A field experiment with comparison between Korean and *American samples

Shanggeun Rhee, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In the past, research has focused on the general question of whether or not incentive motivators administered by organizational behavior modification (O.B. Mod.) are effective in improving work performance with U.S. samples. This study is the first attempt to extend the applicability of the O.B. Mod. technique outside the U.S. Specifically, this study experimentally examines relative effects of incentive motivators (i.e., money, social recognition, and performance feedback) administered by the O.B. Mod. technique in a Korean setting. In addition, this study compares the differential effects of incentive motivators found in the Korean study with those found in an earlier U.S. setting using a similar design and analysis. ^ A sample of 133 employees in 4 service units of a large broadband Internet service provider in Korea participated in this study. For the field experiment interventions, the unit supervisors were trained in the O.B. Mod. approach to administering the three incentive motivators. Findings indicate that social recognition and money were significant motivators in improving service quality, a performance measure. When the number of calls received was used as a performance measure, social recognition and feedback had a significant impact. The highest performance improvement was found in the group that was administered the social recognition, followed by money and performance feedback. The magnitude of the effect of each incentive motivator, however, was not as strong as that found in the U.S. sample. ^ These results not only replicate previous research findings on the effectiveness of incentive motivators administered through O.B. Mod. in U.S. studies, but also extend applicability of O.B. Mod. and the use of money, social recognition, and performance feedback cross-culturally. Such findings have important implications for global human resource management and competitive advantage. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Rhee, Shanggeun, "The relative effectiveness of incentive motivators: A field experiment with comparison between Korean and *American samples" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3104625.