Lunchtime Links: Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad, Too
Why monetary motivation causes productivity deviation. Also: one inventive expert's insight into road bumps that impede innovation.
Offering a bonus can make employees more dedicated to a project, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing.
So says The Build Network’s Adam Vaccaro, referencing the results of a psychological study from Radboud University in the Netherlands. It found that participants whose brains normally had a high level of dopamine—the chemical that stimulates reward-seeking behavior—proved less skilled at accomplishing a designated analytical task when they were promised a bigger reward than did those who were offered a smaller one.
While Vaccaro says the research exposes a noteworthy characteristic, he points out that the study wasn’t conducted in a work environment.
“[E]ven if it was in a business atmosphere, and even if you knew all your employees had high dopamine levels, the task itself was still the sort of deadline-driven work that required a very specific solution,” he writes. “So the findings might not be applicable to more collaborative, open-ended, left-brain sort of work.”
Still, Vaccaro says, the study makes an intriguing finding on how rewards don’t always equal a greater work performance.
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