Publication type: Conference other
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Title: The effects of individualizing incentives on collaboration and task choice in scientific teams
Authors: Burtscher, Michael Josef
Hüffmeier, Joachim
et. al: No
Conference details: 17th Conference of the Swiss Psychological Society, Zurich, Switzerland, 4-6 September 2022
Issue Date: Sep-2022
Language: English
Subjects: Team; Scientific team; Incentive; Team formation
Subject (DDC): 158: Applied psychology
658.402: Internal organization
Abstract: Teams have become the prevalent form of work organization in science. Yet, despite its benefits, scientific teamwork is discouraged by several organizational policies. The current study focusses on one such policy, i.e., individualizing incentives. In two studies – a pilot field study and an experiment – we investigated the effects of individualizing incentives on the decision to collaborate and on task choice. In a pilot study, an analysis of publication data indicates that articles from faculties that used individualizing incentives had fewer co-authors and lower impact factors. In the main study, we invited 246 participants in groups of 5-6 persons and asked them to work on several intellectual tasks of varying difficulty. Participants were free to work on their own or in a team and to choose their tasks. Our design had three conditions: 1) In the “pro collaboration”-condition, participants received identical cash prizes regardless of whether a task was completed alone or in a team; 2) in the “individualizing incentives”-condition, cash prizes for completed tasks were divided by the number of persons involved; and 3) in the control condition, participants received a lump sum. In the “individualizing incentives”-condition, participants were on average seven times less likely to collaborate than in the other two conditions. Moreover, they tended to choose less difficult tasks. Our findings indicate that in the context of scientific teams, individualizing incentives impede collaboration and lead to a focus on less ambitious tasks.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Applied Psychology
Organisational Unit: Psychological Institute (PI)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Angewandte Psychologie

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