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Paper that this blog post is based on is published in 1996. That's 18 years ago.

So saying, that it "digs deeply into the last 25 years of research" is simply inaccurate at best.

As far as I know, the evidence for the hypothesis that monetary rewards weaken the intrinsic motivation - especially in creative efforts - has been piling up in that 18 years. In particular thanks to the field of neuropsychology.

That being said, this doesn't mean that proper meta-analysis of papers couldn't provide insights that are missed by individual ones. But one being referred in this article is not one.

I'd be delighted to hear about similar study with fresh data and focus in creative and cognitive tasks. Kind of tasks that major of modern day work assignments are.

Perhaps the author or other readers could help me in finding one?

The most recent meta-analysis was cited recently here http://www.compensationcafe.com/2013/05/memo-to-dan-pink-and-friends-incentives-do-not-undermine-employee-motivation.html by guest contributor Gerry Ledford, PhD. And there are others.

MIT/Duke researcher Dan Ariely, PhD, also confirmed the power of rewards while simultaneously clarifying the VERY important point that "intrinsic" motivation varies by context: the drivers in commercial transactions are quite different than those activated when social norms govern behaviors. For example, people will fill sandbags for free to protect their community from flood but will reject the same "job" if offered $12/hr to do it. Friends will volunteer to help you move without charge but commercial movers demand cash compensation. Switching the situational context changes the motivation and alters the dynamics of the behavioral reinforcement environment. Kinda basic for rewards professionals to know...

First of all, I'm not a compensation professional, merely an individual interested in the topic. I'd appreciate if this would not be used to dismiss everything out of hand.

Paper that was cited was "Negative Effects of Extrinsic
Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation:
More Smoke Than Fire" and can be found here: http://ceo.usc.edu/pdf/Ledford_Fang_Gerhart_2013_Intrinsic_Rew_WaWJ.pdf

Yes, context does matter. And a lot. I think that everyone agrees on those examples on sandbags and moving. But I was trying to narrow the context down to a smaller sub-set of conditions that is more relevant to modern day work and my own field.

Something in the lines of "How monetary incentives affect performance, creativity and work quality in knowledge work organizations".

Original post does not make the distinction but goes on to make broad generalization of e.g. "Rewards can increase creativity." I'm making an assumption of monetary reward here, because that is the argument author is going against if I understood correctly. Apparently case about monetary rewards as creativity killer is not as bleak as I have so far thought, but still I haven't been able to find any credible proof for this particular claim.

I believe, Olli, that author Derek Irvine does not peddle monetary reward systems but is a non-cash reinforcement/recognition expert. If my broad characterization is wrong, he can/will correct me, I'm sure; but I don't think he wanted to narrow the discussion down to monetary remuneration approaches at all.

All the research (and practical workplace findings) to my knowledge confirm that the creative output of students or professors in academic settings can be suppressed by cash rewards, but employees in commercial businesses REQUIRE cash and pay a LOT of attention to what produces it. Anything can be abused, of course; putting too much money on the table can indeed overwhelm the senses and create chaos.

Most creative people are driven by intrinsic motivations and would be creative no matter what they were paid. Money doesn't drive their behavior. Besides, very few workers are employed to "be creative," so it's rarely an issue to society in general.

Nearly everyone everywhere could somehow find another job that pays "more money"; but people remain reluctant to switch jobs for small increases. Not all rewards jingle. It's not as simple as it might appear.

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