How little is too little? – The impact of pay level on task performance

This study aims to investigate the impact of pay level on task performance, using financial stress and intrinsic motivation as meditators. The pay level – performance relationship has bene previously explored (e.g. Kalia & Bhardwaj, 2019), however, more attention needs to be given to potential mediators of this relationship. Using the job demands-resources model (e.g. Bakker & Demerouti, 2018) as a foundation, the direct relationship between pay level and task performance, as well as the simple and serial mediation effects of financial stress and intrinsic moti-vation are investigated. To explore the association between the variables, an experiment is conducted in which 266 participants play the household task (Hilbert et al., 2022). The household task consists of the management of the financial situation of a household over multiple rounds. Each round, participants are asked to perform a task for which they receive a fixed payment and from which expenses have to be paid. In the experiment, pay level is manipulated to be either low or high in relation to the expenses. Additionally, financial stress and intrinsic motivation are assessed through questionnaires before and after the completion of the six rounds. The results of the study show no impact of pay level, financial stress, or intrinsic motivation on task performance. There was however a significant effect of pay level on financial stress, so that participants with a low pay level experienced more financial stress. Participants with a low pay level also showed decreased intrinsic motivation compared to those with a high pay level. The study contributes to the pay level research by finding support for an effect of pay level on financial stress and intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, it shows the usefulness of the household task outside scarcity research, and it highlights potential issues when using the task for performance measurement.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.


Use and reproduction:
This work may be used under a
CC BY 4.0 LogoCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY 4.0)