Monday, June 17, 2013

Is Reputation a Bigger Motivator Than Money?

Erez Yoeli, Moshe Hoffman, David Rand, and Martin Nowak have conducted a fascinating new study that suggests reputation sometimes can be a bigger motivator than money.   They conducted a field experiment associated with a utility company's program in California to try to prevent blackouts. Some individuals were offered financial incentives to participate.  For other individuals, sign-up sheets were posted in common areas of apartment buildings.  Financial incentives did boost participation in the program.  However, the sign-up sheets had a much more significant impact!   Rand explained to the Harvard Gazette:  “When people know it’s a cooperative effort, they feel peer pressure to take part.  They think, ‘If I don’t do this, I’m going to look like a jerk.’ But if it’s not observable, then there’s no problem with not participating.”   Making behavior observable brings reputation to the forefront.  People care a great deal, in many cases, about how others perceive them.   Hoffman explained that Toyota may have used this self-perception concern to its benefit when designing the Prius.    “In fact, we think this is one reason why the Prius, for instance, is such a different-looking car. The designers at Toyota seem to have intuitively had this idea: designing a car that didn’t look like any other car so your neighbors can tell you’re driving a hybrid." 


SH said...

I wonder where threats fit in in the world of behavior. I would think they must be extremely effective.

SH said...

Especially within teams... Thoughts?