Toward a Stronger Motivational Theory of Innovative Performance




Gilmore, Phillip Lawrence

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Three prominent but incompatible hypotheses exist describing how to motivate innovative performance through the use of social expectations and/or rewards: the intrinsic motivation principle of creativity (Amabile, 1990), the reward for creativity hypothesis (Eisernberger & Cameron, 1996) and the creative self-efficacy hypothesis (Tierney & Farmer, 2002). This study contrasts these hypotheses and identifies a practical test for falsifying one or more of them. Results from a randomized, controlled, intervention-style laboratory study with university students (N = 209) falsified the creative self-efficacy hypothesis and indicated a need for revision of the intrinsic motivation principle. Theory revision is necessary to explain why contingent rewards lose their impact when mixed with expectations to be innovative and why expectations can simultaneously increase intrinsic motivation while decreasing innovative performance. A new model is suggested that includes an attention-eliciting part and a part the regulates cognitive arousal at a moderate level.



Psychology, Management, Creative performance, Creativity, Innovation management, Innovative performance, Intrinsic motivation principle, Rewarding creativity