Goal orientation and perceived contributions as predictors of team members' overall responses to team-based rewards for team success versus no team-based rewards for team failure
Watson (2002) found that participants exerted different levels of task effort in response to receiving (or not receiving) a team-based reward (TBR) based on their team's overall success (or overall failure) when TBRs were administered in conjunction with feedback regarding their perceived contributions toward previous team task performance. The overall purpose of this study was to determine why participants in Watson's (2002) study exhibited these responses by reanalyzing these findings in conjunction with responses to several other experimental measures that Watson (2002) collected but did not report. Specifically, the first objective of this study was to determine if Watson's (2002) experimental manipulations differentially impacted participants' attitudinal and/or affective states. The second objective was to determine if any of these states mediated the TBR x feedback interaction on performance change reported by Watson (2002). The third objective was to determine if goal orientation moderated any of these relationships. Results of this study indicated that the allocation of TBRs in conjunction with performance feedback did indeed differentially influence participants' attitudinal and affective states. Specifically, results indicated a main effect for TBR on team viability and positive mood, and learning and performance goal orientations interacted with the allocation of TBRs and feedback to influence participants' perceptions of distributive justice and team commitment. Results did not, however, indicate why participants in Watson's (2002) study exerted different levels of task effort. In addition, none of the attitudinal or affective constructs investigated mediated the aforementioned TBR x feedback interaction on performance change, and goal orientation did not moderate this relationship. In conclusion, overall findings from both this study and Watson's (2002) study provide preliminary empirical evidence that work team members exert different (and sometimes contradictory) behavioral and non-behavioral responses to the allocation of TBRs in settings in which they are made aware of their own levels of team task performance relative to those of their teammates. Findings from this study in particular indicate that individuals' levels of goal orientation influence many of these responses. As both of these studies were largely exploratory, future research aimed at extending these lines of research is warranted.