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Team‐based rewards in computer‐mediated groups

Oliver Rack (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Olten, Switzerland)
Thomas Ellwart (University of Trier, Trier, Germany)
Guido Hertel (University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Udo Konradt (University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to compare effects of different monetary team‐based reward strategies on performance, pay satisfaction, and communication behavior in computer‐mediated groups.


In a laboratory experiment, 32 groups of undergraduate students, each consisting of three individuals, interacted electronically and performed a consensus‐reaching task. Team‐based incentives were distributed either equally (each team member received an equal share) or equitably (each team member's share depended on her/his individual contribution). A control group received no team‐based (or other) incentives.


Hierarchical multilevel analyses revealed that both types of team‐based rewards increased team members' motivation and pay satisfaction compared to the control condition. Moreover, the effects of team‐based rewards on performance were moderated by group members' assertiveness. In addition, team‐based rewards lead to more cooperative and task‐oriented communication in the computer‐mediated groups. Finally, equally divided rewards led to higher pay satisfaction on average than equitably divided incentives.


On a research level, this study shows that team‐based rewards have positive effects not only on performance but also on communication behavior in computer‐mediated groups. As a practical implication, reward effects should be considered cautiously as they might be influenced by team members’ personality. Moreover, whereas no major differences were found between equity and equality principles in terms of performance, the latter seems to be preferable when satisfaction is a major issue in virtual teams.



Rack, O., Ellwart, T., Hertel, G. and Konradt, U. (2011), "Team‐based rewards in computer‐mediated groups", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 419-438.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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