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Do humans naturally expect job rewards to be proportionaly to contribution and performance?

laughing dog

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In another thread, someone postulated that

"It's pretty natural for humans to expect to get rewarded from a job in proportion to their contribution and performance."

I wonder if that is culture or economy specific or generally true. Is anyone familiar with any anthropological or sociological research on this?
 

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In another thread, someone postulated that

"It's pretty natural for humans to expect to get rewarded from a job in proportion to their contribution and performance."

I wonder if that is culture or economy specific or generally true. Is anyone familiar with any anthropological or sociological research on this?

This is observed mostly when comparing people who have the same job. The plumber who fixes more pipes, expects to make more money than the one who fixes less.

We haven't yet developed a system of thought which compares the contribution and performance of plumbers and bank vice presidents.
 

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Some related research on the topic, although it doesn't address the culture or economy specific aspects you were asking about:

One of the key determinants of satisfaction — or dissatisfaction — with compensation is how employees feel their pay package compares to others, according to Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell. “No doubt if somebody thinks he or she is doing the same work as another who is paid a lot more, this leads to resentment and ultimately to disengagement.”

Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie cites research which suggests that employees arrive at perceptions of fairness regarding their compensation by comparing the ratio of their inputs — including, for example, their credentials, level of experience and amount of effort put into the job — to their outcomes, including such things as salary and benefits. Under this theory, employees also compare themselves to someone else, such as another person in the organization or even to themselves at an earlier stage of their career. In any case, “if the ratio is not equal, it causes a psychological strain that the employee wants to resolve,” MacDuffie says.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/balancing-the-pay-scale-fair-vs-unfair/

Would be interesting to know if these feelings are universal or culture specific. I was unable to find anything more comprehensive.
 

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Found another paper that is of interest:

At this level, there are some indications of support for the hypothesis that pay fairness
judgments are less sensitive to individual performance in the more collectivistic countries. The
individual performance coefficients for the three non-Latin collectivist nations (Thailand,
Nigeria, Philipines) are smaller than the coefficients for the other nations. The pattern is not
complete, however, as the two Latin nation as classified as highly collectivistic (Peru and
Uruguay) have sizable coefficients - at least as big as the highly individualistic United States.

Less sensitive, but not absent - at least some amount appears to be natural. See the full paper here:

http://webprofesores.iese.edu/curriculums/docs/Hundley.pdf
 

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Even monkeys have a sense of fairness, and react harshly when they feel they're not getting treated equally:

Both of the monkeys in the video below are tasked to give a rock to the researcher. One monkey gets a better reward than the other for the same task. The results are not surprising (but highly comical).

 

laughing dog

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From what I can tell, all of these students look at people who work in a modern society that is generally capitalist to a medium to large degree. So, of course it would be "natural" in those settings to expect pay to be proportional to performance. But that does not make it universal nor "natural" in other settings - which is what I am wondering about.
 

Loren Pechtel

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From what I can tell, all of these students look at people who work in a modern society that is generally capitalist to a medium to large degree. So, of course it would be "natural" in those settings to expect pay to be proportional to performance. But that does not make it universal nor "natural" in other settings - which is what I am wondering about.

Since you're determined to blame this on a capitalist outlook lets look at a non-capitalist society. Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
 

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I'm currently reading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt, and one of the issues it gets into is precisely what you're asking. I've not finished it yet; here is the website, which features essays, a TED talk and Jonothan as a guest on The Colbert Report. His footnotes contain a lot of links to studies by himself and others, so that may be a good place to look. From what I've seen of the book so far, the answer is yes, people do expect proportional rewards for their contributions and dislike free riders of the system, but conservatives especially so.
 

fromderinside

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In another thread, someone postulated that

"It's pretty natural for humans to expect to get rewarded from a job in proportion to their contribution and performance."

I wonder if that is culture or economy specific or generally true. Is anyone familiar with any anthropological or sociological research on this?

Here's one take on the issue it seems.

"Evolution of responses to (un)fairness" http://www.aaron-zimmerman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/BrosnandeWScience2014.pdf

abstract:
The human sense of fairness is an evolutionary puzzle. To study this, we can look toother species, in which this can be translated empirically into responses to rewarddistribution. Passive and active protest against receiving less than a partner for the sametask is widespread in species that cooperate outside kinship and mating bonds. There isless evidence that nonhuman species seek to equalize outcomes to their own detriment,yet the latter has been documented in our closest relatives, the apes. This reactionprobably reflects an attempt to forestall partner dissatisfaction with obtained outcomesand its negative impact on future cooperation. We hypothesize that it is the evolution ofthis response that allowed the development of a complete sense of fairness in humans,which aims not at equality for its own sake but for the sake of continued cooperation.

Change of frame?
 

laughing dog

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From what I can tell, all of these students look at people who work in a modern society that is generally capitalist to a medium to large degree. So, of course it would be "natural" in those settings to expect pay to be proportional to performance. But that does not make it universal nor "natural" in other settings - which is what I am wondering about.

Since you're determined to blame this on a capitalist outlook lets look at a non-capitalist society.
I am not blaming anything. I am wondering about the alleged universality of some human behavior.
Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
I am looking for disinterested research, not handwaved nebulous anecdotes.
 

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Even dogs have a sense of fairness. It ain't just a human thing.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97944783

Dogs have an intuitive understanding of fair play and become resentful if they feel that another dog is getting a better deal, a new study has found.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how dogs react when a buddy is rewarded for the same trick in an unequal way.

Friederike Range, a researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria, and her colleagues did a series of experiments with dogs who knew how to respond to the command "give the paw," or shake. The dogs were normally happy to repeatedly give the paw, whether they got a reward or not.

But that changed if they saw that another dog was being rewarded with a piece of food, while they received nothing.

"We found that the dogs hesitated significantly longer when obeying the command to give the paw," the researchers write. The unrewarded dogs eventually stopped cooperating.
 

Loren Pechtel

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Since you're determined to blame this on a capitalist outlook lets look at a non-capitalist society.
I am not blaming anything. I am wondering about the alleged universality of some human behavior.
Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
I am looking for disinterested research, not handwaved nebulous anecdotes.

I picked China because my wife lived through the situation I'm talking about.
 

laughing dog

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Even dogs have a sense of fairness. It ain't just a human thing.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97944783

Dogs have an intuitive understanding of fair play and become resentful if they feel that another dog is getting a better deal, a new study has found.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how dogs react when a buddy is rewarded for the same trick in an unequal way.

Friederike Range, a researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria, and her colleagues did a series of experiments with dogs who knew how to respond to the command "give the paw," or shake. The dogs were normally happy to repeatedly give the paw, whether they got a reward or not.

But that changed if they saw that another dog was being rewarded with a piece of food, while they received nothing.

"We found that the dogs hesitated significantly longer when obeying the command to give the paw," the researchers write. The unrewarded dogs eventually stopped cooperating.
This is interesting and on point. Thanks.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm currently reading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt, and one of the issues it gets into is precisely what you're asking. I've not finished it yet; here is the website, which features essays, a TED talk and Jonothan as a guest on The Colbert Report. His footnotes contain a lot of links to studies by himself and others, so that may be a good place to look. From what I've seen of the book so far, the answer is yes, people do expect proportional rewards for their contributions and dislike free riders of the system, but conservatives especially so.
Thanks, I will look into it.
 

bilby

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I am not blaming anything. I am wondering about the alleged universality of some human behavior.
Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
I am looking for disinterested research, not handwaved nebulous anecdotes.

I picked China because my wife lived through the situation I'm talking about.

I am pretty sure that second-hand handwaved nebulous anecdotes are just as unacceptable, so I am not sure why you consider this an adequate response to LD's criticism.
 

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I am not blaming anything. I am wondering about the alleged universality of some human behavior.
Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
I am looking for disinterested research, not handwaved nebulous anecdotes.

I picked China because my wife lived through the situation I'm talking about.

I am pretty sure that second-hand handwaved nebulous anecdotes are just as unacceptable, so I am not sure why you consider this an adequate response to LD's criticism.

Loren is a rightist (of the libertarian variety).

Thus, if you present him with evidence from a peer-reviewed scientific study, he will simply dismiss it with the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument. The "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument proves that to a rightist, anecdotal evidence is the only kind of evidence that is valid, but only if it supports a conclusion that he likes.

Don't blame Loren for this. He has simply spent too much time consuming right wing media.
 

Loren Pechtel

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I am not blaming anything. I am wondering about the alleged universality of some human behavior.
Namely, China during the Cultural Revolution time. The wage difference between skilled and unskilled was small--but human nature poked through: Gifts were expected to those whose salary was below what their position should command.
I am looking for disinterested research, not handwaved nebulous anecdotes.

I picked China because my wife lived through the situation I'm talking about.

I am pretty sure that second-hand handwaved nebulous anecdotes are just as unacceptable, so I am not sure why you consider this an adequate response to LD's criticism.

Loren is a rightist (of the libertarian variety).

Thus, if you present him with evidence from a peer-reviewed scientific study, he will simply dismiss it with the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument. The "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument proves that to a rightist, anecdotal evidence is the only kind of evidence that is valid, but only if it supports a conclusion that he likes.

Don't blame Loren for this. He has simply spent too much time consuming right wing media.

I'm quite willing to accept scientific studies. However, there are plenty of things that purport to be scientific studies but really are just attempts to push a point of view.

We see this time and again from the right on environmental issues and from the left on discrimination issues. The discrimination ones even manage to make it through the peer review process. (Hint: If it doesn't address the hypothesis that the "discrimination" is really just socioeconomic status then it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.)
 

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... from the left on discrimination issues. The discrimination ones even manage to make it through the peer review process. (Hint: If it doesn't address the hypothesis that the "discrimination" is really just socioeconomic status then it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.)

So where are all those right wing peer reviewed studies that show socioeconomic status explains discrimination. I'm sure that if there were such studies they would be blown out of the water for such as over-generalization, failure to explain legal basis and evidence for criminal acts, and cross cultural invalidation of such results.
 
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It is often difficult to precisely calibrate different levels of performance among co-workers. Also, supervisors often give subordinates they like better job reviews and raises than subordinates they are indifferent to. Subordinates they dislike are sometimes fired arbitrarily.

Most bosses are reasonably fair, but it is natural for them to like those with whom they have interests in common. Once a boss told me, "You are intelligent. You work hard. You are doing a good job. However, we have nothing in common. As far as I am concerned, that is a problem. When I come to work in the morning I want to talk about a recent fishing trip I went on or last night's ball game, but you are not interested."

He was right. I was not interested. When I came to work I wanted to talk about a book I was reading, or a documentary I had watched on television. He was not interested.

That was not a termination interview. However, that boss had already given me a bad job review for picayune reasons. When my boss needed to lay off some people I was one of them.

Some bosses have difficulty making friends. They expect their subordinates to provide social satisfactions they cannot otherwise get.

The single most important factor in a job is a good relationship with your immediate supervisor. If you and your boss genuinely like and respect each other you are way ahead of the game. If this is not true, that is a problem. It is probably your problem. The only time one can survive a hostile relationship with a boss is when the subordinate does something essential to what the boss is trying to achieve, and the boss knows that s/he will have a difficult time replacing that subordinate. Even then the subordinate is better off with a friendly relationship.
 

Trodon

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Loren is a rightist (of the libertarian variety).

Thus, if you present him with evidence from a peer-reviewed scientific study, he will simply dismiss it with the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument. The "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument proves that to a rightist, anecdotal evidence is the only kind of evidence that is valid, but only if it supports a conclusion that he likes.

Don't blame Loren for this. He has simply spent too much time consuming right wing media.

I have found that tendency among those on each side of the political spectrum. Many people simply refuse to accept facts that run counter to what they want to believe. It does not matter how well those facts are documented. It does not matter what they want to believe.

Those on the right often refuse to accept credible evidence that by important criteria the U.S. economy has tended to perform better under Democrat leadership. Those on the left often refuse to accept credible evidence that members of different races tend to perform and behave differently. If they do acknowledge different racial performance and behavior patterns they attribute the differences to environment, even though the differences are fairly consistent historically and geographically.
 

fromderinside

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Loren is a rightist (of the libertarian variety).

Thus, if you present him with evidence from a peer-reviewed scientific study, he will simply dismiss it with the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument. The "lies, damn lies, and statistics" argument proves that to a rightist, anecdotal evidence is the only kind of evidence that is valid, but only if it supports a conclusion that he likes.

Don't blame Loren for this. He has simply spent too much time consuming right wing media.

I have found that tendency among those on each side of the political spectrum. Many people simply refuse to accept facts that run counter to what they want to believe. It does not matter how well those facts are documented. It does not matter what they want to believe.

Those on the right often refuse to accept credible evidence that by important criteria the U.S. economy has tended to perform better under Democrat leadership. Those on the left often refuse to accept credible evidence that members of different races tend to perform and behave differently. If they do acknowledge different racial performance and behavior patterns they attribute the differences to environment, even though the differences are fairly consistent historically and geographically.

There's another way to look at the issue. Presume facts are facts until one can falsify them. If one doesn't try to falsify presented items as facts why is one even looking at them? One already knows in one's heart one is right.
 

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Even monkeys have a sense of fairness, and react harshly when they feel they're not getting treated equally:

Both of the monkeys in the video below are tasked to give a rock to the researcher. One monkey gets a better reward than the other for the same task. The results are not surprising (but highly comical).

Oh my heart was breaking for that poor monkey.
 
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"What Is Best for the 1% Is Best for All You Worthless Little People, Too"

From what I can tell, all of these students look at people who work in a modern society that is generally capitalist to a medium to large degree. So, of course it would be "natural" in those settings to expect pay to be proportional to performance. But that does not make it universal nor "natural" in other settings - which is what I am wondering about.
We are tamed, lamed, and trained to submit to the judgment of our worth by whoever has power over us. So it is hard to find out our natural feelings if they are artificially embedded.

Anthropologists and Sociologists are flunkies of the Establishment, so they are not a reliable source to back up our embedded opinions. Links make us members of a chain gang.
 

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In another thread, someone postulated that

"It's pretty natural for humans to expect to get rewarded from a job in proportion to their contribution and performance."

I wonder if that is culture or economy specific or generally true. Is anyone familiar with any anthropological or sociological research on this?
I'm not paid enough to answer this question.
EB
 

fromderinside

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In another thread, someone postulated that

"It's pretty natural for humans to expect to get rewarded from a job in proportion to their contribution and performance."

I wonder if that is culture or economy specific or generally true. Is anyone familiar with any anthropological or sociological research on this?

Well, humans are known to have physiological structures tied to both maximizing and optimizing. That should put a blade in its heart don't you think.
 

bilby

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Humans don't naturally expect to be rewarded proportional to 'contribution' or 'performance' (whatever those might be). They expect to be rewarded proportional to effort.

The labour theory of value is wrong; but it is also instinctive. It is one of the many false beliefs about the world that we must unlearn, if we are to avoid erroneous decisions.

'Contribution' is probably closer than effort to being what really should be rewarded, but the word has so many meanings that it is difficult to say if the OP actually means 'contribution to added value'. That's what we should reward to get optimum outcomes, but due to the natural tendency of humans to consider effort worthy of reward, and their natural tendency to rate their own efforts above the efforts of others; coupled with the difficulty of untangling exactly who added what fraction of the value in a joint effort, we are a long way from seeing that in reality.

'Performance' is generally an attempt to do that untangling, and determine who added more than an equal share of value.

There is nothing natural about this. You might as well suggest that people naturally want to travel across the country at .82 of the speed of sound. People do have that expectation; but only if they are taught to. It's not only not natural, but is directly opposed to the natural way of humanity. And that is a good thing.
 

Loren Pechtel

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Humans don't naturally expect to be rewarded proportional to 'contribution' or 'performance' (whatever those might be). They expect to be rewarded proportional to effort.

The labour theory of value is wrong; but it is also instinctive. It is one of the many false beliefs about the world that we must unlearn, if we are to avoid erroneous decisions.

A very good point. We see it all the time, people feeling that putting in a lot of effort merits reward even if that effort was unproductive.
 

bilby

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Humans don't naturally expect to be rewarded proportional to 'contribution' or 'performance' (whatever those might be). They expect to be rewarded proportional to effort.

The labour theory of value is wrong; but it is also instinctive. It is one of the many false beliefs about the world that we must unlearn, if we are to avoid erroneous decisions.

A very good point. We see it all the time, people feeling that putting in a lot of effort merits reward even if that effort was unproductive.

And the reverse; Managers rewarding those who stay late and come to work on weekends, rather than those who achieve more without the need for such conspicuous displays of effort and self sacrifice.
 

fromderinside

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Is it really appropriate to use terms devised by others as metrics of performance. Tactical pilots, for instance, perform IAC their golden arm, generally a squadron leader, who is most proficient in flying combat missions. This dude, now dudette perhaps, accomplish tasks primarily due to special abilities usually not possessed by others in his flight group. Still the group hews to his methods.

All are trained in best methods devised by those who have studied both tactical performance and human capabilities and proclivities. Those generally count for squat since the golden one has balance, spatial, reactive, and other capacities, far outside the norm of those capabilities held by his squadron. So there is a baseline and there is the golden arm. Ratings are given by the golden arm. hmmmnnn.

Commercial and military A/C companies are generally engineering and sales concerns that operate on this squadron model. Sales and engineering are both similar to combat (competitive) piloting in that there are a select few who violate all the norms and outperform everybody else which set the standard of performance for this or that group.

We become fanatic over outsize skilled athletes trying to take on or embrace them as ideals.

So there are capabilities and there are monsters. Monsters define goals for the incapable including reward and expectation/

Most workers are mentally ill because of this clash of what I have compared to what I should have.

Now put this stuff into a cauldron and place outside expectations on what is performance and we get the mix in which we perform.

Internally each of us has knowledge of how hard it is to do things and how we actually stack up against those around us. At the same time we carry with us the expectation that we must perform to some monster criteria or we are considered failures.

So we rationalize. We expect what we deserve if we are monsters and begrudge those around us any slack in their obvious deficiencies.

Yes I have two lovers is the real world.

Then there is how much we can give for how long, but, that's another story.

Maybe I'll have to redo this some time.
 
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