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提高团队创造力?现金奖励或许更有效

一项最新研究表示,现金是比公众认可更有效的激励措施。

你正在努力启发你的员工或学生的创造性思维?哪一种方式效果更好,是公开表扬他们的聪明才智,还是用金钱奖励?

最新发表的一项研究认为,答案很明确:真金白银的现金奖励更有效。

该项研究的主要作者、来自伊利诺伊大学(University of Illinois)的拉维·迈赫特在宣布研究结果时表示:“重视创造力的人,所注重的是那些奇异的‘超出常规’的事物。所以,他们不太可能关心他人的认同,或者在同事中的归属感。”

他补充道,现金奖励会让我们专注于手头的任务,“而社会认同奖励却会扼杀创造力。因为它会让我们产生从众心理,避免做出头鸟,会让你选择折中,而不是勇于突破边缘。”

迈赫特与他的同事在《消费者研究杂志》(Journal of Consumer Research)中阐述了五项研究,来证明这种动态变化。在第一项研究中,140名大学本科生获得的任务是创造性地解决“擦鞋问题”,即在参加一次重要的公司宴会之前,如何快速清除鞋上的磨损处。

有三分之一的参与者被告知,想出最有创造性的解决方案的参与者将赢得50美元。另外三分之一得知的奖励是他们的“解决方案、姓名和照片将刊登在校内杂志上。”最后三分之一没有任何奖励。

结果:竞争现金奖励的一组比另外两组提出了更多独创解决方案(由15位评委认定)。期待社会认可和不期望任何奖励的两组“创造力水平相当”,这意味着登上杂志的奖励基本无效。

后续的研究得出了相同的结果,其中一项研究给出了一个重要的警告。这项研究发现,如果你所在的社会圈子将“独创性和创新性作为公认准则”,那么公众认可的激励效果与现金相同。

当然,如果你是一名想要打动其他同行的艺术家,高知名度的奖励确实能够带来激励。但对于哪些没有资格获得普利策奖或艾美奖的普通人来说,例如被邀请提供新产品创意的消费者,金钱才是更有效的激励手段。

迈赫特称:“要求别人更有创造力,其实是在要求他们离经叛道 — 突破社会准则。”会被同事指指点点的想法可能抑制团队的创造力,但兑现一张支票的美好期望,则肯定能够激发我们的内部创新者。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

So you’re trying to inspire a group of people—perhaps your employees, perhaps your students—to think more creatively. Will you get better results offering them public recognition of their brilliance, or a monetary reward?

Newly published research suggests the clear answer is cold, hard cash.

“People who value creativity value the bizarre, the stuff that’s ‘out there,'” lead author Ravi Mehta, of the University of Illinois, said in announcing the findings. “Therefore, they’re less likely to care about the approval of others, or a sense of belonging with their peers.”

While a cash reward focuses us on the task at hand, “a social-recognition reward kills creativity,” he added. “It appeals to conformity, to not standing out, which drives you to the middle, not the edge.”

In the Journal of Consumer Research, Mehta and his colleagues describe five studies that demonstrate this dynamic. In the first, 140 university undergraduates were assigned to creatively solve “the shoeshine problem”—that is, figure out a way to quickly remove the scuffs from their shoes before attending an important company dinner.

One-third were told the participant who came up with the most creative solution would win $50. Another third were told that person would have their “solution, name, and picture featured in the school magazine.” The final third were not offered any reward.

The results: Those vying for a cash prize came up with more original solutions (as determined by 15 judges) than their counterparts in the other two groups. People anticipating social recognition and those not expecting any reward produced “comparable levels of creativity,” suggesting the thought of being in the magazine was extremely ineffective.

The follow-up studies replicated those results, and one added an important caveat. It found that, if you’re part of a social circle where “originality and innovation were accepted norms,” public recognition is just as effective an incentive as cash.

Sure, if you’re an artist trying to impress other artists, that high-profile prize can indeed be inspirational. But for those not eligible for a Pulitzer or Emmy—such as consumers who are invited to come up with new product ideas—money is the more effective motivator.

“When you ask someone to be creative, you’re asking them to be transgressive—to think beyond social norms,” Mehta notes. The idea of being judged by our peers can be inhibiting, but our inner innovator can be activated by the pleasant anticipation of cashing a check.

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