Motivated by money: Brits will DOUBLE their work efforts if they think there is a financial reward on the table, research shows
- Perhaps the best way to get British people to put in more effort at work is to pay them more
- Brits put in twice as much effort when offered extra money, research shows
It's bad news for employers, but the best way to get Brits to work harder at work may be to pay them more money.
Unlike some other cultures, Brits will put in twice as much effort when offered extra money, a study suggests.
Showing them the money seems to work better than subtler attempts to suggest that they have to work hard because other people do too.
Researchers led by the University of Chicago recruited 1,067 people in Britain and 1,086 in China for a social experiment.
The volunteers were asked to look at a series of images and identify each image with a building.
Britons will double their work efforts if they think there is a financial reward on the table, research shows (stock image)
They received a fixed amount for this, or an extra incentive.
The added incentive was the psychological 'nudge' that other people doing the task had done their best and completed 160 images, or a simple cash payment for every 10 images they managed to complete.
For people in China, the cash reward resulted in almost 20 percent more effort than people who gave a psychological boost or a lump sum.
But British people were so motivated by cold, hard money that they put in more than twice as much effort: they completed more than double the number of images compared to people who received a lump sum or a psychological boost.
The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, also compared the US, India, Mexico and South Africa in different experiments.
When also asked to identify buildings in photos, more than half of people from the US quit the task as quickly as possible when there was no additional money available to continue, while more than 90 percent of people in Mexico was conscientious enough to continue .
The findings suggest that people in Western, wealthy countries such as Britain and the US feel less obliged to do their best when there is nothing in it for them.
The findings suggest that people in Western, wealthy countries such as Britain and the US feel less obliged to do their best when there is nothing in it for them (stock image)
People in China, India, Mexico and South Africa may have been poorer in some cases, but were less motivated by money than by psychological nudges.
Danila Medvedev, who led the research at the University of Chicago, said: 'People in Western cultures such as Britain have been taught to think that time is money.
'So they believe that extra work should be further compensated with money, and that duty and responsibility become more important to them when money is also involved.'
Researchers also analyzed the results of an earlier study in which people in the US and India were asked to press two keys on a keyboard as often as possible.
People in India were more willing to take on the task if the money went to charity than people in the US.