An integrated framework to assess financial reward systems in construction projects

Rose, Timothy M. & Manley, Karen (2011) An integrated framework to assess financial reward systems in construction projects. In Toole, T.Michael (Ed.) Working Paper Series, Proceedings of the 2011 Engineering Project Organizations Conference, The Engineering Project Organization Society (EPOS), Aspen Lodge Resort, Denver, Colorado, pp. 1-12.

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Motivation is a major driver of project performance. Despite team member ability to deliver successful project outcomes if they are not positively motivated to pursue joint project goals, then performance will be constrained. One approach to improving the motivation of project organizations is by offering a financial reward for the achievement of set performance standards above a minimum required level. However, little investigation has been undertaken into the features of successful incentive systems as a part of an overall delivery strategy.

With input from organizational management literature, and drawing on the literature covering psychological and economic theories of motivation, this paper presents an integrated framework that can be used by project organizations to assess the impact of financial reward systems on motivation in construction projects. The integrated framework offers four motivation indicators which reflect key theoretical concepts across both psychological and economic disciplines. The indicators are: (1) Goal Commitment, (2) Distributive Justice, (3) Procedural Justice, and (4) Reciprocity.

The paper also interprets the integrated framework against the results of a successful Australian social infrastructure project case study and identifies key learning’s for project organizations to consider when designing financial reward systems. Case study results suggest that motivation directed towards the achievement of incentive goals is influenced not only by the value placed on the financial reward for commercial benefit, but also driven by the strength of the project initiatives that encourage just and fair dealings, supporting the establishment of trust and positive reciprocal behavior across a project team. The strength of the project relationships was found to be influenced by how attractive the achievement of the goal is to the incentive recipient and how likely they were to push for the achievement of the goal. Interestingly, findings also suggested that contractor motivation is also influenced by the fairness of the performance measurement process and their perception of the trustworthiness and transparency of their client.

These findings provide the basis for future research on the impact of financial reward systems on motivation in construction projects. It is anticipated that such research will shed new light on this complex topic and further define how reward systems should be designed to promote project team motivation. Due to the unique nature of construction projects with high levels of task complexity and interdependence, results are expected to vary in comparison to previous studies based on individuals or single-entity organizations.

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ID Code: 46531
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sustainable Products, Innovation, Construction Industry, Australia
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: 2011 Copyright belongs to the authors. All rights reserved. Please contact authors for citation details.
Deposited On: 18 Oct 2011 22:12
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2011 06:42

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