Date of release: Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dr Rebecca HewettA study which shows praise from the boss is not always a great motivator has earned a Greenwich academic an Early Career Researcher Impact Prize.

Dr Rebecca Hewett, Senior Lecturer in Human Resources Management with the university's Business School, has also received a research grant of £3,000 to support her work for one year.

The award recognises the impact of Dr Hewett's innovative diary-study of the experiences of everyday verbal rewards and intrinsic motivation at work. The study has received coverage in Time magazine, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development People Management and Work magazines, and Human Resources online magazine.

She says: "Winning this award is a real thrill and it will help me pursue my research further. Since the articles were published several management practitioners have contacted me to say that the research is having an impact.

"The paper has reached several hundred thousand managers and HR professionals in the UK, US, and South east Asia. The reach of the article on social media is difficult to assess but it is at least 700,000.

"My interest in 'diary methods' used in this paper brought me into contact with some new collaborators so the research will continue."

The research found that a verbal reward for a complex task meant they enjoyed the task less, and had a reduced desire to do it. Conversely, for simple tasks, a verbal reward raised motivation, probably because the extra encouragement is helpful if the task is in itself not motivating.

Professor Pam Maras, Director of Greenwich Early Career Researcher Network, chaired the expert panel that judged the award and aims to help high calibre researchers develop their early careers.

She says: "Congratulations to Dr Hewett, who has demonstrated tremendous commitment to her research and has demonstrated potentially the long-term impact of her work. The study's reach so far has been very impressive and we at the university look forward to Dr Hewett's continued success."

The study was carried out alongside Professor Neil Conway from Royal Holloway, University of London, and originally published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The undermining effect revisited: The salience of everyday verbal rewards and self-determined motivation.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Dr Rebecca Hewett.