The Effect of Team versus Individual Performance Recognition on Trust and Future Orientation Work teams are ubiquitous in today’s workplace and have become an extremely important aspect of the business world (Levi, 2007). When studying employee recognition, it is important to consider how different ways of recognizing teams at the workplace changes their behaviors and attitudes. More specifically, recognizing the team as a whole instead of individual performers may have unique consequences. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine whether the target of the performance recognition influences individual’s trust towards the team and willingness to work together on future tasks. Past research has shown the importance of performance recognition on individual and organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction (Larsen, 1993), organizational commitment (Kerr & Slocum, 1987; Saunderson, 2004; Wallsten, 1998), and overall organizational climate (Renwick, 2003). In addition, recognized employees are more likely to be motivated to work hard (Hansen & Hansen, 2002; Magnus, 1981; Shepperd, 1993), have a higher employee morale (Hopkins, 1995), and be more satisfied with their jobs (Larsen, 1993). However, previous studies have focused on rewarding performance with financial rewards (Honeywell-Johnson & Dickinson, 1999; Barnes et al., 2011), while this study adds a novel contribution to the literature by focusing on rewarding performance with informal, interpersonal rewards in the form of immediate praise. Using an experimental design, this study aims to examine the effects of team versus individual performance recognition on trust and willingness to work together in the future. We hypothesize that team recognition will increase individuals’ team trust and willingness to work with the team in the future because the recognition will serve as a reinforcement that their team is functioning well together and is worthy of the participants’ trust and future collaboration. Thus, team recognition will aid in increasing the confidence that members have in their team. The Effect of Team versus Individual Performance Recognition on Trust and Future Orientation Methodology. The sample consists of 116 college students in a large Southeastern university who participated in the study as part of a course. The sample was 75% female with an average age of 19.8 years (SD=2.9). The participants were 66.4% White/Caucasian, 17.2 % African American, 6.9% Asian American, 5.2% Hispanic American, and 4.3% other ethnicities. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four study conditions: condition 1 received individual recognition twice; condition 2 received team recognition twice; condition 3 received individual condition after task 1 and team recognition after task 2; and condition 4 received team recognition after task 1 and individual recognition after task 2. Participants worked with two e-confederates on two information-generating tasks. They were able to see the screens of the other two “participants,” thus they could see how much their team members contributed. All target participants interacted with the same e-confederates. At the end of the first task, the target participant was either recognized individually for their number of correct responses, or the group was recognized as a whole for the number of correct responses they generated together. Following the recognition, the first questionnaire was administered. Participants were asked to do a second task similar to the first one. At the end of the second task, the target participant was either recognized individually or the group was recognized as a whole. The final questionnaire was then administered. Trust was assessed with three items on a Likert scale as the extent to which participants were comfortable depending on their team (e.g., “I feel that I can trust my team members completely”; Schoorman et al., 1996). Willingness to work together in the future was also assessed using three items on a Likert scale (e.g., “If I had to do this task again, I would work with the same team”). Composites were made for both variables by averaging the three items. The Effect of Team versus Individual Performance Recognition on Trust and Future Orientation Results. Table 1 contains the means, standard deviations, and zero-order correlations for all study variables. Table 2 contains the means and standard deviations of study variables by condition to better inspect the effect of team versus individual recognition on trust and future orientation. Although t-tests yielded non-statistically significant results across and within conditions, differences among conditions are worthy of further examination. More specifically, participant’s team trust increases for all conditions over time, but willingness to work together as a team decreases for all conditions except one. Team versus individual performance recognition may be influencing these dependent variables differently. It is quite possible that participants were trusting of their teammates on somewhat equal levels because e-confederates performed the same across all conditions, and they were all contributing to the overall success of the group. Providing team recognition after task 2 increased participant’s willingness to work with their team after they received individual recognition after task 1. On the other hand, when participants repeatedly receive individual recognition, while they still trust their teammates, they are not as willing to work with them on future tasks. Implications. We are contributing to the large scholarship of performance recognition by showing that praising the whole team versus specific individuals within the team can play a role in motivating people differently when choosing to trust their teammates and being willing to work together on future tasks. Furthermore, this study can be applied to workplace settings by managers who can choose whether to target their praises at specific individuals or the whole team, depending on who they wish to motivate and the results they would like to achieve. Targeting the team may increase workers’ willingness to work with their team again in the future which can play a role in improving the cooperation among workers in the organization. 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Targeted rewards have greater value — and bigger impact. Workforce, November. The Effect of Team versus Individual Performance Recognition on Trust and Future Orientation Appendix Table 1 Means, standard deviations and zero-order correlations among study variables M SD 1 2 3 4 1. Trust (0) 3.25 .70 — 2. Trust (1) 3.47 .64 .54*** — *** 3. Trust (2) 3.58 .60 .36 .53*** — * *** 4. Future (1) 3.84 .61 .23 .60 .44*** — *** *** 5. Future (2) 3.74 .67 .18 .43 .65 .64*** Note. N = 116. *p < .05; **p < .01;***p < .001. Trust (0)=Trust before task 1. Trust (1)=Trust after task 1. Trust (2)=Trust after task 2. Future (1)=willingness to work together in the future after task 1. Future (2)=willingness to work together in the future after task 2. Table 2 Means and standard deviations of study variables by condition Condition 1 Condition 2 Condition 3 Condition 4 Indv., Indv. Team, Team Indv., Team Team, Indv. (n=28) (n=31) (n=27) (n=30) 3.07 (.74) 3.31 (.77) 3.16 (.78) 3.43 (.45) 1. Trust (0) 3.37 (.52) 3.52 (.66) 3.32 (.82) 3.67 (.50) 2. Trust (1) 3.49 (.64) 3.55 (.66) 3.57 (.59) 3.70 (.47) 3. Trust (2) 3.86 (.65) 3.85 (.62) 3.70 (.69) 3.92 (.49) 4. Future (1) 3.63 (.74) 3.77 (.72) 3.78 (.63) 3.76 (.59) 5. Future (2) Note. N = 116. Trust (0)=Trust before task 1. Trust (1)=Trust after task 1. Trust (2)=Trust after task 2. Future (1)=willingness to work together in the future after task 1. Future (2)=willingness to work together in the future after task 2.