The present research was designed to use an expectancy motivation theory framework to clarify discrepancies in the participative decision-making literature. It was hypothesized that increments in productivity and effort levels should occur only when the participation process clarifies the effort-performance linkage and when valent outcomes are attached to high performance levels. Four retail firms were used in a 32-week investigation assessing such hypotheses. In one store, employees took part in discussion groups dealing with a job-related issue, rated as being important to them. In another store, a "cafeteria" incentive scheme was instituted to reward high hourly sales levels. The third store served as the experimental group and had both discussion groups and "cafeteria" incentives. A fourth store was utilized for the control condition. As hypothesized, productivity and effort levels increased only in the experimental store. The design was internally replicated on the control store, further substantiating the hypotheses.
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