Press Releases

Money Doesn’t Always Motivate Employees

New research at NYU Stern finds that during an economic downturn, managers can motivate employees without adding to the bottom line

NEW YORK--“When the economy sours and corporate bottom lines suffer, organizations must rely on employees more than ever to go beyond the call of duty,” says NYU Stern Professor Steve Blader. In two recent studies examining close to 1,000 employees, he and his colleagues explored how organizations can motivate workers.

“A key influencer of employee performance is the employee’s sense of being included in the social fabric of the organization. And this holds true in bear markets,” says Prof. Blader.

The research identified several employee motivators:

  • Treating employees with respect
  • Making decisions that affect them in a fair way
  • Providing them with good wages and benefits 

The study also showed that an increase in wages and benefits has the most beneficial impact on employee performance when it makes employees feel valued. This implies that an increase in pay will not likely incentivize a worker in cases where he/she receives the increase after threatening to leave or when his/her contract stipulates when and how much raises will be.

To find out more about this study and to speak with Professor Steve Blader, please contact him directly at 212-998-0431,; or contact Carolyn Ritter in NYU Stern’s Office of Public Affairs, 212-998-0624,

March 18, 2009: