Giving and Receiving Awards

Perspect Psychol Sci. 2006 Dec;1(4):377-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00022.x.


Awards in the form of orders, medals, decorations, prizes, and titles are ubiquitous in monarchies and republics, private organizations, and not-for-profit and profit-oriented firms. Nevertheless, this kind of nonmaterial extrinsic incentive has been given little attention in the social sciences, including psychology. The demand for awards relies on an individual's desire for distinction, and the supply of awards is governed by the desire to motivate. The technique of analytic narratives is used to show that a number of empirically testable propositions about awards are consistent with observable data.