The relationship between pay contingency and types of perceived support: Effects on performance and commitment

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Purpose – This study aimed to test how the effects of types of support on employees’ performance and commitment were moderated by structure of pay, namely by the degree to which pay was contingent on level of performance. The constructs of Perceived Organizational Support (POS) and Perceived Supervisor Support (PSS) were decomposed into two types, according to whether the support was directed at doing the task or at the welfare of the person. The study proceeded to examine how each type influenced performance and commitment under different pay structures. Methodology – The survey was conducted in Israel. A self-report questionnaire was administered to a sample of managers and professionals. The questionnaire consisted of new scales for person-focused and task-focused support along with measures of performance, commitment and structure of pay. The main interaction predictions were tested with regression analyses. Findings – Pay contingency interacted with task-focused POS and with person-focused PSS in affecting performance. The interactions related to commitment were not significant. The results justify the differentiation of support to the two types. They indicate that different kinds of support that are perceived to be provided either by the organization or by the supervisor boost performance under different pay structures. The effect of support on commitment is not affected by the structure of pay. Research limitations/implications – Similar surveys should be conducted in additional cultural contexts and with samples representing diverse populations, so that the conclusions from this research can be further generalized. In order to establish causality, a longitudinal design should be used in future research. It is also advised that performance should be measured through outside agents, for example through supervisor evaluation. Practical implications – In contexts where employees’ pay is contingent upon their level of performance, employers should emphasize task-related organizational support and supervisors should exert person-related support in order to boost performance. A reverse pattern is effective when pay is relatively invariable, namely when it is not contingent on performance. Originality/value – The study is a first attempt to differentiate organizational support, which so far has been studied as one global construct. It introduces further differentiation by proposing that features of the pay structure influence which support type is effective in influencing performance at work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-358
Number of pages17
JournalEuroMed Journal of Business
Issue number3
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2011


  • Commitment
  • Israel
  • Pay
  • Pay contingency
  • Perceived organizational support
  • Perceived supervisor support
  • Performance
  • Performance management


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