Tsai, S. (2016). Managing R&D employee creative performance with symbolic meanings of money. Business Creativity and the Creative Economy, 2(1), 13-26. https://doi.org/10.18536/bcce.2016.


The contingent compensation policy, a special compensation practice that incentivizes employees through the provision of contingent monetary rewards fully determined by periodic work performance appraisal, has gained increasing popularity among high-technology firms to promote R&D employee creative performance. However, the exact impact of this policy for creative performance management remains highly controversial between the classical economics proponents, who are oriented toward utilitarianism, and the cognitive evaluation theorists, who are oriented toward romanticism. The current study, transcending these two divergent orientations, integrates the social exchange perspective, the reflection theory, and the Job Demands-Resources Model to propose a theoretical framework. As empirical verification of the framework reveals, social exchange attributes embedded in the provision of contingent monetary rewards reflect three symbolic meaning dimensions: relative position, control, and personal importance, which together forge symbolic embodiment of performance feedback. The three dimensions prove to drive R&D employee creative performance directly and through partial mediation of work engagement. The research result is conducive to creative performance management and strategic innovation management within the global high-technology sector.