Wednesday February 06, 2013
1:00PM - 2:30PM
University of Virginia
The Devil is in the Details:
The Motivational, Cognitive, and Behavioral Benefits of Less Specific Contracts
People and organizations increasingly depend on contracts to guard against economic risks. My research focuses on the impact of more versus less specific contracts. Although people express a preference for more rather than less specific contracts, I suggest that the conflicting mix of exchange and communal relationships that often typify organizational interactions will result in highly specific contracts interfering with post-contract relationships. Five studies show that less specific contracts led to greater intrinsic motivation, which then induced feelings of obligation and commitment, promoted greater creativity, and fostered positive long-term relationships. Thus, less specific contracts outperformed more specific contracts on three critical dimensions: work commitment, task performance, and relationship building.