Pay Professors for Performance


Development of a new incentive system for researchers and lecturers in academia




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In this research project, we investigate whether professors should be paid for performance. While variable remuneration is a common incentive system strategy in economy, it has not been introduced to German universities so far. This is why we are interested in finding out whether variable remuneration could be a beneficial strategy to increase motivation and willingness to perform or whether it has rather detrimental effects on intrinsic motivation of academic staff (crowding-out effect). One aspect of the project will be to take a closer look on further motivation boosting factors implemented in universities (e.g. reduction in teaching load; research semester) and how these can be utilized in a beneficial way.

To sum it up, the question of the research project basically is, which behavior of academic staff should be incited and how.


Project Goal

Our project goal is the development of a new incentive system for researchers and lecturers at universities in order to create an organizational design that best fits the special needs of knowledge incentive organizations and hence motivates academic staff in the most effective way. This is important, as motivation is the key to a high willingness to perform.



Our basic approach is multimodal. In a first step we will use bibliometric analysis investigating research activities of academics as an objective operationalization of scientific success. In a second step we will conduct questionnaire studies assessing the scientific success in research and teaching (=performance ability), as well as personal and institutional determinants of scientific success. We will supplement the project with experimental studies using the scenario technique assessing the degree to which academics are intrinsically and/or extrinsically motivated.


Project Team

Prof. Dr. Isabell M. Welpe

Dr. Jutta Wollersheim

Dipl.-Psych. Stefanie Ringelhan

Chair for Strategy and Organization, TUM School of Management.


Project Sponsors

  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), Förderlinie "Wissenschaftsökonomie", Förderschwerpunkt "Hochschulforschung", Förderkennzeichen (01PW11006)
  • Chair for Strategy and Organization, TUM School of Management



June 2011 - May 2014