The Unintended Interpersonal Consequences of Demeaning Extrinsic Motivation
22 Sep 2023 (Fri)
LSK Rm5047
Ms Liuxin Yan, National University of Singapore

People who are extrinsically motivated are negatively stereotyped and are viewed less positively compared to those who are intrinsically motivated. As a result, individuals can strategically express their intrinsic motivation as an impression management tactic to gain more favorable evaluations from others. Aside from directly signaling their intrinsic motivation, individuals can also choose a more aggressive strategy by demeaning extrinsic motivation (e.g., “being motivated by money is shallow and meaningless!”). In this paper, we document the prevalence of this phenomenon, users’ (mis)perceptions of how effective this strategy should be, and its actual interpersonal consequences across different contexts. Although being extrinsically motivated is negatively evaluated, we posit that demeaning extrinsic motivation would ironically make one appear more hypocritical and thus disliked. We also explore two boundary conditions – job calling orientation and SES – in shaping these effects. In sum, although people often demean others’ extrinsic motivation in order to gain social approval, such a strategy often backfires.