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Economics of Motivation (MSB300)

What drives people to work hard? Why do we try our best in some settings, while in others we tend to slack off? In this class we explore how employees are motivated and the tools that increase employees' motivation. We apply microeconomic theory, game theory, behavioral economics and psychology to investigate topics such as incentives, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, peer effects, performance feedback, employer recognition, autonomy, competitiveness, reciprocity, procrastination, mindset, purpose and social status.


Course description for study year 2022-2023. Please note that changes may occur.

Facts
Course code

MSB300

Version

1

Credits (ECTS)

10

Semester tution start

Autumn

Number of semesters

1

Exam semester

Autumn

Language of instruction

English

Content

In this class we leverage behavioral science to understand motivation in the workplace. We explore how job design is linked to employees' effectiveness and motivation, and how organizational change and management can increase employees' motivation. We apply microeconomic theory, game theory, behavioral economics and psychology to investigate topics such as incentives, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, peer effects, performance feedback, employer recognition, autonomy, competitiveness, reciprocity, procrastination, mindset, purpose and social status.

An important learning experience in this course is to collaborate with classmates and act as a consultant team for a real firm/organization.  Your team will write a report evaluating how the employees at the firm/organization are motivated, including your recommendations for how to increase motivation. Your report will be based on interviews with a manager in the firm/organization. The three teams with the best case reports will be given the opportunity to present their work to an expert committee in the UiS Business School Sandnes Sparebank Case Competition. The committee will select the team with the best case study, and the winning team will receive a prize.

We will use scientific journal articles in addition to some chapters from the textbook Personnel Economics in Practice  by Edward P. Lazear and Michael Gibbs (2014). An important goal is to learn how to read international journal articles, think critically about the empirical evidence, and communicate the research findings to colleagues. Together with classmates you will be responsible for presenting a relevant journal article at a student seminar.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

Upon completion of the course, students will better understand:

  • how people are motivated to do their best in the workplace
  • the role of behavioral science in understanding motivation in the workplace
  • how job design is linked to employer effectiveness and motivation
  • how organizational change and management can increase employees' motivation

Skills:

Upon completion of the course, students will have learned:

  • to apply microeconomic theory, game theory, behavioral economics and econometric analysis to explore traditional general management questions
  • to conduct a case study of how employees in a real life organization are motivated
  • to interact with a real life organization and provide it with recommendations on how to improve employee motivation
  • how to learn from reading aritcles in international journals and think critically about empirical evidence
  • how to collaborate effectively in groups
Required prerequisite knowledge
None
Exam

Folder evaluation

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Individual home exam 2 Weeks Letter grades All
Group case study (report and presentations) Letter grades All

Students will receive one grade based on the two components in the folder. Only students who have completed the group case study, and the course requirements, during the course will be allowed to take the individual home exam.There will be no resits for the exam. If students are sick during the exam period, an extension will be granted.

Coursework requirements
Presentations in group (scientific paper presentation), Group written assignment and presentation (practice exam), At least 70% overall attendance, 100% Compulsory attendance first week of class
Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Mari Rege
Course teacher: Espen Sagen
Course teacher: Espen Sagen
Study Program Director: Yuko Onozaka
Course teacher: Mari Rege
Course coordinator: Mari Rege
Method of work

1. Lectures: 26 hours

2. Seminar (scientific paper presentations): 4 hours

3. Workshop (practice exam): 2 hours

4. Case study seminars: 16 hours

5. Guidance: as needed

6. Self-study: 120 hours

7. Preparing case study: 90 hours

Overlapping courses
Course Reduction (SP)
Economics of Motivation (MØA300_1) 10
Open for
Master in Accounting and Auditing Business Administration - Master of Science Business Administration - Master of Science (5 years)
Course assessment
Students will have the opportunity to give feedback on the course first in an early dialogue, and then in a written course evaluation at the end of the course.
Literature
The syllabus can be found in Leganto