Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Grush, Joseph E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Compensation (Psychology); Sex differences (Psychology); Reward (Psychology)


The present study was primarily designed to determine whether a past deficits or a low performance hypothesis provides a more viable interpretation of previous findings that subjects overallocate and underallocate rewards tc workers .on opposite- and same-sex-typed tasks, respectively. Similar to the design of previous research, traditional and nontraditional females and males divided a fixed sum of money between female and male coworkers who jointly performed feminine, masculine, and neutral tasks. Different from the design of previous research, the sex of the high performance worker was systematically crossed with the sex-typed nature of the task. A secondary purpose of the study was to explore whether allocators* internal {effort plus ability) and external (difficulty plus chance) attributions paralleled their reward allocations. Analysis of reward allocations indicated that the main effect for Performance was significant and the Sex x Traditionality x Performance interaction was marginally significant. Specifically, female and male traditional subjects gave moderately more rewards (h55) to low performance workers than their performance levels warranted. In contrast, female nontraditional subjects gave less compensation [2%), while male nontraditional subjects gave more compensation [6%) , Analysis of attributional judgments produced significant Traditionality x Task x Attribute x Performance and Sex x Traditionality x Task x Attribute interactions. While the attributional judgments were meaningful in their own right, they did not parallel the reward allocations. At.the behavioral level, the allocation data clearly supported the low performance variant of the compensation hypothesis. At the cognitive level, the attributional data clearly supported the past deficits variant of the compensation hypothesis. The lack of consistency between the behavioral and cognitive domains suggests that an attributions-about-performance model of reward allocation behavior is deficient and that a new model is needed. In this regard, a deservingness-of-reward model may provide a better conceptual framework because it incorporates other factors (e.g,, time worked) which are ignored by the attributional model, Alternative strategies for testing the deservingness model were proposed to determine whether it can ultimately reconcile the discrepancy between subjects' reward allocation behavior and their cognitions about distributive justice.


Bibliography: pages 61-66.


vii, 84 pages




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