GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The impact of financial rewards in improving students’ academic results: The case of cadet pilot training within Etihad Airways
Paper Proposal Text :
In modern times, the recipe for success for organisations is not just focusing on consumers or clients, but also looking within to maintain a motivated workforce for longer term sustainability. The question in terms of the aspects that drive employee motivation remains open to many different interpretations. Deeprose (1994) claimed that employees’ productivity and their motivation could ultimately be improved through the introduction of effective reward and recognition system, which ensures improved organisational performance in return. According to Martin and Fellenz (2010) the purpose of any reward system is to attract, retain and motivate employees.
Rewarding employees’ performance has become a widely utilised strategy and has also seen tremendous change in terms of approach, methods and forms. According to Luthans (2000), financial and non-financial types of rewards can be identified and positively adopted to improve performance behaviours of employees. Therefore, financial rewards could take the form of pay-for-performance (P4P), such as annual salary increase, yearly bonus, job promotion, commission incentives, gifts, etc. while non-financial rewards could take the form of social recognition such as appreciation awards, certificate, acknowledgement, etc. which Neckermann and Kosfeld (2008), referred to this type of non-financial rewards as materials award. Perry et al (2006) argued that financial rewards does not necessarily act as a motivating factor for employees, while Srivastava et al (2001) claimed that financial rewards might have a de-motivating effects amongst employees.
Understanding the effectiveness of any reward system and its impact on motivation and performance would not be complete, unless the different types of motivations are explored. There are two types of motivation, Intrinsic and Extrinsic. People are not all the same and therefore their motivational needs would vary significantly. Ryan & Deci (2000) claimed that in relation to the self-determination theory, the type of work motivation that employees are driven by influences the differences of how much energy is placed on work effort. As per the self-determination theory, intrinsic motivation represents self-directed motivation in its purest form while extrinsic motivation places more emphasis on the effects of the outcome of the activity, rather than the activity itself (Gagné & Deci, 2005).
Finally, within the context of students’ education, this research aims to understand how students would perform in relation to this phenomenon.

This research specifically looks at the case of Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Etihad Airways has introduced a program for cadet pilots where high school graduates are enrolled in a 4 year university program, where they are provided class-room flying training along with regular academic courses. After graduation, they are enrolled in a flying training college, where they undergo 6 months of flying training, before finally getting their license. These cadets get a monthly salary for being on the program. Recently a Pay-for-performance program has been introduced, whereby their academic performance determines a bonus as was as salary hikes.
For the purpose of this empirical research, primary and secondary data will be obtained, using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative approach. As a first step, secondary data collection will be conducted through a review of relevant literatures, using academic journals, theoretical frameworks, books and online materials. Since expert researchers have collected this data, it will help create a deeper level of understanding of the P4P subject and help create sub-level research questions and arguments and help answer the main question in this research (Fink, 2010).
The primary source of information will be gathered and collected by conducting twelve semi-structured interviews of approximately one hour each. These interviews will help establish whether the adopted method of pay-for-performance has had any impact on their motivation to strive to obtain better results and whether the difference in the level of performance has had any relation to the two types of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Senior management team members will also be interviewed, in order to gauge their perception and views on the approach and effectiveness of the methodology and whether any improvement of performance has been observed as a result of the implementation of the reward scheme.
A larger population will also be studied, using an online questionnaire targeting hundred and eighty seven respondents to obtain quantitative data required for the research. The questionnaire will be anonymous, with eighty per cent closed-ended questions using a five point Likert scale, creating a higher level of consistency for comparability and twenty per cent open-ended questions to allow respondents an opportunity to provide additional information (Bryman and Bell, 2007).

The expected outcome of the research is to understand the impact of a performance reward system on the academic results of the cadet pilot training programme at Etihad Airways. Therefore, the central question to be explored in this empirical study will be as follows:
Does financial rewards system improve students’ academic results? “The case of cadet pilot training within Etihad Airways”.
The following sub-questions will attempt to further explore and investigate other factors associated with the highlighted subject in the central question:
1. To what extent performance is impacted by financial rewards?
2. What are the critical factors that play a major role in driving cadets’ better performance?
3. How do pay for performance and bonus pay contribute to students’ motivation to achieve better results?
This research will primarily focus on assessing the effectiveness of linking pay to performance within this specific context and identify whether students are being motivated by this approach to improve performance.
Key words: Youth, GCC national, motivation, intrinsic drive, extrinsic drive, pay, bonus, financial rewards, performance, students, aviation, pilots.