CORRAL: Colloquium on Research Results Advancing Leadership
This speaker series provides an opportunity for scholars to share and learn about cutting edge research related to the topic of leadership, broadly defined. You are invited to the third installment of CORRAL, with HBS Professor Elizabeth Keenan on Thursday, February 18 at 4:00 p.m. An RSVP is necessary to attend and refreshments will be served.
“Opting In To Prosocial Incentives”
Prior work has demonstrated that prosocial incentives – where individuals’ effort benefits a charitable organization – can be more effective than standard incentives, particularly when the stakes are low. Yet little is known about the effectiveness of prosocial incentives when people can easily avoid them – specifically, on people’s decisions to participate or engage with the incentivized activity in the first place.
At this meeting, Dr. Elizabeth Keenan, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, will deliver results of a study on the effectiveness of prosocial incentives for motivating people’s participation decisions using two field experiments: one that sought to encourage recycling and the other that incentivized completion of effortful tasks. Across both studies, individuals were more likely to avoid activities that involved prosocial incentives compared to standard incentives, regardless of stake size. People were less likely to participate in an activity even when the incentive had a mere option of a donation. The results identify significant limits for the scope of prosocial incentives as effective motivation tools.
More about Dr. Elizabeth Keenan
Elizabeth Keenan is an assistant professor of business administration in the Marketing Unit. She teaches the Marketing course in the MBA required curriculum.
Professor Keenan’s research explores individuals’ prosocial choices and behaviors within the domains of charitable giving and environmental sustainability. Her research has been published in Science, the Journal of Consumer Research, and Nature Climate Change, and it has been cited by media outlets including NPR, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report.
Professor Keenan earned her PhD in marketing at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego; an MAS in marine biodiversity and conservation, also at UC San Diego; and a BS in biology at Loyola Marymount University. Prior to her doctoral studies, Professor Keenan spent ten years in nonprofit management and education at the Aquarium of the Pacific.