King, Harriet C., Pastel, Robert, Ward, Paul and Wallace, Charles (2013) Extrinsic Motivation and User Performance. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 57 (1). pp. 1017-1021. ISSN 1541-9312

Among daily computer users who are proficient, some are flexible at accomplishing unfamiliar tasks on their own and others have difficulty. We hypothesize that extrinsically motivated users have difficulty with unfamiliar computer tasks and skill transfers, whereas intrinsically motivated daily users accomplish unfamiliar tasks readily. Nine extrinsically motivated users and seven intrinsic users were directed and observed with qualitative ethnographic methods using a think-aloud-type verbal protocol. The observations were coded based on a rubric. The coding was checked with two additional raters, and inter-rater reliability was greater than 90%. The data were then statistically analyzed. Findings show that extrinsically motivated users in all age groups and competence levels have weak productivity when faced with unfamiliar tasks or software, while intrinsically motivated users have few difficulties. This work draws attention to an underrepresented group of competent but extrinsically motivated computer users who become unproductive when operating in unfamiliar conditions. The data suggest that researchers should control for motivation style when evaluating user interface designs.

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