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An investigation into performance based pay in Nigerian financial institutionsPURPOSE – To critically investigate the effect/impact the implementation of both team and individual based pay has when responses are measured in terms of teamworking, job satisfaction, culture and commitment in 2 Nigerian financial institutions. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH – The study presents the first empirical case-study research carried out in Nigeria. The data are based on 2 Nigerian financial institutions surveys from 2002 to 2006. The analysis addresses the impact of the introduction of PRP within these institutions. Questionnaires were sent out to the 226 employees. Interviews and focus groups were also carried out with both managers and employees across both organisations. FINDINGS – The findings indicate the importance of valence for monetary incentives, the instrumentality of performance for the monetary incentives and clear individual and group objectives for improving performance. On the basis of the analysis of the data from employees covered by the scheme, the results suggests that there are clear indications that it has raised motivational levels, though employees prefer working with individual performance related pay than in teams, but would not mind working in teams if it is linked to a reward, but the responses indicate that individual performance related pay has damaged the concept of team working. The results indicated a positive link of PRP having a positive effect with employees on higher grade levels; this result support other results from a number of earlier UK studies. The results also indicate that the introduction of PRP can enhance culture change and enhanced performance but may not ultimately lead to commitment from employees. The findings also indicate a positive link between PRP, improved individual and organisational performance, change in culture and job satisfaction. Though the research indicates positive outcomes from one organisation it also indicates negative outcomes from the other organisation. Why would that occur, as both organisations operate the same form of individual PRP? It leads the researcher to conclude that PRP must be modified to take into account the cultural (national & organisational) implications of the transference western management practices into non-western organisations. The research finishes by listing out implications for management and recommendations. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS – As this study utilises data from Nigerian financial institutions only, its results cannot be generalised to other sectors and countries characterised by different cultures and contexts. However, what is critical though is that the approach used to finding these results can be applied in a wide variety of situations, thus enabling the examination of external validity. ORIGINALITY/VALUE – This study is one of the first to explore the effect/impact of the introduction of performance related pay in Nigerian financial institutions and reflecting on the historic cultural context of gift giving and culture within organisations and the impact this has on the success or failure of PRP schemes. It also provides a new empirical evidence on the use of performance related pay. The results also show a link between the introduction of performance related pay and a change in the psychological contract from a relational contract to a transactional psychological contract, where commitment (bought) and loyalty is based on the monetary aspects of the relationship. The results supports an interpretation of incentive pay as motivated by expectancy theory and provides new evidence on the relationship between the success of performance related and its use by employees as a bargaining tool for salary increases and new job roles. Its implications should be of interest to human resource managers when designing reward strategies for their organisations.