The impact of pay knowledge on organisational performance: Investigating Finnish profit-sharing schemes

Christina Sweins

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Many studies have been carried out on the impact of pay systems on both employee attitudes and organisational performance. However, it is still unclear how the outcomes are developed. In this thesis my aim has been to study the impact of pay knowledge on employee attitudes and organisational performance in the context of Finnish personnel funds, which are deferred profit-sharing schemes. The findings in this thesis are based on four separate articles. By pay knowledge I mean employee knowledge of both joint and firm specific principles of personnel funds. The data used in the articles were collected using a questionnaire in 31 organisations and interviews in 36 organisations that have personnel funds. Additionally, financial data was gathered for personnel fund companies and comparison companies. The results reveal that the impact of pay knowledge is directly connected to performance and not mediated through pay satisfaction as earlier research argues. This finding suggests that pay knowledge may have a stronger independent impact on the effectiveness of the pay system than previously believed. I argue further that actual knowledge is a more reliable measure than perceived knowledge in estimating the relationship between pay knowledge and pay effectiveness, and thus researchers should prefer measures of actual knowledge. To enhance knowledge about the personnel fund, it is not enough to just provide feedback on financial figures. Communication about fund related matters is important in order to increase pay knowledge and the employees' 'line of sight'. The results suggest, moreover, that making subjective performance assessments based on uninformed respondents may be a more serious source of bias than single respondent bias. This would mean that many surveys on the financial impacts of the pay system could be done more economically since there would be less need to gather a large number of respondents from individual firms.
Translated title of the contributionThe impact of pay knowledge on organisational performance : investigating Finnish profit-sharing schemes
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Vartiainen, Matti, Supervising Professor
  • Kalmi, Panu, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4103-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • profit-sharing
  • pay knowledge
  • performance effects
  • pay satisfaction
  • commitment

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