20 November 2008

- Bonus Stress -

The problem with this idea is that it presumes that executive bonuses are linked directly to performance. While in some cases this is undoubtedly the case, in others, bonuses seem to be more like a regular (albeit variable) aspect of the compensation. That is, many firms seem to give out large bonuses to their executives whether the company performs well or not. Usually the rationale is retention: the company needs to pay these bonuses in order to retain its best talent. But this factor calls into question the premise of the study: namely that high bonuses induce performance-debilitating stress. If high bonus is not directly related to performance, however, it's not clear how, if at all, the bonus might figure into the production of stress.