The research is a blow to government plans to introduce the system for teachers, recently ruled unlawful in the High Court.
The research finds that while the system is relatively successful in the private sector, it is fraught with problems in the public sector. For example, in three-quarters of state schemes pay awards were too small to motivate staff, compared with just over half in the private sector.
Public sector employees were more likely to find such schemes inappropriate and mistrust their line manager's judgment. Almost three-quarters of private sector firms rated their schemes successful compared with fewer than half in the public sector.