Cooperation in a Company: a Large-scale Experiment

Marvin Deversi (University of Munich (LMU))
Martin Kocher (IHS Vienna & University of Vienna)
Christiane Schwieren (University of Heidelberg)

Abstract : We analyze cooperation within a company setting in order to study external validity and consequences of a cooperative attitude. In total, 910 employees of a large software company participate in a fully incentivized online experiment. We observe very high levels of cooperation in a modified public goods game and the typical conditional cooperation patterns. When linking cooperation levels with individual decisions and outcomes within the company, cooperation attitudes in our experiment are predictive, for instance, for the receipt of non-monetary apprecia-tion awards distributed among work team members. Salary increases and monetary awards are preferably allocated to less cooperative employees. This relationship is mainly relevant for employees that work in individual performance pay schemes rather than under company performance pay. Existing differences in the production functions of work teams and heteroge-neity in team compositions allow us to anlayze mechanisms that can explain our results.

Talk or Pay? - a Field Experiment on Bonuses and Performance Reviews

Kathrin Manthei (RFH Neuss)
Dirk Sliwka (University of Cologne)
Timo Vogelsang (University of Cologne)

Abstract : We investigate the causal effect of performance reviews – that is structured meetings between a supervisor and subordinate to discuss performance – and performance pay as well as their interplay implementing a 2x2 field experiment in a retail chain. In the performance pay treatments store managers receive a bonus for profit increases. In the performance review treatments store managers have regular meetings with their supervisors discussing their activities to increase profits. We find that performance reviews raise profits by 5%-8%. However, when additionally receiving performance pay the positive effect of reviews vanishes. Analyzing a simple extension of Bénabou/Tirole (2006), we rationalize this effect formally and provide empirical evidence that the use of bonuses changes the nature of review conversations.

Go Beyond (your) Average: a Field Experiment on Real-time Performance Feedback and Sales Productivity

Angela Steffen (University of Bern)
Frauke von Bieberstein (University of Bern)

Abstract : Real-time performance feedback is one of the major trends in human resource management. However, insights about the implications of providing ongoing and timely performance information to employees are still scarce. We present the results of a randomized controlled trial involving 164 sales employees of a large railway catering company in Switzerland. In the presence of a relative incentive scheme, we find that real-time information about average performance levels can significantly increase sales productivity. In our setting, we observe a revenue growth of up to 3.9%, which corresponds to over 0.4 million Swiss francs additional revenue per year. This effect is mainly driven by employees performing just below the average productivity level. The top- and poorest-performing workers do not show significant reactions.