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.