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Organizational Structure, Communication, and Group Ethics

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  • Matthew Ellman
  • Paul Pezanis-Christou

Abstract

This paper investigates experimentally how a group's structure affects its ethical behavior towards a passive outsider. We analyze one vertical and two horizontal structures (one requiring consensus, one implementing a compromise by averaging proposals). We also control for internal communication. The data support our main predictions: (1) horizontal, averaging structures are more ethical than vertical structures (where subordinates do not feel responsible) and than consensual structures (where responsibility is dynamically diffused); (2) communication makes vertical structures more ethical (subordinates with voice feel responsible); (3) with communication, vertical structures are more ethical than consensual structures (where in-group bias hurts the outsider). (JEL C92, D23, L21, M14)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2478-91

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2478-91

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James Bland & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2013. "Tacit Coordination in Games with Third-Party Externalities," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Sarah Jacobson & Jason Delaney, 2013. "Those Outsiders: How Downstream Externalities Affect Public Good Provision," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.
  4. Christoph Engel & Bettina Rockenbach, 2009. "We Are Not Alone: The Impact of Externalities on Public Good Provision," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2009_29, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised May 2011.
  5. Bernhard Kittel & Wolfgang Luhan, 2013. "Decision making in networks: an experiment on structure effects in a group dictator game," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 141-154, January.
  6. Nicholas Wilson, 2012. "Shock to the System: Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Child Mortality," Department of Economics Working Papers 2012-03, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jul 2013.
  7. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness & Matthew Ellman, 2012. "Let's Talk: How Communication Affects Contract Design," Working Papers 648, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Delaney, Jason & Jacobson, Sarah, 2014. "Those outsiders: How downstream externalities affect public good provision," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 340-352.
  9. Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2012. "Harm on an Innocent Outsider as a Lubricant of Cooperation – An Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_02, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  10. Charness, Gary & Brandts, Jordi & Ellman, Matthew, 2012. "Let’s talk: How communication affects contract design," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6z24s6rv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  11. Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2011. "Oligopoly as a Socially Embedded Dilemma. An Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_01, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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