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Incentives That Induce Task-Related Effort, Helping, and Knowledge Sharing in Workgroups

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Author Info

  • Enno Siemsen

    ()
    (Department of Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820)

  • Sridhar Balasubramanian

    ()
    (Department of Marketing, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599)

  • Aleda V. Roth

    ()
    (Department of Management, College of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634)

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    Abstract

    Cooperation and coordination among employees can yield significant productivity gains. In this study, we explore the design of optimal incentive systems that induce task-related effort, helping, and knowledge sharing within workgroups. We identify three distinct types of employee linkages that must be accommodated in the design of effective incentive systems: (1) outcome linkages, whereby the outcome of one employee's task is influenced by that of another; (2) help linkages, whereby each employee can directly expend effort on helping another; and (3) knowledge linkages, whereby each employee can share job-related knowledge with another. We analytically investigate the effect of each type of employee linkage, and some combinations of these linkages, on the optimal design of incentive systems. Our analytical results demonstrate how, by optimally weighting individual-level and workgroup-level incentives, managers can balance the need to induce cooperation and coordination among employees with the need to manage employees' incentive-related risk. Counter to conventional wisdom, we also demonstrate that both group and individual incentives are necessary to facilitate cooperative behaviors such as knowledge sharing in workgroups. Further, we empirically test some of the insights developed from the analytical models; our empirical findings support these analytical results.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0714
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 1533-1550

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:10:p:1533-1550

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    Related research

    Keywords: incentive theory; compensation theory; task linkages; cooperation; knowledge sharing; moral hazard; job design; teams;

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    Cited by:
    1. Chieh-Peng Lin & Sheng-Wuu Joe, 2012. "To Share or Not to Share: Assessing Knowledge Sharing, Interemployee Helping, and Their Antecedents Among Online Knowledge Workers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(4), pages 439-449, July.

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