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An Empirical Examination of Goals and Performance-to-Goal Following the Introduction of an Incentive Bonus Plan with Participative Goal Setting

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Author Info

  • Shannon W. Anderson

    ()
    (Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005; and School of Economics and Commerce, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia)

  • Henri C. Dekker

    ()
    (Department of Accounting, VU University Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Karen L. Sedatole

    ()
    (Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824)

Abstract

Prior research documents performance improvements following the implementation of pay-for-performance (PFP) bonus plans. However, bonus plans typically pay for performance relative to a goal, and the manager whose performance is to be evaluated often participates in setting the goal. In these settings, PFP affects managers' incentive to influence goal levels in addition to affecting performance effort. Prior field research is silent on the effect of PFP on goals, the focus of this paper. Using sales and sales goal data from 61 stores of a U.S. retail firm over 10 quarters, we find that the introduction of a performance-based bonus plan with participative goal setting is accompanied by lower goals that are more accurate predictors of subsequent sales performance. Statistical tests indicate that increased goal accuracy is attributable to managers "meeting but not beating" goals and to new information being impounded in goals. We further investigate how differences among managers are associated with goal levels. We find significant "manager effects" but no "supervisor effects." In additional tests we find that cross-sectional differences among managers are related to differing marginal returns to slack-building effort. Turning to the role of new information on goals, we find that prior period performance has incremental power to explain goal levels in the postplan period. Our results provide field-based evidence that PFP and participative goal setting affect the level and accuracy of goals, effects that are associated with both information exchange and with managers' incentives to influence goals.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1090.1088
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 90-109

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:1:p:90-109

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Keywords: pay for performance; incentives; compensation; goal participation;

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Cited by:
  1. Ho, Joanna L.Y. & Wu, Anne & Wu, Steve Y.C., 2014. "Performance measures, consensus on strategy implementation, and performance: Evidence from the operational-level of organizations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 38-58.
  2. Joaquín Gómez Miñambres, 2011. "Make it challenging : motivation through goal setting," Economics Working Papers we1123, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Gómez-Miñambres, Joaquín, 2012. "Motivation through goal setting," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1223-1239.
  4. Zubanov, N.V., 2012. "Risk Aversion and Effort in an Incentive Pay Scheme with Multiplicative Noise: Theory and Experimental Evidence," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2012-005-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.

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