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Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

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Author Info

  • Christine Harbring

    ()
    (RWTH Aachen, 52062 Aachen, Germany)

  • Bernd Irlenbusch

    ()
    (University of Cologne, 50923 Cologne, Germany)

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    Abstract

    Although relative performance schemes are pervasive in organizations, reliable empirical data on induced sabotage behavior are almost nonexistent. We study sabotage in repeated tournaments in a controlled laboratory experiment and observe that effort and sabotage are higher for higher wage spreads. Additionally, we find that also in the presence of tournament incentives, agents react reciprocally to higher wages by exerting higher effort. Destructive activities are reduced by explicitly calling them by their name "sabotage." Communication among principal and agents can curb sabotage when they agree on flat prize structures and increased output. If sabotage is not possible, the principals choose tournament incentives more often. This paper was accepted by Peter Wakker, decision analysis.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1296
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 611-627

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:611-627

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    Related research

    Keywords: decision analysis; applications; organizational studies; decision making; motivation; incentives;

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    Cited by:
    1. Fehr, Ernst & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2011. "The Development of Egalitarianism, Altruism, Spite and Parochialism in Childhood and Adolescence," IZA Discussion Papers 5530, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: An Overview," CESifo Working Paper Series 4422, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Oliver Gurtler, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: A Survey," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 051, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Loukas Balafoutas & Florian Lindner & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Sabotage in tournaments: Evidence from a natural experiment," Working Papers 2012-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rilke, Rainer Michael & Schielke, Anne & Walkowitz, Gari, 2014. "Honesty in tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 90-93.
    6. Steven Tucker & Charles Noussair & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding And Heterogeneous Behavior In Contest Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 491-514, 07.
    7. Michèle Belot & Marina Schröder, 2012. "Sloppy Work, Lies and Theft: A Novel Experimental Design to Study Counterproductive Behaviour," FEMM Working Papers 120018, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    8. Curtis R. Price & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2012. "Endowment Origin, Demographic Effects and Individual Preferences in Contests," Working Papers 12-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    9. Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Marina Schröder, 2012. "The Desire to Influence Others," FEMM Working Papers 120027, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    10. Thomas Buser & Anna Dreber, 2013. "The Flipside of Comparative Payment Schemes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-190/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2012. "Productive versus destructive efforts in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 461-468.
    12. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2013. "Gender Differences in Competition and Sabotage," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79750, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Andersson, Ola & Huysentruyt, Marieke & Miettinen, Topi & Stephan, Ute, 2014. "Person-Organization Fit and Incentives: A Causal Test," Working Paper Series 1010, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    14. Kidd, Michael & Nicholas, Aaron & Rai, Birendra, 2013. "Tournament outcomes and prosocial behaviour," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 387-401.
    15. Andrej Angelovski & Jordi Brandts & Carles Sola, 2014. "Hiring and Escalation Bias in Subjective Performance Evaluations: A Laboratory Experiment," BELIS Working Papers 2014-02, BELIS, Istanbul Bilgi University.

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