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Feedback, Self-Esteem, and Performance in Organizations

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Author Info

  • Camelia M. Kuhnen

    ()
    (Department of Finance, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

  • Agnieszka Tymula

    ()
    (Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003)

Abstract

We examine whether private feedback about relative performance can mitigate moral hazard in competitive environments by modifying the agents' self-esteem. In our experimental setting, people work harder and expect to rank better when told that they may learn their ranking, relative to cases when feedback will not be provided. Individuals who ranked better than expected decrease output but expect a better rank in the future, whereas those who ranked worse than expected increase output but lower their future rank expectations. Feedback helps create a ratcheting effect in productivity, mainly because of the fight for dominance at the top of the rank hierarchy. Our findings suggest that organizations can improve employee productivity by changing the likelihood of feedback, the reference group used to calculate relative performance, and the informativeness of the feedback message. This paper was accepted by Brad Barber, Teck Ho, and Terrance Odean, special issue editors.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1379
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 58 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 94-113

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:1:p:94-113

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Related research

Keywords: organizational studies; personnel; motivation-incentives; productivity;

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Cited by:
  1. Dur R. & Neckermann S. & Bradler C. & Non J.A., 2013. "Employee recognition and performance: A field experiment," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
  2. Qiang Fu & Changxia Ke & Fangfang Tan, 2013. ""Success breeds success" or "Pride goes before a fall"? Teams and Individuals in Best-of-Three Contests," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2013-06, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  3. Nadja Kairies & Miriam Krieger, 2013. "How do Non-Monetary Performance Incentives for Physicians Affect the Quality of Medical Care? – A Laboratory Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0414, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  4. Shakun D. Mago & Anya C. Savikhin & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2012. "Facing Your Opponents: Social identification and information feedback in contests," Working Papers 12-15, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  5. Leonie Gerhards & Neele Siemer, 2014. "Private versus Public Feedback - The Incentive Effects of Symbolic Awards," Economics Working Papers 2014-01, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  6. Charness, Gary & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vr4g446, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Gerald Eisenkopf & Tim Friehe, 2012. "Stop Watching and Start Listening! The Impact of Coaching and Peer Observation in tournaments," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-10, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  8. repec:dgr:uvatin:2013038 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "Gender Differences in Competitive and Non Competitive Environments: An Experimental Evidence," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201236, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  10. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
  11. Giuseppe Attanasi & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Rosemarie Nagel, 2013. "Disclosure of Belief-Dependent Preferences in a Trust Game," Working Papers 506, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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