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Observability and overcoming coordination failure in organizations: An experimental study

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  • Jordi Brandts

    ()

  • David Cooper

    ()

Abstract

Motivated by problems of coordination failure in organizations, we examine how overcoming coordination failure and maintaining coordination depend on the ability of individuals to observe others’ choices. Subjects’ payoffs depend on coordinating at high effort levels in a weak-link game. Treatments vary along two dimensions. First, subjects either start with low financial incentives for coordination, which typically leads to coordination failure, and then are switched to higher incentives or start with high incentives, which usually yield effective coordination, and are switched to low incentives. Second, as the key treatment variable, subjects either observe the effort levels chosen by all individuals in their experimental group (full feedback) or observe only the minimum effort (limited feedback). We find three primary results: (1) When starting from coordination failure the use of full feedback improves subjects’ ability to overcome coordination failure, (2) When starting with good coordination the use of full feedback has no effect on subjects’ ability to avoid slipping into coordination failure, and (3) History-dependence, defined as dependence of current effort levels on past incentives, is strengthened by the use of full feedback. Copyright Economic Science Association 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 407-423

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:9:y:2006:i:4:p:407-423

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

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Keywords: Incentives; Coordination; Observation; Experiments; Organizations;

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  1. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "A Change Would Do You Good . . . An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 606.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 1997. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-116/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Cooper, David J. & Kagel, John H., 2003. "The impact of meaningful context on strategic play in signaling games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 311-337, March.
  4. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  5. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," Industrial Organization 9803004, EconWPA.
  6. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-48, March.
  7. C.Mónica Capra & Tomomi Tanaka & ColinF. Camerer & Lauren Feiler & Veronica Sovero & CharlesN. Noussair, 2009. "The Impact of Simple Institutions in Experimental Economies with Poverty Traps," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 977-1009, 07.
  8. Antoni Bosch-DomËnech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2003. "Imitation of successful behaviour in cournot markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 495-524, 04.
  9. Roberto Weber & Colin Camerer & Marc Knez, 2004. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and “Weak Link†Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-48, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Dietmar Fehr, 2011. "The Persistence of "Bad" Precedents and the Need for Communication: A Coordination Experiment," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Cason, Timothy & Sheremeta, Roman & Zhang, Jingjing, 2012. "Communication and Efficiency in Competitive Coordination Games," MPRA Paper 52107, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Garcia-Rosa, Alfonso & Kiss, Hubert Janos & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2010. "Do Social Networks Prevent Bank Runs?," UMUFAE Economics Working Papers 9723, DIGITUM. Universidad de Murcia.
  4. Feri, Francesco & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Efficiency Gains from Team-Based Coordination: Large-Scale Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3741, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Banerjee, Simanti & de, Vries Frans & Hanley, Nicholas & van, Soest Daan, 2013. "The Impact of Information Provision on Agglomeration Bonus Performance: An Experimental Study on Local Networks," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2013-09, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  6. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "A Change Would Do You Good... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," Working Papers 115, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Cary Deck & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2010. "Perfect and Imperfect Real-Time Monitoring in a Minimum-Effort Game," Working Papers 10-18, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  8. Maoliang Ye & Sam Asher & Lorenzo Casaburi & Plamen Nikolov, 2010. "One step at a time: Does gradualism build coordination?," Framed Field Experiments 00188, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Banerjee, Simanti & Kwasnica, Anthony M & Shortle, James S, 2011. "Agglomeration Bonus in Local Networks: A laboratory examination of spatial coordination failure," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2011-18, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  10. Chong, Sophia & Guillen, Pablo, 2012. "The discreet charm of the collective contract," Working Papers 2012-03, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  11. Blaufus, Kay & Möhlmann, Axel, 2012. "Security returns and tax aversion bias: Behavioral responses to tax labels," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 133, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  12. Hubert Janos Kiss & Ismael Rodriguez-Lara & Alfonso Rosa-Garcia, 2013. "Do Social Networks Prevent or Promote Bank Runs?," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1344, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  13. Stefania Bortolotti & Giovanna Devetag & Andreas Ortmann, 2009. "Exploring the effects of real effort in a weak-link experiment," CEEL Working Papers 0901, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

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