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Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment

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  • Christiane Bradler

    (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim)

  • Robert Dur

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Susanne Neckermann

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Arjan Non

    (Maastricht University)

Abstract

This paper reports the results from a controlled field experiment designed to investigate the causal effect of public recognition on employee performance. We hired more than 300 employees to work on a three-hour data-entry task. In a random sample of work groups, workers unexpectedly received recognition after two hours of work. We find that recognition increases subsequent performance substantially, and particularly so when recognition is exclusively provided to the best performers. Remarkably, workers who did not receive recognition are mainly responsible for this performance increase. This result is consistent with workers having a preference for conformity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 13-038/VII.

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Date of creation: 04 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20130038

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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Keywords: Employee motivation; recognition; reciprocity; conformity; field experiment;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Steven Levitt & John List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "The behavioralist goes to school: Leveraging behavioral economics to improve educational performance," Framed Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website 00379, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Hoogveld, Nicky & Zubanov, Nikolay, 2014. "The Power of (No) Recognition: Experimental Evidence from the University Classroom," IZA Discussion Papers 7953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Kvaløy, Ola & Nieken, Petra & Schöttner, Anja, 2013. "Hidden Benefits of Reward: A Field Experiment on Motivation and Monetary Incentives," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University 451, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Oriana Bandiera & Valentino Larcinese & Imran Rasul, 2014. "Blissful Ignorance? A Natural Experiment on the Effect of Feedback on Students'Performance," Working Papers 511, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Sabrina Jeworrek & Vanessa Mertins, 2014. "When Pay Increases are Not Enough: The Economic Value of Wage Delegation in the Field," IAAEU Discussion Papers, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) 201408, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  6. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann & Xiaolan Yang, 2014. "Knowing that You Matter, Matters! The Interplay of Meaning, Monetary Incentives, and Worker Recognition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 14-043/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Danilov, Anastasia & Sliwka, Dirk, 2013. "Can Contracts Signal Social Norms? Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7477, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Julian Conrads & Bernd Irlenbusch & Tommaso Reggiani & Rainer Michael Rilke & Dirk Sliwka, 2013. "How to Hire Helpers? Evidence From a Field Experiment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences 04-03, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  9. Nava Ashraf & Oriana Bandiera & Scott Lee, 2013. "Awards Unbundled: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE 46, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. Leonie Gerhards & Neele Siemer, 2014. "Private versus Public Feedback - The Incentive Effects of Symbolic Awards," Economics Working Papers, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus 2014-01, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  11. Rosendahl Huber, Laura & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2014. "Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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