Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Pay and performance in a customer service centre - principal and agents or principally angels?


Author Info

  • Aarbu, Karl Ove


  • Torsvik, Gaute

    (University of Bergen, Department of Economics)


We have followed a pay for performance reform in the phone based customer service centre of an insurance company, from its introduction in 2001 until the end of 2004. We use hard and soft data from the design and impact of the reform to contrast two theories of work motivation; the traditional self interest hypothesis that the principal-agent model builds on, with the hypothesis that fairness and reciprocity are significant motivational forces at workplaces. The reform was initiated to increase sales of insurance in the customer service centre and it gave the operators both economic incentives and fairness- and reciprocity incentives to increase their sales effort. The reform had a positive effect on sales; the operators answered more calls and sold insurance to a higher fraction of customers after the reform. This observation alone does not help us identify the importance of the motivational hypothesis we compare. However, when we look closer at the evolution of the design and impact of the payment plan, we conclude that our data correspond best with the standard principal-agent model.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 12/06.

as in new window
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2006_012

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Institutt for √łkonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Team incentives; multitask; fairness; reciprocity.;

Find related papers by JEL classification:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2006_012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kjell Erik Lommerud).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.