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Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation

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Author Info

  • Breuer, Kathrin

    ()
    (University of Cologne)

  • Nieken, Petra

    ()
    (University of Bonn)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    ()
    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

We empirically investigate possible distortions in subjective performance evaluations. A key hypothesis is that evaluations are more upward biased the closer the social ties between supervisor and appraised employee. We test this hypothesis with a company data set from a call center organization which contains not only subjective assessments but also several more objective measures of performance. Controlling for these performance measures, we find strong evidence that evaluations are upwards biased in smaller teams and some evidence that supervisors give better ratings to employees they themselves have evaluated before.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4913.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Managerial Science, 2013, 7 (2), 141-157
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4913

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Related research

Keywords: subjective performance evaluation; bias; social ties; team size; favoritism;

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References

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  1. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2004. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 404, Econometric Society.
  2. Canice Prendergast & Robert H. Topel, 1993. "Favoritism in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 4427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  4. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Moers, Frank, 2005. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation: the impact of diversity and subjectivity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-80, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
  2. Andries De Grip & Jan Sauermann, 2011. "The Effects of Training on Own and Co-Worker Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0067, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  3. Uwe Jirjahn & Erik Poutsma, 2013. "The Use of Performance Appraisal Systems: Evidence from Dutch Establishment Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 801-828, October.
  4. Alexander Sebald & Markus Walzl, 2012. "Subjective performance evaluations and reciprocity in principal-agent relations," Working Papers 2012-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

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