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

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References

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  1. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  2. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Canice Prendergast & Robert H. Topel, 1993. "Favoritism in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 4427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 1, Royal Economic Society.
  6. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. de Grip, Andries & Sauermann, Jan, 2011. "The Effects of Training on Own and Co-Worker Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Julie Rosaz & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2012. "Lies and Biased Evaluation: A Real-Effort Experiment," Post-Print halshs-00617120, HAL.
  3. 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.
  4. Uwe Jirjahn & Erik Poutsma, 2011. "The Use of Performance Appraisal Systems: Evidence from Dutch Establishment Data," Research Papers in Economics 2011-02, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

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