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Does Monitoring Work? A Field Experiment with Multiple Forms of Counterproductive Behaviour

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Author Info

  • Michèle Belot

    ()
    (School of Management, University Edinburgh)

  • Marina Schröder

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

This paper provides .eld experimental evidence on the effects of monitoring in a context where workers can engage in various forms of counterproductive behaviour and only one of them is monitored and incentivised. We hire students to do a job for us (identifying euro coins) for which they are paid a .at fee. There are various ways they can behave counterproductively: they can perform sloppily, not complete the task within the requested time or even steal some of the coins. We study how monitoring one productivity dimension (sloppiness) spills over to others (tardiness and theft). We find that introducing lax monitoring does not improve performance, but increases tardiness substantially. Strict monitoring increases tardiness to the same extent, but also leads to substantial improvements in performance. Theft, on the other hand, occurs more rarely and its prevalence is not affected by the monitoring scheme. We conclude that monitoring does have a discipling effect on workers, but at the same time, workers retaliate for being monitored and do so in the least costly manner for themselves (both in monetary and non-monetary terms).

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File URL: http://www.fww.ovgu.de/fww_media/femm/femm_2013/2013_06.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 130006.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:130006

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Keywords: counterproductive behaviour; monitoring; experiment;

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References

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  1. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
  3. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  4. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, . "The Hidden Costs of Control," IEW - Working Papers 250, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Belot, Michèle & Schröder, Marina, 2013. "Sloppy work, lies and theft: A novel experimental design to study counterproductive behaviour," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 233-238.
  6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  9. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  10. Amadou Boly, 2011. "On the incentive effects of monitoring: evidence from the lab and the field," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 241-253, May.
  11. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
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