TOURNAMENTS AND OFFICE POLITICS: Evidence from a real effort experiment
AbstractIn many environments, tournaments can elicit more effort from workers, except perhaps when workers can sabotage each other. Because it is hard to separate effort, ability and output in many real workplace settings, the empirical evidence on the incentive effect of tournaments is thin. There is even less evidence on the impact of sabotage because real world acts of sabotage are often subtle manifestations of subjective peer evaluation or “offce politics.” We discuss a real effort experiment in which effort, quality adjusted output and o?ce politics are compared under piece rates and tournaments. Our results suggest that tournaments increase e?ort only in the absence of offce politics. Competitors are more likely to sabotage each other in tournaments and, as a result, workers actually provide less e?ort simply because they expect to be the victims of sabotage. Adjusting output for quality with the rating of an independent auditor shrinks the incentive effect of the tournament even further since output tends to become more slipshod. "The person who says ‘I’m not political’ is in great danger... Only the fittest will survive, and the fittest will be the ones who understand their offce’s politics." Jean Hollands, quoted in Playing Offce Politics, Newsweek, 16 September 1985
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0709.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Other versions of this item:
- Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews & John Schirm, 2010. "Tournaments and Office Politics: Evidence from a Real Effort Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 504-17, March.
- Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Matthews, Peter Hans & Schirm, John, 2007. "Tournaments and Office Politics: Evidence from a Real Effort Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2972, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-09-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-09-09 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2007-09-09 (Experimental Economics)
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