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Becoming “We” Instead of “I”, Identity Management and Incentives in the Workplace

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  • Jocelyn Donze
  • Trude Gunnes

Abstract

This article studies how a firm fosters formal and informal interaction among its employees to create a collective identity and positively influence their effort. We develop an agency model, in which employees have both a personal and a social ideal for effort. The firm does not observe the personal ideals, which gives rise to an adverse selection problem, but can make its workforce more sensitive to the social ideal by allocating part of working hours to social interaction. We show that there are two reasons why the firm invests in social capital. First, it reinforces the effectiveness of monetary incentives. Second, by creating a shared identity in the workforce, the firm is able to reduce the adverse selection problem. We also show that the firm allocates more time to bonding activities when employees have low personal ideals for effort or when they are more heterogeneous as regards these ideals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2013-17.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2013-17

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Keywords: agency theory; social interaction; social norms; norm regulation.;

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  1. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-45, March.
  3. Robert Dur & Joeri Sol, 2008. "Social Interaction, Co-Worker Altruism, and Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 2476, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  5. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  6. Huck, Steffen & Kübler, Dorothea & Weibull, Jörgen, 2010. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 5264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  8. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520, 07.
  9. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  10. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 417-458.
  11. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Social capital in the workplace: Evidence on its formation and consequences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 724-748, August.
  12. Theilen, Bernd, 2003. "Simultaneous moral hazard and adverse selection with risk averse agents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 283-289, May.
  13. Paul Fischer & Steven Huddart, 2008. "Optimal Contracting with Endogenous Social Norms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1459-75, September.
  14. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  15. Erik Canton, 2005. "Power of Incentives in Public Organizations When Employees Are Intrinsically Motivated," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 664-, December.
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