An experimental investigation of the interactions among combinations of formal mechanisms and social norms
AbstractEmployees often make decisions that involve a trade-off between improving the performance of the own business unit or department and improving overall firm performance. Previous research has shown that such decisions are shaped by formal mechanisms such as incentive and information systems as well as by the descriptive social norms of the firm. This study explicitly recognizes that employees are subject to multiple formal mechanisms and investigates a specific aspect of a combination of formal mechanisms, namely the extent to which each formal mechanism motivates employees to act in the firm’s best interest. Relying on theory from social psychology, we hypothesize that (1) combinations in which not all formal mechanisms motivate employees to act in the firm’s best interest (i.e. misaligned combinations) lead to a lower degree of employee decisions that are in line with the firm’s best interest than when all formal mechanisms motivate employees to act in the firm’s best interest (i.e. aligned combinations) and (2) descriptive social norms will drive employee decisions in case of misaligned combinations but not in case of aligned combinations. The results of our experiment are consistent with these hypotheses. Our results contribute to the stream of research that investigates interactions between formal mechanisms and social norms by explicitly taking into account that firms implement multiple formal mechanisms and by investigating the role of a typical characteristic of a combination of formal mechanisms
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2011-11.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 09 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Isabelle Vandenbroere).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.