IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

An analysis of changes to a team-based incentive plan and its effects on productivity, product quality, and absenteeism

  • Román, Francisco J.
Registered author(s):

    Using data from three production units of a large manufacturing plant that employs production teams in its assembly operations, this paper examines how changes made to an existing team-based incentive plan affects labor productivity, product quality, and worker absenteeism. The firm switched from a piece-rates contract and an attendance bonus and instituted a two tier incentive plan comprising two different but complementary performance-based bonus schemes: one tier based on individual team performance and the other tier on plant-wide performance. The incentives were introduced concurrently with management control initiatives intended to facilitate cooperation and monitoring among the teams. I find significant productivity gains and improvements in quality and absenteeism associated with the new incentive plan. These findings underscore two important points that have not been emphasized in existing empirical studies of incentive pay: incentive contracts for teams generate superior performance using combination of incentives, and the need to introduce organizational changes to facilitate cooperation and peer monitoring in tandem with incentive pay to capture greater incentive effects in team production.

    If 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.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361-3682(08)00070-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 5 (July)
    Pages: 589-618

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:34:y:2009:i:5:p:589-618
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Steven G. Allen, 1981. "Compensation, Safety, and Absenteeism: Evidence from the Paper Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(2), pages 207-218, January.
    2. Brown, Martin & Philips, Peter, 1986. "The Decline of the Piece-Rate System in California Canning: Technological Innovation, Labor Management, and Union Pressure, 1890–1947," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 564-601, December.
    3. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    4. Banker, Rajiv D. & Lee, Seok-Young & Potter, Gordon, 1996. "A field study of the impact of a performance-based incentive plan," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 195-226, April.
    5. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-72, October.
    7. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
    8. Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce S. Shearer, 1996. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-31, CIRANO.
    10. Nalbantian, Haig R & Schotter, Andrew, 1997. "Productivity under Group Incentives: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 314-41, June.
    11. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Cooperation in collective action," Natural Field Experiments 00211, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2001. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," NBER Working Papers 8306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Bruce Shearer, 2004. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 513-534.
    14. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    15. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
    16. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    17. Joesph E. Stiglitz, 1975. "Incentives, Risk, and Information: Notes Towards a Theory of Hierarchy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 552-579, Autumn.
    18. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2003. "Beyond Incentive Pay: Insiders' Estimates of the Value of Complementary Human Resource Management Practices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 155-180, Winter.
    19. Baker, G.P. & Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Compensation And Incentives: Practice Vs. Theory," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    20. Edward P. Lazear, 1991. "Labor Economics and the Psychology of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 89-110, Spring.
    21. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J. David, 1993. "Moral hazard with several agents : The gains from cooperation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-100, March.
    22. Barron, John M & Gjerde, Kathy Paulson, 1997. "Peer Pressure in an Agency Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 234-54, April.
    23. Bonner, Sarah E. & Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 2002. "The effects of monetary incentives on effort and task performance: theories, evidence, and a framework for research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 303-345.
    24. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    25. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
    26. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
    27. Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 2003. "Perspectives on experimental research in managerial accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 287-318.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:34:y:2009:i:5:p:589-618. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.