IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v130y2016icp107-125.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Biased supervision

Author

Listed:
  • Delfgaauw, Josse
  • Souverijn, Michiel

Abstract

Organizations can use subjective performance pay when verifiable performance measures are imperfect. However, this gives supervisors the power to direct employees toward tasks that mainly benefit the supervisor rather than the organization. We cast a principal–supervisor–agent model in a multitask setting, where the supervisor has an intrinsic preference toward specific tasks and may receive soft information on the agent's efforts. We show that subjective performance pay based on evaluation by a biased supervisor has the same distorting effect on the agent's effort allocation across tasks as incentive pay based on an incongruent performance measure. Combining incongruent performance measures with biased supervision can mitigate, but does not always eliminate this distortion. We apply our results to the choice between specialist and generalist middle managers, where a trade-off between monitoring ability and bias arises.

Suggested Citation

  • Delfgaauw, Josse & Souverijn, Michiel, 2016. "Biased supervision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 107-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:130:y:2016:i:c:p:107-125
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.06.012
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268116301214
    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 23-56, January.
    2. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1996. "A prisoner's dilemma model of collusion deterrence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 117-136, January.
    3. Ján Zábojník, 2014. "Subjective evaluations with performance feedback," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 341-369, June.
    4. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 1995. "The interaction of explicit and implicit contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 193-199, May.
    5. Daniel Müller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2015. "Rater Bias and Incentive Provision," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 833-862, October.
    6. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends and Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect on Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185.
    7. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    8. Giebe, Thomas & Gürtler, Oliver, 2012. "Optimal contracts for lenient supervisors," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 403-420.
    9. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-736.
    10. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2010. "Managerial talent, motivation, and self-selection into public management," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 654-660, October.
    11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    12. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    13. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2008. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 171-191, January.
    14. Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1998. "The Interaction of Implicit and Explicit Contracts in Repeated Agency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-96, April.
    15. Handy, Femida & Katz, Eliakim, 1998. "The Wage Differential between Nonprofit Institutions and Corporations: Getting More by Paying Less?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 246-261, June.
    16. Ian Larkin, 2014. "The Cost of High-Powered Incentives: Employee Gaming in Enterprise Software Sales," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 199-227.
    17. 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.
    18. Suvorov, Anton & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2009. "Discretionary rewards as a feedback mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 665-681, November.
    19. Breuer, Kathrin & Nieken, Petra & Sliwka, Dirk, 2010. "Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 4913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    21. Veikko Thiele, 2013. "Subjective Performance Evaluations, Collusion, and Organizational Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 35-59, February.
    22. Jörg Budde, 2007. "Performance Measure Congruity and the Balanced Scorecard," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 515-539, June.
    23. Efendi, Jap & Srivastava, Anup & Swanson, Edward P., 2007. "Why do corporate managers misstate financial statements? The role of option compensation and other factors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 667-708, September.
    24. Bouwens, Jan & Kroos, Peter, 2011. "Target ratcheting and effort reduction," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 171-185, February.
    25. Goldman, Eitan & Slezak, Steve L., 2006. "An equilibrium model of incentive contracts in the presence of information manipulation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 603-626, June.
    26. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1997. " Collusion in Organizations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(4), pages 485-495, December.
    27. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    28. Clive Bull, 1987. "The Existence of Self-Enforcing Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 147-159.
    29. Holthausen, Robert W. & Larcker, David F. & Sloan, Richard G., 1995. "Annual bonus schemes and the manipulation of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 29-74, February.
    30. Srikant Datar & Susan Cohen Kulp & Richard A. Lambert, 2001. "Balancing Performance Measures," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 75-92, June.
    31. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
    32. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
    33. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    34. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
    35. Daniel Ferreira & Raaj K. Sah, 2012. "Who gets to the top? Generalists versus specialists in managerial organizations," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(4), pages 577-601, December.
    36. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Meleu, Methieu, 1997. " Reciprocal Supervision, Collusion and Organizational Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(4), pages 519-540, December.
    37. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
    38. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
    39. Gibbs, Michael, 1995. "Incentive compensation in a corporate hierarchy," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 247-277, April.
    40. Suraj Prasad, 2009. "Task assignments and incentives: generalists versus specialists," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 380-403.
    41. Jurjen J.A. Kamphorst & Otto H. Swank, 2012. "The Role of Performance Appraisals in Motivating Employees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-034/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    42. Wendelin Schnedler, 2008. "When Is It Foolish to Reward for A While Benefiting from B?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 595-619, October.
    43. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1990. "Analysis of Hidden Gaming in a Three-Level Hierarchy," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 301-324, Fall.
    44. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Bayo-Moriones & Jose E. Galdon-Sanchez & Sara Martinez-de-Morentin, 2017. "Performance Measurement and Incentive Intensity," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 496-546, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective performance evaluation; Middle managers; Incentives; Multitasking;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:130:y:2016:i:c:p:107-125. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.