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The effect of less autonomy on performance in retail: Evidence from a quasi-natural field experiment

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  • Gjedrem, William Gilje
  • Rege, Mari

Abstract

This paper investigates a causal relationship between autonomy and performance in retail, utilizing store level weekly sales data from a large consumer electronics retail chain in Norway. In 2011 the retail chain made it a mandatory part of the job instruction to approach every customer who entered the store. To ensure compliance, the chain also adopted a system for feedback and monitoring. Critical to our empirical strategy, this change in management practice was introduced in some stores only and at different points in time. This allows us to estimate the effects of the change on performance in a quasi-natural field experiment using a triple-difference approach. We find that the change in management practice increased sales by 5.6% and transactions by 4.7%. The effect seems to be persistent, suggesting that a more detailed job instruction, combined with systematic feedback and control, may increase performance in low-skilled narrowly defined jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Gjedrem, William Gilje & Rege, Mari, 2017. "The effect of less autonomy on performance in retail: Evidence from a quasi-natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 76-90.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:76-90
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.02.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autonomy; Feedback; Motivation; Performance; Management; Field data;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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