IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v58y2005i2p246-276.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Performance pay, delegation and multitasking under uncertainty and innovativeness: An empirical investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Foss, Nicolai J.
  • Laursen, Keld

Abstract

The existing empirical evidence is somewhat inconclusive with respect to a number of the key predictions of the agency model. Although the reach of agency theory is considerably wider, the dominant portion of work has been taken up with examining the nature of the trade-off between risk and incentives, and the implications thereof for contractual design. More specifically, some researchers have recently noted that the predicted trade-off between risk and incentives turns out to be rather weak, and perhaps non-existent, when confronted with the available empirical evidence. In this paper, we examine the risk-incentives trade-off and related predictions from agency theory on the basis of data from a data set encompassing close to 1000 Danish firms. We find that the relation between the use of performance pay in these firms and the environmental uncertainty they confront which is one way to test the risk/incentives tradeoff is indeed weak and in many cases even perverse. We then suggest, in line with other recent contributions to the literature, that this may be caused by the widespread use of delegation. One effect of delegation is that it breaks the simple relation between risks and incentives. We examine the suggestion that that those firms that are more prone to use delegation of decision rights in their internal organization are facing an uncertain environment to a larger extent than the rest of the population. We argue that this constitutes an indirect confirmation of the hypothesis. We also examine the multi-tasking agency hypothesis that as risk increases, the flexibility of agents is restricted. We fail to find support for this hypothesis. It is suggested that the reason for this finding is also related to delegation.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Foss, Nicolai J. & Laursen, Keld, 2005. "Performance pay, delegation and multitasking under uncertainty and innovativeness: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 246-276, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:58:y:2005:i:2:p:246-276
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-2681(05)00151-4
    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. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    3. Martin, Robert E, 1988. "Franchising and Risk Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 954-968, December.
    4. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Maristella Botticini, 2002. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 564-591, June.
    5. Keld Laursen & Nicolai J. Foss, 2003. "New human resource management practices, complementarities and the impact on innovation performance," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 243-263, March.
    6. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    7. Keld Laursen, 2002. "The Importance of Sectoral Differences in the Application of Complementary HRM Practices for Innovation Performance," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 139-156.
    8. Norton, Seth W, 1988. "An Empirical Look at Franchising as an Organizational Form," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 197-218, April.
    9. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    10. Mendelson, Haim & Pillai, Ravindran R., 1999. "Information Age organizations, dynamics and performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 253-281, March.
    11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    12. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Erin Anderson, 1985. "The Salesperson as Outside Agent or Employee: A Transaction Cost Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 234-254.
    14. Kyle J. Mayer & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2004. "Are Supply and Plant Inspections Complements or Substitutes? A Strategic and Operational Assessment of Inspection Practices in Biotechnology," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(8), pages 1064-1081, August.
    15. 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.
    16. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
    17. Scott E. Masten & Stéphane Saussier, 2000. "Econometrics of Contracts : an Assessment of Developments in the Empirical Literature on Contracting," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 215-236.
    18. Kirsten Foss & Nicolai J. Foss, "undated". "Authority and Discretion: Tensions, Credible Delegation, and Implications for New Organizational Forms," IVS/CBS Working Papers 2002-08, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
    19. Michael C. Jensen & William H. Heckling, 1995. "Specific And General Knowledge, And Organizational Structure," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 8(2), pages 4-18.
    20. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, January.
    21. Barzel,Yoram, 1997. "Economic Analysis of Property Rights," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521597135, April.
    22. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Bushman, Robert M. & Indjejikian, Raffi J. & Smith, Abbie, 1996. "CEO compensation: The role of individual performance evaluation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 161-193, April.
    24. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 551-572, June.
    25. Anker Lund Vinding, 2006. "Absorptive capacity and innovative performance: A human capital approach," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4-5), pages 507-517.
    26. Coughlan, Anne T & Narasimhan, Chakravarthi, 1992. "An Empirical Analysis of Sales-Force Compensation Plans," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(1), pages 93-121, January.
    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 Enrique Galdon-Sanchez & Sara Martinez-De-Morentin, 2013. "The Diffusion of Pay for Performance across Occupations," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(5), pages 1115-1148, October.
    2. Kampelmann, Stephan & Mahy, Benoît & Rycx, Francois & Vermeylen, Guillaume, 2016. "Who Is Your Perfect Match? Educational Norms, Educational Mismatch and Firm Profitability," IZA Discussion Papers 10399, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jed De Varo & Suraj Prasad, 2015. "The Relationship between Delegation and Incentives Across Occupations: Evidence and Theory," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 279-312, June.
    4. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Wage Dispersion and Firm Productivity in Different Working Environments," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(3), pages 460-485, September.
    5. Peter Cappelli & Martin Conyon, 2016. "What Do Performance Appraisals Do?," NBER Working Papers 22400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Andy Cosh & Xiaolan Fu & Alan Hughes, 2012. "Organisation structure and innovation performance in different environments," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 301-317, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2008. "Performance Pay and Within-Firm Wage Inequality," Discussion Papers 535, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Jed Devaro & Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and the Delegation of Worker Authority," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 641-661, July.
    10. Spyros Arvanitis & Euripidis N. Loukis & Vasiliki Diamantopoulou, 2013. "Are ICT, Workplace Organization and Human Capital Relevant for Innovation?," KOF Working papers 13-333, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    11. Sebastian Goebel & Barbara E. Weißenberger, 2017. "Effects of management control mechanisms: towards a more comprehensive analysis," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 185-219, February.
    12. Canice Prendergast, 2015. "The economics of wild goose chases," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(1), pages 146-164, March.
    13. Spyros Arvanitis & Florian Seliger & Tobias Stucki, 2013. "The Relative Importance of Human Resource Management Practices for a Firm's Innovation Performance," KOF Working papers 13-341, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    14. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kong, Fanmin & Lluis, Stéphanie, 2012. "Uncertainty, task environment, and organization design: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 281-313.
    15. Christos Bilanakos & John S. Heywood & John Sessions & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2016. "Delegation and worker training," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 06-2016, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    16. Jed DeVaro & Antti Kauhanen, 2016. "An “Opposing Responses” Test of Classic versus Market-Based Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 747-779.
    17. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2008. "Who pays for performance?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 8-29, March.
    18. DeVaro, Jed, 2011. "Using "opposing responses" and relative performance to distinguish empirically among alternative models of promotions," MPRA Paper 35175, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Fidan Ana Kurtulus & Douglas Kruse & Joseph Blasi, 2011. "Worker Attitudes Towards Employee Ownership, Profit Sharing and Variable Pay," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-15, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    20. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:3:p:411-426 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:12:p:2481-2502 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Hensher, David A. & Ho, Chinh & Knowles, Louise, 2016. "Efficient contracting and incentive agreements between regulators and bus operators: The influence of risk preferences of contracting agents on contract choice," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 22-40.
    23. Anzelika Zaiceva & Klaus Zimmermann, 2011. "Do ethnic minorities “stretch” their time? UK household evidence on multitasking," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 181-206, June.
    24. repec:kap:sbusec:v:50:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9885-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

    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:58:y:2005:i:2:p:246-276. 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.