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Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity

Listed author(s):
  • Gill, David
  • Prowse, Victoria
  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

We use an online real-effort experiment to investigate how bonus-based pay and worker productivity interact with workplace cheating. Firms often use bonus-based compensation plans, such as group bonuses and firm-wide profit sharing, that induce considerable uncertainty in how much workers are paid. Exposing workers to a compensation scheme based on random bonuses makes them cheat more but has no effect on their productivity. We also find that more productive workers behave more dishonestly. These results are consistent with workers’ cheating behavior responding to the perceived fairness of their employer's compensation scheme.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268113002436
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 96 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 120-134

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:96:y:2013:i:c:p:120-134
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.09.011
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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