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Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

  • Christine Harbring

    ()

    (RWTH Aachen, 52062 Aachen, Germany)

  • Bernd Irlenbusch

    ()

    (University of Cologne, 50923 Cologne, Germany)

Registered author(s):

    Although relative performance schemes are pervasive in organizations, reliable empirical data on induced sabotage behavior are almost nonexistent. We study sabotage in repeated tournaments in a controlled laboratory experiment and observe that effort and sabotage are higher for higher wage spreads. Additionally, we find that also in the presence of tournament incentives, agents react reciprocally to higher wages by exerting higher effort. Destructive activities are reduced by explicitly calling them by their name "sabotage." Communication among principal and agents can curb sabotage when they agree on flat prize structures and increased output. If sabotage is not possible, the principals choose tournament incentives more often. This paper was accepted by Peter Wakker, decision analysis.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1296
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 611-627

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:611-627
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