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Store Manager Incentive Design and Retail Performance: An Exploratory Investigation


  • Nicole DeHoratius

    () (Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637)

  • Ananth Raman

    () (Harvard Business School, Morgan Hall, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)


Store managers perform multiple tasks within a store, and the way in which they are evaluated and rewarded for these tasks affects their behavior. Using empirical data from multiple stores of a consumer electronics retailer, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, we highlight the extent to which store manager incentive design impacts store manager behavior and, consequently, retail performance. More specifically, we describe the shift in store manager behavior resulting from a change in incentives, which, in part, altered the importance of sales relative to inventory shrinkage in the store manager compensation plan. Store managers, following this change, directed less attention to the prevention of inventory shrinkage and more toward sales-generating activities and made different process choices within the store. We observed increases in the level of inventory shrinkage and sales within these stores. Controlling for alternative drivers of sales and inventory shrinkage, we find this change in incentive design to be associated with a profit improvement of 4.2% of sales. This work indicates that altering how store managers are compensated impacts retail performance. Moreover, our findings underscore the importance of balancing the rewards given for different types of activities in contexts where agents face multiple competing tasks.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole DeHoratius & Ananth Raman, 2007. "Store Manager Incentive Design and Retail Performance: An Exploratory Investigation," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 518-534, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormsom:v:9:y:2007:i:4:p:518-534

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Slade, Margaret E, 1996. "Multitask Agency and Contract Choice: An Empirical Exploration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 465-486, May.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    5. Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 1985. "Control: Organizational and Economic Approaches," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 134-149, February.
    6. repec:bla:joares:v:33:y:1995:i::p:101-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-772, October.
    8. Alan L. Montgomery, 1997. "Creating Micro-Marketing Pricing Strategies Using Supermarket Scanner Data," Marketing Science, INFORMS, pages 315-337.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole DeHoratius & Ananth Raman, 2008. "Inventory Record Inaccuracy: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(4), pages 627-641, April.
    2. Karel H. van Donselaar & Vishal Gaur & Tom van Woensel & Rob A. C. M. Broekmeulen & Jan C. Fransoo, 2010. "Ordering Behavior in Retail Stores and Implications for Automated Replenishment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(5), pages 766-784, May.
    3. Marshall Fisher, 2007. "Strengthening the Empirical Base of Operations Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 368-382, December.


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