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Sabotage in Corporate Contests - An Experimental Analysis

Author

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  • Christine Harbring
  • Bernd Irlenbusch
  • Matthias Krakel
  • Reinhard Selten

Abstract

In corporate contests, employees compete for a prize. Ideally, contests induce employees to exert productive effort which increases their probability of winning. In many environments, however, employees can also improve their own ranking position by harming their colleagues. Such negative incentive effects of corporate contests are largely unexplored, which can partly be attributed to the fact that sabotaging behavior is almost unobservable in the field. In this study we analyze behavior in experimental contests with heterogeneous players who are able to mutually sabotage each other. We find that sabotaging behavior systematically varies with the composition of different types of contestants. Moreover, if the saboteur's identity is revealed sabotage decreases while retaliation motives prevail. Our results promise to be valuable when designing corporate contests.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Krakel & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Sabotage in Corporate Contests - An Experimental Analysis," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 367-392.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:14:y:2007:i:3:p:367-392
    DOI: 10.1080/13571510701597445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Müller, W. & Schotter, A., 2003. "Workaholics and Drop Outs in Optimal Organizations," Discussion Paper 2003-43, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Garicano, Luis & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2005. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful," CEPR Discussion Papers 5231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Keywords

    Bullying; Contest; Experiments; Sabotage; Tournament;

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