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It's What You Say Not What You Pay

We study manager-employee interactions in experiments set in a corporate environment where payoffs depend on employees coordinating at high effort levels; the underlying game being played repeatedly by employees is a weak-link game. In the absence of managerial intervention subjects invariably slip into coordination failure. To overcome a history of coordination failure, managers have two instruments at their disposal, increasing employees' financial incentives to coordinate and communication with employees. We find that communication is a more effective tool than incentive changes for leading organizations out of performance traps. Examining the content of managers' communication, the most effective messages specifically request a high effort, point out the mutual benefits of high effort, and imply that employees are being paid well.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 643.05.

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Length: 46
Date of creation: 18 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:643.05
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  1. Knez, Marc & Camerer, Colin, 2000. "Increasing Cooperation in Prisoner's Dilemmas by Establishing a Precedent of Efficiency in Coordination Games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 194-216, July.
  2. J. B. Van Huyck & R. C. Battalio & R. O. Beil, 2010. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000393, David K. Levine.
  3. Battalio, Raymond & Samuelson, Larry & Van Huyck, John, 2001. "Optimization Incentives and Coordination Failure in Laboratory Stag Hunt Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 749-64, May.
  4. C. Mónica Capra & Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Lauren Munyan & Veronica Sovero & Lisa Wang & Charles Noussair, 2005. "The Impact of Simple Institutions in Experimental Economies with Poverty Traps," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000662, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Foss, Nicolai J, 2001. "Leadership, Beliefs and Coordination: An Explorative Discussion," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 357-88, June.
  6. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  7. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  8. Ernst Fehr, 2003. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," Microeconomics 0305010, EconWPA.
  9. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "A Change Would Do You Good... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," Working Papers 115, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  10. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  11. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2004. "Observability and Overcoming Coordination Failure in Organizations," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 630.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better Than One? Team versus Individual Play in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
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