The Hidden Cost of Specialization
Given the advantages of specialization, employers encourage their employees to acquire distinct expertise to better satisfy clients’ needs. However, when the client is unaware of the employees’ expertise and cannot be sorted out to the most competent employee by means of a gatekeeper, a mismatch can occur. In this paper we attempt to identify the optimal condition so an employer can eliminate this mismatch and offer a team bonus that provides the first-contacted employee with an incentive to refer the client to the correct expert. We show that the profitability of this referral contract increases with the agents’ degree of specialization and decreases with the clients’ competence at identifying the correct expert. Interestingly, a referral contract may be more profitable than an individual contract -that does not pay a team bonus- even if the former provides less incentive to the agents to improve their expertise. Thus, we provide a new rationale for the use of team bonuses even when the production function depends on a single employee’s effort.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.ifro.ku.dk/english/|
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J. David, 1993.
"Moral hazard with several agents : The gains from cooperation,"
International Journal of Industrial Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-100, March.
- Macho-Stadler, I. & Perez-Castrillo, J.D., 1991. "Moral Hazard with Several Agents: The Gains From Cooperation," DELTA Working Papers 91-26, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2005.
"Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 131-171, January.
- Steven Tadelis & Jonathan Levin, 2004. "Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships," 2004 Meeting Papers 156, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- In-Uck Park, 2005. "Cheap-Talk Referrals of Differentiated Experts in Repeated Relationships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
- Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2001.
"Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives,"
NBER Working Papers
8306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 613-650.
- Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2002.
INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 852-865, July.
- Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "The Economics of Credence Goods: An Experiment on the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 526-55, April.
- Andrew J. Epstein & Jonathan D. Ketcham & Sean Nicholson, 2010. "Specialization and matching in professional services firms," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 811-834.
- Thomas N. Hubbard, 2009. "Specialization, Firms, and Markets: The Division of Labor within and between Law Firms," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 339-371, October.
- William Fuchs & Luis Garicano, 2010. "Matching Problems with Expertise in Firms and Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 354-364, 04-05.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:foi:wpaper:2013_9. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Geir Tveit)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.