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The Dark Side of Competition for Status

Listed author(s):
  • Gary Charness

    (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California [Santa Barbara])

  • David Masclet

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    ()

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Unethical behavior within organizations is not rare. We investigate experimentally the role of status-seeking behavior in sabotage and cheating activities aiming at improving one’s performance ranking in a flat-wage environment. We find that average effort is higher when individuals are informed about their relative performance. However, ranking feedback also favors disreputable behavior. Some individuals do not hesitate to incur a cost to improve their rank by sabotaging others’ work or by increasing artificially their own performance. Introducing sabotage opportunities has a strong detrimental effect on performance. Therefore, ranking incentives should be used with care. Inducing group identity discourages sabotage among peers but increases in-group rivalry.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00799499.

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Date of creation: 2014
Publication status: Published in Management Science, INFORMS, 2014, 60 (1), pp. 38-55. 〈10.1287/mnsc.2013.1747〉
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00799499
DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2013.1747
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00799499
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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