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Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Breuer, Kathrin

    (University of Cologne)

  • Nieken, Petra

    (University of Bonn)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

We empirically investigate possible distortions in subjective performance evaluations. A key hypothesis is that evaluations are more upward biased the closer the social ties between supervisor and appraised employee. We test this hypothesis with a company data set from a call center organization which contains not only subjective assessments but also several more objective measures of performance. Controlling for these performance measures, we find strong evidence that evaluations are upwards biased in smaller teams and some evidence that supervisors give better ratings to employees they themselves have evaluated before.

Suggested Citation

  • Breuer, Kathrin & Nieken, Petra & Sliwka, Dirk, 2010. "Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 4913, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4913
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2006. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(4), pages 614-628, October.
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      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    5. Moers, Frank, 2005. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation: the impact of diversity and subjectivity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-80, January.
    6. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Letina, Igor & Liu, Shuo & Netzer, Nick, 2020. "Delegating performance evaluation," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 15(2), May.
    2. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
    3. Collewet, Marion & Sauermann, Jan, 2017. "Working hours and productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 96-106.
    4. Alexander Sebald & Markus Walzl, 2014. "Subjective Performance Evaluations and Reciprocity in Principal–Agent Relations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(2), pages 570-590, April.
    5. Christian Grund & Judith Przemeck, 2012. "Subjective performance appraisal and inequality aversion," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(17), pages 2149-2155, June.
    6. Uwe Jirjahn & Erik Poutsma, 2013. "The Use of Performance Appraisal Systems: Evidence from Dutch Establishment Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 801-828, October.
    7. Sauermann, Jan, 2015. "Worker Reciprocity and the Returns to Training: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 9179, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Dey, Oindrila & Das, Abhishek & Gupta, Gautam & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2017. "Favouritism Or Fairness?: A Framed Laboratory Experiment," MPRA Paper 80214, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2015. "Endogenous favouritism with status incentives: A model of optimum inefficiency," MPRA Paper 62828, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Delfgaauw, Josse & Souverijn, Michiel, 2016. "Biased supervision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 107-125.
    11. Andries De Grip & Jan Sauermann, 2012. "The Effects of Training on Own and Co‐worker Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 376-399, May.
    12. Patrick Kampkötter & Dirk Sliwka, 2016. "The Complementary Use of Experiments and Field Data to Evaluate Management Practices: The Case of Subjective Performance Evaluations," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(2), pages 364-389, June.
    13. Robert M. Gillenkirch & Heike Kreienbaum, 2017. "What guides subjective performance evaluation: Incentive alignment or norm enforcement?," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 933-957, October.
    14. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2013. "Status, incentives and random favouritism," MPRA Paper 49188, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective performance evaluation; bias; social ties; team size; favoritism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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