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Performance Appraisals and the Impact of Forced Distribution: An Experimental Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Berger, Johannes

    () (University of Cologne)

  • Harbring, Christine

    () (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    () (University of Cologne)

Abstract

A real effort experiment is investigated in which supervisors have to rate the performance of individual workers who in turn receive a bonus payment based on these ratings. We compare a baseline treatment in which supervisors were not restricted in their rating behavior to a forced distribution system in which they had to assign differentiated grades. We find that productivity was significantly higher under a forced distribution by about 8%. But also in the absence of forced distribution, deliberate differentiation positively affected output in subsequent work periods.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Johannes & Harbring, Christine & Sliwka, Dirk, 2010. "Performance Appraisals and the Impact of Forced Distribution: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 5020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5020
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    Cited by:

    1. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioral labor economics: Advances and future directions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 71-85.
    2. De Chiara, Alessandro & Livio, Luca, 2017. "The threat of corruption and the optimal supervisory task," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 172-186.
    3. Marchegiani, Lucia & Reggiani, Tommaso & Rizzolli, Matteo, 2016. "Loss averse agents and lenient supervisors in performance appraisal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 183-197.
    4. Marco Kleine & Sebastian Kube, 2015. "Communication and Trust in Principal-Team Relationships: Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2015_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. Kampkötter, Patrick & Sliwka, Dirk, 2011. "Differentiation and Performance: An Empirical Investigation on the Incentive Effects of Bonus Plans," IZA Discussion Papers 6070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Grosch, Kerstin & Rau, Holger A., 2017. "Do discriminatory pay regimes unleash antisocial behavior?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 315, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. Angelovski, Andrej & Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2016. "Hiring and escalation bias in subjective performance evaluations: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 114-129.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:76-90 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sliwka, Dirk & Manthei, Kathrin, 2013. "Multitasking and the Benefits of Objective Performance Measurement - Evidence from a Field Experiment," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79968, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Kajackaite, Agne, 2015. "If I close my eyes, nobody will get hurt: The effect of ignorance on performance in a real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 518-524.
    12. Bol, Jasmijn C. & Kramer, Stephan & Maas, Victor S., 2016. "How control system design affects performance evaluation compression: The role of information accuracy and outcome transparency," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 64-73.
    13. Seda Ertac & Mert Gumren & Levent Kockesen, 2017. "Strategic Feedback in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1714, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    14. Croson, Rachel & Fatas, Enrique & Neugebauer, Tibor & Morales, Antonio J., 2015. "Excludability: A laboratory study on forced ranking in team production," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 13-26.
    15. Sebald, Alexander & Walzl, Markus, 2015. "Optimal contracts based on subjective performance evaluations and reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 62-76.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    motivation; performance measurement; experiment; forced distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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