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Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Bradler, Christiane

    () (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Dur, Robert

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Neckermann, Susanne

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Non, Arjan

    () (ROA, Maastricht University)

Abstract

This paper reports the results from a controlled field experiment designed to investigate the causal effect of unannounced, public recognition on employee performance. We hired more than 300 employees to work on a three-hour data-entry task. In a random sample of work groups, workers unexpectedly received recognition after two hours of work. We find that recognition increases subsequent performance substantially, and particularly so when recognition is exclusively provided to the best performers. Remarkably, workers who did not receive recognition are mainly responsible for this performance increase. Our results are consistent with workers having a preference for conformity and being reciprocal at the same time.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradler, Christiane & Dur, Robert & Neckermann, Susanne & Non, Arjan, 2014. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8311
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    employee motivation; recognition; reciprocity; conformity; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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