Does Monitoring Work? A Field Experiment with Multiple Forms of Counterproductive Behaviour
This paper provides .eld experimental evidence on the effects of monitoring in a context where workers can engage in various forms of counterproductive behaviour and only one of them is monitored and incentivised. We hire students to do a job for us (identifying euro coins) for which they are paid a .at fee. There are various ways they can behave counterproductively: they can perform sloppily, not complete the task within the requested time or even steal some of the coins. We study how monitoring one productivity dimension (sloppiness) spills over to others (tardiness and theft). We find that introducing lax monitoring does not improve performance, but increases tardiness substantially. Strict monitoring increases tardiness to the same extent, but also leads to substantial improvements in performance. Theft, on the other hand, occurs more rarely and its prevalence is not affected by the monitoring scheme. We conclude that monitoring does have a discipling effect on workers, but at the same time, workers retaliate for being monitored and do so in the least costly manner for themselves (both in monetary and non-monetary terms).
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