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Becoming “We” Instead of “I”, Identity Management and Incentives in the Workplace

  • Jocelyn Donze
  • Trude Gunnes

This article studies how a firm fosters formal and informal interaction among its employees to create a collective identity and positively influence their effort. We develop an agency model, in which employees have both a personal and a social ideal for effort. The firm does not observe the personal ideals, which gives rise to an adverse selection problem, but can make its workforce more sensitive to the social ideal by allocating part of working hours to social interaction. We show that there are two reasons why the firm invests in social capital. First, it reinforces the effectiveness of monetary incentives. Second, by creating a shared identity in the workforce, the firm is able to reduce the adverse selection problem. We also show that the firm allocates more time to bonding activities when employees have low personal ideals for effort or when they are more heterogeneous as regards these ideals.

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Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2013-17.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2013-17
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  1. Huck, Steffen & Kübler, Dorothea & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2010. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 5264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Erik Canton, 2005. "Power of Incentives in Public Organizations When Employees Are Intrinsically Motivated," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 664-, December.
  3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," Working Papers 137, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  4. Theilen, Bernd, 2003. "Simultaneous moral hazard and adverse selection with risk averse agents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 283-289, May.
  5. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  6. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  7. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  9. Paul Fischer & Steven Huddart, 2008. "Optimal Contracting with Endogenous Social Norms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1459-75, September.
  10. Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri, 2009. "Social Interaction, Co-Worker Altruism, and Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 4532, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-45, March.
  12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  13. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  14. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  15. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Social capital in the workplace: Evidence on its formation and consequences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 724-748, August.
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