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Team Goal Incentives and Individual Lying Behavior

Listed author(s):
  • Julian Conrads
  • Mischa Ellenberger
  • Bernd Irlenbusch
  • Elia Nora Ohms
  • Rainer Michael Rilke
  • Gari Walkowitz

    ()

Registered author(s):

    In this article we examine the influence of two goal compensation schemes on lying behavior. Based on the die rolling task of Fischbacher/Föllmi-Heusi (2013), we apply an individual goal incentive scheme and a team goal incentive scheme. In both settings individuals receive a fixed bonus when attaining the goal. We find that under team goal incentives subjects are less inclined to over-report production outputs beyond the amount which is on average necessary for goal attainment. Investigating subjects’ beliefs on their team mates’ behavior under team goal incentives reveals that subjects who either believe that lying is not profitable (i.e., the team goal cannot be reached with a lie) or not absolutely necessary (i.e., there is a good chance that the team goal can also be reached without lying) tend to be honest. We also find that subjects who believe that the team goal has already been reached by their team mates tend to over-report production outputs. Across treatments, women are found to be more honest than men. Subjects’ personality is not associated with reported production outputs. Our work contributes to previous research on how different compensation schemes affect unethical behavior in organizational settings.

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    File URL: https://www.whu.edu/fileadmin/data/RePEc/PDF/WP-17-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2017
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    Paper provided by WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in its series WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group with number 17-02.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 16 Mar 2017
    Publication status: Published, Die Betriebswirtschaft 76, 2016
    Handle: RePEc:whu:wpaper:17-02
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    Web page: https://www.whu.edu/en/faculty-research/economics-group/

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sanjiv Erat & Uri Gneezy, 2012. "White Lies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 723-733, April.
    3. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    4. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rilke, Rainer Michael & Schielke, Anne & Walkowitz, Gari, 2014. "Honesty in tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 90-93.
    5. Navin Kartik, 2009. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1359-1395.
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    7. Gino, Francesca & Ayal, Shahar & Ariely, Dan, 2013. "Self-serving altruism? The lure of unethical actions that benefit others," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 285-292.
    8. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson & Jannie Lilja & Henrik Zetterqvist, 2009. "Trust and Truth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 252-276, 01.
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    12. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rilke, Rainer Michael & Walkowitz, Gari, 2013. "Lying and team incentives," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 1-7.
    13. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
    14. Belot, Michèle & Schröder, Marina, 2013. "Sloppy work, lies and theft: A novel experimental design to study counterproductive behaviour," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 233-238.
    15. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
    16. Ross, William T. & Robertson, Diana C., 2000. "Lying: The Impact of Decision Context," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 409-440, April.
    17. Francesca Gino & Lamar Pierce, 2010. "Lying to Level the Playing Field: Why People May Dishonestly Help or Hurt Others to Create Equity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 89-103, September.
    18. Michael C. Jensen, 2003. "Paying People to Lie: the Truth about the Budgeting Process," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(3), pages 379-406.
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