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Team Goal Incentives and Individual Lying Behavior


  • Julian Conrads
  • Mischa Ellenberger
  • Bernd Irlenbusch
  • Elia Nora Ohms
  • Rainer Michael Rilke
  • Gari Walkowitz



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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  • Julian Conrads & Mischa Ellenberger & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elia Nora Ohms & Rainer Michael Rilke & Gari Walkowitz, 2017. "Team Goal Incentives and Individual Lying Behavior," WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group 17-02, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:whu:wpaper:17-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    6. Sebastian Goerg & Sebastian Kube, 2012. "Goals (th)at Work – Goals, Monetary Incentives, and Workers’ Performance," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
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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.
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    More about this item


    Compensation schemes; Lying; Teams; Goals; Individual differences; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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