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Team building and hidden costs of control

  • Riener, Gerhard
  • Wiederhold, Simon

This paper investigates the interaction of intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. We propose a simple principal-agent model with control that incorporates the existence of social groups resulting from common experiences in the past. Our laboratory experiment shows that agents with previous common experiences with their principals (CE agents) perform better than agents without such experiences (NCE agents). However, as soon as actual control exceeds their expectation, CE agents decrease their performance substantially, which has no equivalent for NCE agents. This pronounced decrease in effort when control is perceived as excessive represents a novel channel through which hidden costs of control materialize. Our results have important implications for firms' strategies to motivate employees.

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Paper provided by Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 66.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:66
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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2010. "You Get What You Pay For: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages F256-F271, 08.
  2. Charness, Gary & Frechette, Guillaume R & Kagel, John H, 2002. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8qq4k3ph, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2006. "Generosity, anonymity, gender," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 42-49, September.
  4. Ferdinand von Siemens, 2011. "Intention-Based Reciprocity and the Hidden Costs of Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-115/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  7. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Daniel John Zizzo, 2009. "The Value of Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 295-323, March.
  8. Wendelin Schnedler & Radovan Vadovic, 2011. "Legitimacy of Control," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 985-1009, December.
  9. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Masella, Paolo & Meier, Stephan & Zahn, Philipp, 2012. "Incentives and Group Identity," IZA Discussion Papers 6815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Ferdinand von Siemens, 2011. "Intention-Based Reciprocity and the Hidden Costs of Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-115/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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