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Mission, motivation, and the active decision to work for a social cause

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  • Jeworrek, Sabrina
  • Mertins, Vanessa

Abstract

The mission of a job does not only affect the type of worker attracted to an organisation, but may also provide incentives to an existing workforce. We conducted a natural field experiment with 267 short-time workers and randomly allocated them to either a prosocial or a commercial job. Our data suggest that the mission of a job itself has a performance enhancing motivational impact on particular individuals only, i.e., workers with a prosocial attitude. However, the mission is very important if it has been actively selected. Those workers who have chosen to contribute to a social cause outperform the ones randomly assigned to the same job by about 15 percent. This effect seems to be a universal phenomenon which is not driven by information about the alternative job, the choice itself or a particular subgroup.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeworrek, Sabrina & Mertins, Vanessa, 2019. "Mission, motivation, and the active decision to work for a social cause," IWH Discussion Papers 10/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:102019
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/197004/1/1666364649.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vanessa, Mertins & Jeworrek, Sabrina & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2018. ""The Good News about Bad News": Feedback about Past Organisational Failure Bad ist Impact in Worker Productivity," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181644, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Jeworrek, Sabrina & Mertins, Vanessa & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2018. ""The good news about bad news": Feedback about past organisational failure and its impact on worker productivity," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2018, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    active decision; cognitive dissonance theory; field experiment; mission; performance; prosocial work;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

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