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Employee recognition and performance: A field experiment

  • Bradler, Christiane
  • Dur, Robert
  • Neckermann, Susanne
  • Non, Arjan

This paper reports the results from a controlled field experiment designed to investigate the causal effect of public recognition on employee performance. We hired more than 300 employees to work on a three-hour data-entry task. In a random sample of work groups, workers unexpectedly received recognition after two hours of work. We find that recognition increases subsequent performance substantially, and particularly so when recognition is exclusively provided to the best performers. Remarkably, workers who did not receive recognition are mainly responsible for this performance increase. This result is consistent with workers having a preference for conformity.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 13-017.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13017
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