25 Years IWH

Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek

Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek
Current Position

since 7/17

Head of the Research Group Behaviour and Corporate Success

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

since 10/16

Assistant Professor for Applied Microeconometrics

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

Research Interests

  • behavioural and experimental economics
  • empirical personnel and labour market economics
  • non-monetary incentive systems and employee motivation

Sabrina Jeworrek is Assistant Professor for Applied Microeconometrics at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg as well as a member of the Department Structural Change and Productivity at IWH since October 2016.

She received her Bachelor and Master degree in Economics and Institutions at Philipps University Marburg, her PhD at Trier University at IAAEU (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union). In August 2016, she successfully defended her thesis on "The Behavioral Impact of Non-Monetary Workplace Characteristics: Laboratory and Field Experimental Evidence".

Your contact

Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek
Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek
Mitglied - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-730 Personal page

Publications

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Arbeit ohne Sinn gefährdet die Produktivität

Sabrina Jeworrek

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel , No. 3, 2017

Abstract

Arbeit ohne Sinn ruft nicht nur negative Emotionen wie Enttäuschung oder das Gefühl, ersetzbar zu sein, hervor; vielmehr wird auch die zukünftige Arbeitsmotivation der Beschäftigten beeinflusst. Eine experimentelle Studie, die auf einer realen Arbeitssituation beruht, zeigt, dass Beschäftigte einen signifikant niedrigeren Arbeitseinsatz leisten, wenn ein vorangegangenes Projekt seinen ursprünglichen Sinn verloren hat. Die Information, dass das Projekt auch einen alternativen Zweck erfüllte, kompensiert die negativen Effekte allerdings vollständig, sowohl was den Arbeitseinsatz als auch den emotionalen Zustand der Beschäftigten angeht. Unternehmen und Personalverantwortliche sollten daher die Sinnhaftigkeit von Arbeitsaufgaben klar an ihre Beschäftigten kommunizieren sowie versuchen, auch gescheiterten Projekten eine Sinnhaftigkeit beizumessen.

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Meaningless Work Threatens Job Performance

Adrian Chadi Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins

in: LSE Business Review , 2017

Abstract

Open, transparent communication across the organisation is generally associated with improved employee motivation and organisational outcomes. For supervisors, the question arises how to deal with rather inconvenient information, such as in the case of a project failure. Informing employees after significant investments of time and effort might lead to negative effects on subsequent work motivation, one could argue. To identify a causal relationship between the meaning of previously completed work and workers’ subsequent work performance, we exploited a natural working environment in which the loss of the job’s meaning occurred as a matter of fact. At the same time, it was possible to credibly guide only part of the workforce to believe in the sudden loss of meaning by conducting a controlled experiment.

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When the Meaning of Work Has Disappeared: Experimental Evidence on Employees’ Performance and Emotions

Adrian Chadi Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins

in: Management Science , No. 6, 2017

Abstract

This experiment tests for a causal relationship between the meaning of work and employees’ motivation to perform well. The study builds on an existing employer–employee relationship, adding realism to the ongoing research of task meaning. Owing to an unexpected project cancelation, we are able to study how varying the information provided about the meaning of previously conducted work — without the use of deception, but still maintaining a high level of control — affects subsequent performance. We observe a strong decline in exerted effort when we inform workers about the meaninglessness of a job already done. Our data also suggests that providing a supplemental alternative meaning perfectly compensates for this negative performance effect. Individual characteristics such as reciprocal inclinations and trust prompt different reactions. The data also show that the meaning of work affects workers’ emotions, but we cannot establish a clear relationship between emotional responses and performance.

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The Behavioral Impact of Non-Monetary Workplace Characteristics

Sabrina Jeworrek

in: Schriftenreihe innovative betriebswirt­schaftliche Forschung und Praxis , No. 465, 2016

Abstract

This book investigates the impact of non-monetary workplace characteristics ― i.e. employee voice, task characteristics, and the provision of information ― on workers’ individual decision making and workplace performance. Given the neoclassical assumption of purely self-interested and completely rational utility maximizing individuals, workplace characteristics should be of little interest as long as they are not directly related to payment issues, so that a worker’s utility maximizing effort choice given a fixed wage level remains unaffected. Recent empirical findings, however, suggest that the use of non-monetary incentives might even be the better option to increase work performance. Three out of the four experimental studies covered by this book extend the previous research by providing more reliable insights into field behavior than conventional laboratory experiments. Given e.g. the right to self-determine one’s wage, almost all participants in the laboratory opt for the highest possible wage. Within the context of an inventory taking with 140 assistants, we conducted a natural field experiment and show that most workers ask for rather moderate wages with women being particularly conservative in their demands. Notwithstanding, wage delegation causes workers’ performance to rise and, hence, stresses the relevance of voice at the workplace. Furthermore, we provide evidence that workers also care for the content and the meaningfulness of their tasks. Uselessly exerted effort, for instance, reduces work performance as regards a completely unrelated task in the future. Taken together, the field experimental evidence presented in this book indicates that if employees find a workplace which matches their preferences, it is quite likely to be a beneficial situation not only for the employee but also for the employer. Overall good working conditions can even help workers overlook unequal treatments within the workforce, at least in the short-run and as long as there is a plausible reason for it. An additional laboratory experiment, however, suggests that additional information, e.g. about potential coworkers, might be necessary to make reasonable decisions in accordance with individual preferences.

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Trade Union Membership and Paid Vacation in Germany

Laszlo Goerke Sabrina Jeworrek Markus Pannenberg

in: IZA Journal of Labor Economics , No. 1, 2015

Abstract

In Germany, dependent employees take almost 30 days of paid vacation annually. We enquire whether an individual’s trade union membership affects the duration of vacation. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the period 1985 to 2010 and employing pooled OLS-estimators, we find that being a union member goes along with almost one additional day of vacation per year. Estimations exploiting the panel structure of our data suggest that a smaller part of this vacation differential can be due to the union membership status, while self-selection effects play a more important role.

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