25 Years IWH

Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek

Professor Dr Sabrina Jeworrek
Current Position

since 7/17

Head of the Research Group Organisational 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

cover_DP_2017-26.jpg

Measuring Indirect Effects of Unfair Employer Behavior on Worker Productivity – A Field Experiment

Matthias Heinz Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins Heiner Schumacher Matthias Sutter

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 26, 2017

Abstract

We present a field experiment in which we set up a call-center to study how the productivity of workers is affected if managers treat their co-workers in an unfair way. This question cannot be studied in long-lived organizations since workers may change their career expectations (and hence effort) when managers behave unfairly towards co-workers. In order to rule out such confounds and to measure productivity changes of unaffected workers in a clean way, we create an environment where employees work for two shifts. In one treatment, we lay off parts of the workforce before the second shift. Compared to two different control treatments, we find that, in the layoff treatment, the productivity of the remaining, unaffected workers drops by 12 percent. We show that this result is not driven by peer effects or altered beliefs about the job or the managers’ competence, but rather related to the workers’ perception of unfair behavior of employers towards co-workers. The latter interpretation is confirmed in a survey among professional HR managers. We also show that the effect of unfair behavior on the productivity of unaffected workers is close to the upper bound of the direct effects of wage cuts on the productivity of affected workers. This suggests that the price of an employer’s unfair behavior goes well beyond the potential tit-for-tat of directly affected workers.

read publication

cover_wirtschaft-im-wandel_2017-3.jpg

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.

read publication

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.

read publication

cover_management-science.jpg

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.

read publication

cover_the-behavioural-impcat.jpg

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.

read publication

Working Papers

cover_DP_2017-26.jpg

Measuring Indirect Effects of Unfair Employer Behavior on Worker Productivity – A Field Experiment

Matthias Heinz Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins Heiner Schumacher Matthias Sutter

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 26, 2017

Abstract

We present a field experiment in which we set up a call-center to study how the productivity of workers is affected if managers treat their co-workers in an unfair way. This question cannot be studied in long-lived organizations since workers may change their career expectations (and hence effort) when managers behave unfairly towards co-workers. In order to rule out such confounds and to measure productivity changes of unaffected workers in a clean way, we create an environment where employees work for two shifts. In one treatment, we lay off parts of the workforce before the second shift. Compared to two different control treatments, we find that, in the layoff treatment, the productivity of the remaining, unaffected workers drops by 12 percent. We show that this result is not driven by peer effects or altered beliefs about the job or the managers’ competence, but rather related to the workers’ perception of unfair behavior of employers towards co-workers. The latter interpretation is confirmed in a survey among professional HR managers. We also show that the effect of unfair behavior on the productivity of unaffected workers is close to the upper bound of the direct effects of wage cuts on the productivity of affected workers. This suggests that the price of an employer’s unfair behavior goes well beyond the potential tit-for-tat of directly affected workers.

read publication
Mitglied der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft LogoTotal-Equality-LogoWeltoffen Logo