Organisational Behaviour and Corporate Success
This research group analyzes how non-monetary workplace characteristics (such as voice at the workplace or the perceived meaningfulness of the task) and managerial decision-making (e.g. as regards layoffs) influences the work motivation of employees. From a methodological persepective, the group focuses on conducting (field) experiments. First, such experiments allow us to obtain clean performance measures. Second, and more important, holding all things equal for every participating individual except for the treatment of interest, any change in workers’ performance can be put down to the experimenter’s intervention.
Research ClusterProductivity and Institutions
Competition and Moral Behavior: A Meta-Analysis of Forty-Five Crowd-Sourced Experimental Designs
in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), No. 23, 2023
Does competition affect moral behavior? This fundamental question has been debated among leading scholars for centuries, and more recently, it has been tested in experimental studies yielding a body of rather inconclusive empirical evidence. A potential source of ambivalent empirical results on the same hypothesis is design heterogeneity—variation in true effect sizes across various reasonable experimental research protocols. To provide further evidence on whether competition affects moral behavior and to examine whether the generalizability of a single experimental study is jeopardized by design heterogeneity, we invited independent research teams to contribute experimental designs to a crowd-sourced project. In a large-scale online data collection, 18,123 experimental participants were randomly allocated to 45 randomly selected experimental designs out of 95 submitted designs. We find a small adverse effect of competition on moral behavior in a meta-analysis of the pooled data. The crowd-sourced design of our study allows for a clean identification and estimation of the variation in effect sizes above and beyond what could be expected due to sampling variance. We find substantial design heterogeneity—estimated to be about 1.6 times as large as the average standard error of effect size estimates of the 45 research designs—indicating that the informativeness and generalizability of results based on a single experimental design are limited. Drawing strong conclusions about the underlying hypotheses in the presence of substantive design heterogeneity requires moving toward much larger data collections on various experimental designs testing the same hypothesis.
The Effect of Community Managers on Online Idea Crowdsourcing Activities
in: Journal of the Association for Information Systems, No. 1, 2022
In this study, we investigate whether and to what extent community managers in online collaborative communities can stimulate community activities through their engagement. Using a novel data set of 22 large online idea crowdsourcing campaigns, we find that moderate but steady manager activities are adequate to enhance community participation. Moreover, we show that appreciation, motivation, and intellectual stimulation by community managers are positively associated with community participation but that the effectiveness of these communication strategies depends on the form of participation managers wish to encourage. Finally, the data reveal that community manager activities requiring more effort, such as media file uploads vs. simple written comments, have a stronger effect on community participation.
The Urban Wage Premium in Imperfect Labour Markets
in: Journal of Human Resources, April 2022
Using administrative data for West Germany, this paper investigates whether part of the urban wage premium stems from greater competition in denser labor markets. We show that employers possess less wage-setting power in denser markets. We further document that an important part of the observed urban wage premia can be explained by greater competition in denser labor markets.
Mission, Motivation, and the Active Decision to Work for a Social Cause
in: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, No. 2, 2022
The mission of a job affects the type of worker attracted to an organization but may also provide incentives to an existing workforce. We conducted a natural field experiment with 246 short-term workers. We randomly allocated some of these workers to either a prosocial or a commercial job. Our data suggest that the mission of a job has a performance-enhancing motivational impact on particular individuals only, those 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 half a standard deviation. This effect seems to be a universal phenomenon that is not driven by information about the alternative job, the choice itself, or a particular subgroup.
Gift-Exchange in Society and the Social Integration of Refugees: Evidence from a Field, a Laboratory, and a Survey Experiment
in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, December 2021
Refugee integration requires broad support from the host society, but only a minority is actively engaged. Given that most individuals reciprocate kind behavior, we examine the idea that the proportion of supporters will increase as a reciprocal response to refugees’ contributions to society through volunteering. Our nationwide survey experiment shows that citizens’ intentions to contribute time and money rise significantly when they learn about refugees’ pro-social activities. However, we find a substantial heterogeneity in the observed treatment effects. Individuals with a high reciprocal inclination show higher willingness to contribute time, while individuals with a lower reciprocal inclination are ready to contribute money after learning about the refugees' good deeds. Information regarding the possibility to establish a mutual support relationship with the refugees does not generally increase the willingness to contribute time or money beyond the information on refugees’ general contributions to the society. We complement this investigation with experiments in the lab and the field that confirm our findings for actual behavior.
Where to Go? High-skilled Individuals’ Regional Preferences
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 27, 2022
We conduct a discrete choice experiment to investigate how the location of a firm in a rural or urban region affects job attractiveness and contributes to the spatial sorting of university students and graduates. We characterize the attractiveness of a location based on several dimensions (social life, public infrastructure, connectivity) and combine this information with an urban or rural attribution. We also vary job design as well as contractual characteristics of the job. We find that job offers from companies in rural areas are generally considered less attractive. This is true regardless of the attractiveness of the region. The negative perception is particularly pronounced among persons with urban origin and singles. These persons rate job offers from rural regions significantly worse. In contrast, high-skilled individuals who originate from rural areas as well as individuals with partners and kids have no specific preference for jobs in urban or rural areas.
Alone at Home: The Impact of Social Distancing on Norm-consistent Behavior
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2021
Around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned daily live upside down since social distancing is probably the most effective means of containing the virus until herd immunity is reached. Social norms have been shown to be an important determinant of social distancing behaviors. By conducting two experiments and using the priming method to manipulate social isolation recollections, we study whether social distancing has in turn affected norms of prosociality and norm compliance. The normative expectations of what behaviors others would approve or disapprove in our experimental setting did not change. Looking at actual behavior, however, we find that persistent social distancing indeed caused a decline in prosociality – even after the relaxation of social distancing rules and in times of optimism. At the same time, our results contain some good news since subjects seem still to care for norms and become more prosocial once again after we draw their attention to the empirical norm of how others have previously behaved in a similar situation.