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 Cluster
Institutions and Social Norms

Your contact

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

Refereed Publications


Unethical Employee Behavior Against Coworkers Following Unkind Management Treatment: An Experimental Analysis

Sabrina Jeworrek Joschka Waibel

in: Managerial and Decision Economics, No. 5, 2021


We study unethical behavior toward unrelated coworkers as a response to managerial unkindness with two experiments. In our lab experiment, we do not find that subjects who experienced unkindness are more likely to cheat in a subsequent competition against another coworker who simultaneously experienced mistreatment. A subsequent survey experiment suggests that behavior in the lab can be explained by individuals' preferences for norm adherence, because unkind management behavior does not alter the perceived moral appropriateness of cheating. However, having no shared experience of managerial unkindness opens up some moral wiggle room for employees to misbehave at the costs of others.

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Measuring the Indirect Effects of Adverse Employer Behaviour on Worker Productivity – A Field Experiment

Matthias Heinz Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins Heiner Schumacher Matthias Sutter

in: Economic Journal, No. 632, 2020


We conduct a field experiment to study how worker productivity is affected if employers act adversely towards their co-workers. Our employees work for two shifts in a call centre. In our main treatment, we lay off some workers before the second shift. Compared to two control treatments, we find that the lay-off reduces the productivity of unaffected workers by 12%. We find suggestive evidence that this result is not driven by altered beliefs about the job or the management’s competence, but caused by the workers’ perception of unfair employer behaviour. The latter interpretation is confirmed in a prediction experiment with professional HR managers. Our results suggest that the price for adverse employer behaviour goes well beyond the potential tit for tat of directly affected workers.

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Wage Delegation in the Field

Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins

in: Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, No. 4, 2019


By conducting a natural field experiment, we analyze the managerial policy of delegating the wage choice to employees. We find that this policy enhances performance significantly, which is remarkable since allocated wage premiums of the same size have no effect at all. Observed self‐imposed wage restraints and absence of negative peer effects speak in favor of wage delegation, although the chosen wage premium levels severely dampen its net value. Additional experimental and survey data provide important insights into employees' underlying motivations.

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Gender Stereotypes still in MIND: Information on Relative Performance and Competition Entry

Sabrina Jeworrek

in: Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, October 2019


By conducting a laboratory experiment, I test whether the gender tournament gap diminishes in its size after providing information on the relative performance of the two genders. Indeed, the gap shrinks sizeably, it even becomes statistically insignificant. Hence, individuals’ entry decisions seem to be driven not only by incorrect self-assessments in general but also by incorrect stereotypical beliefs about the genders’ average abilities. Overconfident men opt less often for the tournament and, thereby, increase their expected payoff. Overall efficiency, however, is not affected by the intervention.

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Financial Literacy and Self-employment

Aida Ćumurović Walter Hyll

in: Journal of Consumer Affairs, No. 2, 2019


In this paper, we study the relationship between financial literacy and self‐employment. We use established financial literacy questions to measure literacy levels. The analysis shows a highly significant and positive correlation between the index and self‐employment. We address the direction of causality by applying instrumental variable techniques based on information about maternal education. We also exploit information on financial support and family background to account for concerns about the exclusion restriction. The results provide support for a positive effect of financial literacy on the probability of being self‐employed. As financial literacy is acquirable, the findings suggest that entrepreneurial activities might be increased by enhancing financial literacy.

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Working Papers


Alone at Home: The Impact of Social Distancing on Norm-consistent Behavior

Sabrina Jeworrek Joschka Waibel

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.

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Crowdsourced Innovation: How Community Managers Affect Crowd Activities

Sabrina Jeworrek Lars Hornuf

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2018


In this study, we investigate whether and to what extent community managers in online collaborative communities can stimulate crowd activities through their engagement. Using a novel data set of 22 large online idea crowdsourcing campaigns, we find that active engagement of community managers positively affects crowd activities in an inverted U-shaped manner. Moreover, we evidence that intellectual stimulation by managers increases community participation, while individual consideration of users has no impact on user activities. Finally, the data reveal that community manager activities that require more effort, such as media file uploads instead of simple written comments, have a larger effect on crowd participation.

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