“The Good News about Bad News”: Information about Past Organizational Failure and Its Impact on Worker Productivity
Failure in organizations is very common. Little is known about whether leaders should provide information about past organizational failure to followers and how this might affect their future performance. We conducted a field experiment in which we recruited temporary workers to carry out a phone campaign to attract new volunteers and randomly assigned them to either receive or not to receive information about a failed mail campaign pursuing the same goal. We find that informed workers performed better, regardless of whether they had previously worked on the failed mail campaign or not. Evidence from a second field experiment with students asked to support voluntarily a campaign for reducing food waste corroborates the finding. We explore the role of leadership tactics behind our findings in a third online survey experiment. We conclude that information about past failure is unlikely to have a negative impact on work performance, and might even lead to performance improvement. Implications for future research on the relevance of leadership tactics when giving such information are discussed.
Measuring the Indirect Effects of Adverse Employer Behaviour on Worker Productivity – A Field Experiment
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.
Wage Delegation in the Field
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy,
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.