nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2018‒06‒25
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Leading by Doing: How Female Supervisors Motivate Worker Productivity through Subordinate Scut Work By Ranganathan, Aruna; Shivaram, Ranjitha
  2. The Impact of Sickness Absenteeism on Productivity: New Evidence from Belgian Matched Panel Data By Grinza, Elena; Rycx, Francois
  3. Trust and Signals in Workplace Organization: Evidence from Job Autonomy Differentials between Immigrant Groups By van Hoorn, Andre
  4. Productivity and wage effects of firm-level collective agreements: Evidence from Belgian linked panel data By Andrea Garnero; François Rycx; Isabelle Terraz
  5. A Tilt Toward Equality? Gender and Allocation in Horizontal Organizations By Sterling, Adina; Perry-Smith, J.
  6. Skewed task conflicts in teams: what happens when a few members see more conflict than the rest? By Sinha, Ruchi; Janardhanan, Niranjan S.; Greer, Lindred L.; Conlon, Donald E.; Edwards, Jeffery R.
  7. Wages and employment: The role of occupational skills By Esther Mirjam Girsberger; Miriam Rinawi; Matthias Krapf
  8. Professionals On Corporate Boards In Japan: How Do They Affect The Bottom Line? By Mari Sako; Katsuyuki Kubo

  1. By: Ranganathan, Aruna (Stanford University); Shivaram, Ranjitha (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: Using ethnographic, personnel, and field experimental data from an Indian garment factory, this paper investigates whether manager gender affects worker productivity and if so, how. We argue that female managers motivate greater worker productivity than male managers in female-typed workplaces by performing subordinate scut work--routine tasks of their subordinates--which increases subordinates' engagement with their work. We posit that female managers are more likely to do subordinate scut work in female-typed workplaces and are more effective than male managers when they do, given the female-typing of their subordinates' tasks. Our qualitative data help to generate hypotheses that we test using (a) personnel data on individual worker productivity, where workers experience quasi-random switches between male and female supervisors, and (b) a lab-in-the-field experiment, where we experimentally manipulate supervisors* ability to perform subordinate scut work. This paper contributes to the literature on motivating worker productivity by drawing attention to the important role of manager gender and by studying a female-typed workplace. The paper also contributes to the literature on gender and leadership by investigating objective worker productivity and uncovering subordinate scut work as a novel managerial practice that fosters engagement with work and improves worker productivity.
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Grinza, Elena (University of Milan); Rycx, Francois (Free University of Brussels)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of sickness absenteeism on productivity by using rich longitudinal matched employer-employee data on Belgian private firms. We deal with endogeneity, which arises from unobserved firm heterogeneity and reverse causality, by applying a modified version of the Ackerberg et al's (2015) control function method, which explicitly removes firm fixed effects. Our main finding is that, in general, sickness absenteeism substantially dampens firm productivity. An increase of 1 percentage point in the rate of sickness absenteeism entails a productivity loss of 0.24%. Yet, we find that the impact is much diversified depending on the categories of workers who are absent and across different types of firms. Our results show that sickness absenteeism is detrimental mainly when absent workers are high-tenure or blue-collar workers. Moreover, they show that sickness absenteeism is harmful mostly to industrial firms, high capital-intensive companies, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. This overall picture is coherent with the idea that sickness absenteeism is problematic when absent workers embed high levels of firm/task-specific (tacit) knowledge, when the work of absent employees is highly interconnected with the work of other employees (e.g., along the assembly line), and when firms face more limitations in substituting temporarily absent workers.
    Keywords: sickness absenteeism, firm productivity, semiparametric methods for estimating production functions, longitudinal matched employer-employee data
    JEL: D24 M59 I15
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: van Hoorn, Andre
    Abstract: Trust involves a willingness to be vulnerable to other agents’ actions as well as an assessment of these agents’ trustworthiness. This paper seeks to unpack the relationship between trust and workplace organization, focusing on signals of (un)trustworthiness guiding employers’ trust decisions. While much research finds that societal trust norms affect workplace organization, particularly the granting of autonomy to employees, the underlying process remains essentially a black box. Integrating extant literatures, I posit that employers use group-level traits to infer (un)trustworthiness and decide on how much job autonomy to grant to specific employees. I test this prediction in a large cross-national sample comprising migrant employees originating from home countries that differ in the degree to which corruption has been institutionalized in society. Confirming my prediction, empirical results reveal a strong negative relationship between homecountry corruption and job autonomy. Results are robust to controlling for a range of potential confounders, including personal income and home-country level of economic development as proxies for unobserved skill differentials. Key contribution of the paper is to reveal important real-world features of trust governing exchange in the context of workplace organization.
    Keywords: Trustworthiness; decentralization; statistical discrimination; signaling theory; economic exchange
    JEL: D29 L29 M50
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Andrea Garnero; François Rycx; Isabelle Terraz
    Abstract: How do firm-level collective agreements affect firm performance in a multi-level bargaining system? Using detailed Belgian linked employer-employee panel data, our findings show that firm agreements increase both wage costs and productivity (with respect to sector-level agreements). Relying on a recent approach developed by Bartolucci (2014), they also indicate that firm agreements exert a stronger impact on wages than on productivity, so that profitability is hampered. However, this rent-sharing effect only holds in manufacturing. In private sector services, the raw wage premium associated to firm agreements is entirely driven by compositional effects. Furthermore, estimates show that firm agreements lead to significantly more rent-sharing among firms operating in less competitive environments. Firm agreements are thus mainly found to raise wages beyond productivity when the rents to be shared between workers and firms are relatively big. Overall, this suggests that firm-level agreements benefit to both employers and employees – through higher productivity and wages – without being very detrimental to firms’ performance.
    Keywords: Collective bargaining; productivity; labour costs; linked panel data
    JEL: C33 J24 J31
    Date: 2018–06–04
  5. By: Sterling, Adina (Stanford University); Perry-Smith, J. (Emory University)
    Abstract: This paper tackles the intersection of two trends, the increasing prevalence of flat, so-called horizontal organizations and the greater gender diversity of the workers that such organizations employ. We investigate why these organizations may be more equitable in their allocation practices by turning attention to the allocation of individuals into work groups where the social prominence of the members vary. Analysis of data on 3,575 employees working in R&D over a twenty-five year period indicates that performance affects working with socially-prominent employees, and also that women receive better allocation outcomes from their performance than men. We locate this surprising gender-based advantage for women in their numerical rarity, and surmise that once women are no longer rare in organizations this effect dissipates. In an experiment with 710 participants we find support for our proposition. High performing women receive more favorable allocation outcomes than equally high performing men, but only when women are numerically rare. These two studies inform our understanding of how new ways of organizing intersect with organizational demography and gender diversity, and why, even if there is a tilt toward equality this may decelerate with greater entry of women into horizontal organizations.
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Sinha, Ruchi; Janardhanan, Niranjan S.; Greer, Lindred L.; Conlon, Donald E.; Edwards, Jeffery R.
    Abstract: Task conflict has been the subject of a long-standing debate in the literature—when does task conflict help or hurt team performance? We propose that this debate can be resolved by taking a more precise view of how task conflicts are perceived in teams. Specifically, we propose that in teams, when a few team members perceive a high level of task disagreement while a majority of others perceive low levels of task disagreement—that is, there is positively skewed task conflict, task conflict is most likely to live up to its purported benefits for team performance. In our first study of student teams engaged in a business decision game, we find support for the positive relationship between skewed task conflict and team performance. In our second field study of teams in a financial corporation, we find that the relationship between positively skewed task conflict and supervisor ratings of team performance is mediated by reflective communication within the team.
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2016–07–01
  7. By: Esther Mirjam Girsberger (University of Lausanne); Miriam Rinawi (Swiss National Bank); Matthias Krapf (University of Basel)
    Abstract: How skills acquired in vocational education and training (VET) affect wages and employment is not clear. We develop and estimate a search and matching model for workers with a VET degree. Workers differ in interpersonal, cognitive and manual skills, while firms require and value different combinations of these skills. Assuming that match productivity exhibits worker-job complementarity, we estimate how interpersonal, cognitive and manual skills map into job offers, unemployment and wages. We find that firms value cognitive skills on average almost twice as much as interpersonal and manual skills, and they prize complementarity in cognitive and interpersonal skills. The average return to VET skills in hourly wages is 9%, similar to the returns to schooling. Furthermore, VET appears to improve labour market opportunities through higher job arrival rate and lower job destruction. Workers thus have large benefits from acquiring a VET degree.
    Keywords: Occupational training, vocational education, labor market search, sorting, multidimensional skills
    JEL: E24 J23 J24 J64
    Date: 2018–06
  8. By: Mari Sako (FFJ - Fondation France-Japon de l'EHESS - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Katsuyuki Kubo (FFJ - Fondation France-Japon de l'EHESS - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)
    Abstract: Licensed professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, play a variety of roles when they sit on corporate boards. This paper sheds light on what role professional-directors play under what circumstances, and its consequences for corporate performance. We develop a theory that links professional roles (as cops, counsel, or entrepreneur) to antecedents in terms of external environment (notably the extent of government regulation) and to consequences for firm performance (profitability, corporate valuation, and stock return volatility). Using a data of all publicly quoted companies in Japan during 2004-2015, we demonstrate that the presence of professional-directors increases profitability and corporate valuation in all sectors, and that they contribute to higher stock return volatility in regulated and lower volatility in less regulated industries. The differential impacts of professional roles on firm performance – by acting as ‘entrepreneur' in regulated industries and as ‘cops' in non-regulated industries – have implications for board composition and board effectiveness. We provide discussion of the implications in the context of corporate governance reforms in Japan.
    Keywords: professionals,lawyers,accountants,corporate governance,board of directors,actor-centered institutionalism
    Date: 2018–04–18

This nep-hrm issue is ©2018 by Patrick Kampkötter. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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