nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2019‒07‒08
five papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Team Incentives, Social Cohesion, and Performance: A Natural Field Experiment By Josse Delfgaauw; Robert Dur; Okemena Onemu; Joeri Sol
  2. Firm Organization with Multiple Establishments By Gumpert, Anna; Steimer, Henrike; Antoni, Manfred
  3. Does Workplace Competition Increase Labor Supply? Evidence from a Field Experiment By Amalia R. Miller; Ragan Petrie; Carmit Segal
  4. Skill Mismatch and Skill Transferability: Review of Concepts and Measurements By Ljubica Nedelkoska; Frank Neffke
  5. Working for an entrepreneur: Heaven or Hell? By Nyström, Kristina

  1. By: Josse Delfgaauw (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Robert Dur (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Okemena Onemu (Leiden University); Joeri Sol (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment in a Dutch retail chain with 122 stores to study the interaction between team incentives, team social cohesion, and team performance. Theory predicts that the effect of team incentives on team performance depends on a team's social cohesion. In particular, free-riding should be weaker when co-workers care more about each other. Conversely, team incentives may lead to more co-worker support or to higher peer pressure and thereby can affect the team's social cohesion. We introduce short-term team incentives in a randomly selected subset of stores and measure for all stores, both before and after the intervention, the team's sales performance, the team's social cohesion as well as co-worker support and peer pressure. The average treatment effect of the team incentive on sales is 1.5 percentage points, which does not differ significantly from zero. In line with theory, the estimated treatment effect strongly increases in social cohesion as measured before the intervention. We find that social cohesion itself is not affected by the team incentives. Our study illustrates the potential of complementing a field experiment with ex ante and ex post questionnaire data collection for the study of management practices, workplace behavior, and performance.
    Keywords: field experiment, team incentives, social cohesion
    JEL: C93 M52
    Date: 2019–06–29
  2. By: Gumpert, Anna (LMU Munich); Steimer, Henrike (Stanford GSB); Antoni, Manfred (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung)
    Abstract: How do geographic frictions affect firm organization? We show theoretically and empirically that geographic frictions increase the use of middle managers in multi-establishment firms. In our model, we assume that a CEO\'s time is a resource in limited supply, shared across headquarters and establishments. Geographic frictions increase the costs of accessing the CEO. Hiring middle managers at one establishment substitutes for CEO time, which is reallocated across all establishments. Consequently, geographic frictions between the headquarters and one establishment affect the organization of all establishments of a firm. Our model is consistent with novel facts about multi-establishment firm organization that we document using administrative data from Germany. We exploit the opening of high-speed train routes to show that not only the establishments directly affected by faster travel times but also the other establishments of the firm adjust their organization. Our findings imply that local conditions propagate across space through firm organization.
    Keywords: firm organization; multi-establishment firm; knowledge hierarchy; geography;
    JEL: D21 D22 D24
    Date: 2019–06–28
  3. By: Amalia R. Miller; Ragan Petrie; Carmit Segal
    Abstract: This paper develops a novel field experiment to test the implicit prediction of tournament theory that competition increases work time and can therefore contribute to the long work hours required in elite occupations. A majority of workers in the treatment without explicit financial incentives worked past the minimum time, but awarding a tournament prize increased work time and effort by over 80% and lowered costs of effort or output by over a third. Effort was similar with alternative (piece rate, low-prize tournament) bonuses. Men worked longer than women in the high-prize tournament, but for the same duration in other treatments.
    JEL: J16 J22 J33 J44 M52 M55
    Date: 2019–06
  4. By: Ljubica Nedelkoska; Frank Neffke
    Abstract: The notion of skills plays an increasingly important role in a variety of research fields. Since the foundational work on human capital theory, economists have approached skills through the lens of education, training and work experience, whereas early work in evolutionary economics and management stressed the analogy between skills of individuals and the organizational routines of firms. We survey how the concept of skills has evolved into notions such as skills mismatch, skill transferability and skill distance or skill relatedness in labor economics, management, and evolutionary approaches to economics and economic geography. We find that these disciplines converged in embracing increasingly sophisticated approaches to measuring skills. Economists have expanded their approach from quantifying skills in terms of years of education to measuring them more directly, using skill tests, self-reported skills and job tasks, or skills and job tasks reported by occupational experts. Others have turned to administrative and other large-scale data sets to infer skill similarities and complementarities from the careers of sometimes millions of workers. Finally, a growing literature on team human capital and skill complementarities has started thinking of skills as features of collectives, instead of only of individuals. At the same time, scholars in corporate strategy have studied the micro-determinants of team formation. Combined, the developments in both strands of research may pave the way to an understanding of how individual-level skills connect to firm-level routines.
    Keywords: Human capital, skills and tasks, skill relatedness, skill mismatch, skill transferability
    JEL: J24 J62 P25 L16
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Nyström, Kristina (The Ratio Institute)
    Abstract: Recruiting employees to an entrepreneurial venture is a challenging task. From the employee’s perspective, accepting a position in an entrepreneurial venture potentially implies considerable uncertainty. This paper provide a literature review and identifies research gaps related to labor mobility of employees into and out of entrepreneurial firms. Who works for an entrepreneur? What are the conditions under which the employees of entrepreneurial firms work? Additionally, labor mobility after an employee works for an entrepreneurial firm is discussed. In conclusion the quality of the jobs generated by entrepreneurial firms may be questionable (and still relatively unexplored in empirical research), but they are nevertheless important from a labor dynamics perspective. Better understanding about motives to work for an entrepreneur, issues related to job security beyond survival rates, and job quality may contribute to ease the recruitment problems that many entrepreneurial firms struggle with. Furthermore, the relevance and potential pros and cons of working for an entrepreneurial firm in future career paths (entrepreneur or employee) needs to be carefully addressed in future research.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; labor mobility; employees in entrepreneurial firms
    JEL: J21 J62 L26
    Date: 2019–06–19

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