nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Cross-task spillovers in workplace teams: Motivation vs. learning By Steven Jacob Bosworth; Simon Bartke
  2. Toward an Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility: Theory and Field Experimental Evidence By Daniel Hedblom; Brent Hickman; John List
  3. The Impact of High-Performance Work Systems on Employees: A Sectoral Comparison By White, Michael; Bryson, Alex
  4. CEO age and organic growth among European firms By Giorgio Barba Navaretti; Davide Castellani; Fabio Pieri
  5. Compliance with socially responsible norms of behavior: reputation vs. conformity By Virginia Cecchini Manara; Lorenzo Sacconi
  6. Workshop attendance as a mode of learning: By de Grip, Andries; Pleijers, Astrid
  7. Gender Differences in Political Career Progression: Evidence from U.S. Elections By Brown, Ryan; Mansour, Hani; O'Connell, Stephen D.; Reeves, James
  8. The Role of Leaders in Inducing and Maintaining Cooperation: The CC Strategy By Kosfeld, Michael

  1. By: Steven Jacob Bosworth (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Simon Bartke (M. M. Warburg & CO (AG & Co.) KGaA)
    Abstract: We study an experimental setting designed to measure non-strategic behavioural spillovers and elucidate their mechanisms. In our setup a principal can observe the individual efforts of two agents in one task but can only observe team effort in another. We vary the availability of piece rate, tournament, team piece rate, and fixed wage contracts for the individually observable task while holding fixed the use of a team pay contract for the task where only team output is observable. We find tournament incentives unexpectedly induce high voluntary effort in the unobservable task, but that this is exclusively driven by cross-task advantageous learning overriding its deleterious effects on pro-social motivation. We therefore see our study as integrating diverse findings into a coherent explanation: Competitive incentives crowd out pro-social motivation, team incentives promote pro-social motivation, but setting a high effort precedent may be more important when employees perceive tasks as related.
    Keywords: motivation, learning, multi-tasking, cooperation
    JEL: C92 D83 M52
    Date: 2019–08–31
  2. By: Daniel Hedblom; Brent Hickman; John List
    Abstract: We develop theory and a tightly-linked field experiment to explore the supply side implications of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our natural field experiment, in which we created our own firm and hired actual workers, generates a rich data set on worker behavior and responses to both pecuniary and CSR incentives. Making use of a novel identification framework, we use these data to estimate a structural principal-agent model. This approach permits us to compare and contrast treatment and selection effects of both CSR and financial incentives. Using data from more than 110 job seekers, we find strong evidence that when a firm advertises work as socially-oriented, it attracts employees who are more productive, produce higher quality work, and have more highly valued leisure time. In terms of enhancing the labor pool, for example, CSR increases the number of applicants by 25 percent, an impact comparable to the effect of a 36 percent increase in wages. We also find an economically important complementarity between CSR and wage offers, highlighting the import of using both to hire and motivate workers. Beyond lending insights into the supply side of CSR, our research design serves as a framework for causal inference on other forms of non-pecuniary incentives and amenities in the workplace, or any other domain more generally.
    Date: 2019
  3. By: White, Michael (Policy Studies Institute); Bryson, Alex (University College London)
    Abstract: Using nationally representative linked employer-employee surveys of workplaces with 50 or more employees we find the adoption of High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS) in the private sector is largely positively correlated with employee job attitudes pre-recession. However, high intensity HPWS has partly adverse consequences for private sector employees in the post-recession period. In contrast, there are no indications of public sector employees responding positively or negatively to HPWS and HPWS is not associated with adverse effects post-recession. The sectoral difference in results is interpreted in terms of different employment relationships and different sources of employee motivation.
    Keywords: high performance work systems, public sector, organizational commitment, intrinsic job satisfaction, well-being
    JEL: I31 J45 M5
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Giorgio Barba Navaretti; Davide Castellani; Fabio Pieri
    Abstract: We examine the relation between the age of CEOs and firm organic growth. In a large sample of mostly privately held European manufacturing firms with more than 10 employees, we find that firms managed by a young CEO grow faster in terms of both sales and assets. Our results are robust to the inclusion of a large vector of firm and CEO characteristics and to controls for endogeneity, survival bias and time horizon. We submit that this relation is explained by an incentive of young CEOs to boost firm growth in order both to signal their talent in the market for managers and to get a longer stream of future compensation benefits. In turn, this may create an agency problem, due to a divergence of this corporate strategy from shareholders’ targets. Consistently, we find that a concentrated ownership, allowing a more effective monitoring, moderates the negative relation between CEO age and firm organic growth.
    Keywords: Chief Executive Officer, CEO age, organic growth, agency theory, European manufacturing firms
    JEL: G32 G34 L25
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Virginia Cecchini Manara (University of Trento); Lorenzo Sacconi (University of Milan)
    Abstract: The Social Responsibility of Business usually involves self-regulation, which entails spontaneous compliance with social norms or standards that are not imposed by hard law. In this paper we discuss the mechanisms that lead economic agents to comply with socially responsible norms that are not legally enforced, and do not coincide with profit, or self-interest, maximization. Companies exist because individuals need to cooperate and some institutions can facilitate cooperation, but at the same time these institutions may turn into places where unfair distributions are amplified and cooperative behaviours and motivations disrupted. The agents who decide to organize themselves into firms are usually motivated by the need to earn some benefit from mutual cooperation: since they have limited knowledge and bounded rationality, team production can highly improve their results. Therefore the main motivation to enter an organization is to gain from cooperation; but this also brings problems of how to divide the surplus that is generated and we find conflicts on the attribution of benefits among stakeholders, with a particular problem of abuse of authority by those who hold power. One of the drivers of socially responsible behaviour is the quest for reputation, which in turn induces a cooperative response from the stakeholders. This can be described in game-theoretical terms with a repeated Trust Game between a trustor (the stakeholder) and a trustee (the management of the firm). The problem with reputation is that it is compatible with multiple equilibria, included the one in which stakeholders always trust the firm, and the firm often abuses this trust. This leads to consider an alternative mechanism for norm compliance: conformity and reciprocity that derive from an impartial agreement among stakeholders. The present work analyses in depth the role of an agreement on cognitions and motivations, grounding on insights from psychology, game theory and experimental findings.
    Keywords: corporate culture, CSR, social contract, agreement, trust game
    JEL: C72 M14 L14 D91
    Date: 2019–08
  6. By: de Grip, Andries (Research Centre for Educ and Labour Mark); Pleijers, Astrid (cbs statistics netherlands, heerlen)
    Abstract: Although workshop attendance appears to be as high as participation in training, this paper is the first study in the educational science, human resource management and labour economics literature that explores the drivers of workshop attendance among the working population. In our analysis of the Dutch Adult Education Survey, we find that workshop attendance is highest among managers and professionals, in contrast to their participation in training. These results confirm our expectation that workshop attendance is important in acquiring state-of-the art knowledge on external developments as a dominant source of competitive advantage for the organization. Furthermore, workshop attendance is positively related to individuals’ level of education. Particularly in workers’ mid-career years, attending workshops appears to be an important mode of learning: Workshop attendance is peaking at the age of 47. Moreover, we find that workshop attendance is complementary to training participation instead of a substitute. Our results show that there are interesting differences between the drivers of workshop attendance and those of participation in training and informal learning.
    Keywords: workshops, training, informal learning, work-related learning, human resource development, absorptive capacity, human capital theory
    Date: 2019–09–02
  7. By: Brown, Ryan (University of Colorado Denver); Mansour, Hani (University of Colorado Denver); O'Connell, Stephen D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Reeves, James (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: This paper establishes the presence of a substantial gender gap in the relationship between state legislature service and the subsequent pursuit of a Congressional career. The empirical approach uses a sample of mixed-gender elections to compare the differential political career progression of women who closely win versus closely lose a state legislature election relative to an analogous impact for men who closely win or lose a state legislature election. We find that the effect of serving a state legislative term on the likelihood of running for a Congressional seat is twice as large for men as women, and its effect on winning a Congressional race is five times larger for men than women. These gaps emerge early in legislators' careers, widen over time, and are seen alongside a higher propensity for female state legislators to recontest state legislature seats. This gender gap in advancing to Congress among state legislators is not generated by gender differences in previously accumulated political experience, political party affiliation, or constituency characteristics. After investigating several explanations, we conclude that the gender gap in political career progression is consistent with the existence of a glass ceiling in politics.
    Keywords: elections, discrimination, politicians, gender gap
    JEL: J16 J24 D72 J71
    Date: 2019–08
  8. By: Kosfeld, Michael (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: I discuss recent findings from behavioral economic experiments in the lab and in the field on the role of leaders in human cooperation. Three implications for leadership are derived, which are summarized under the notion CC strategy. Firstly, leaders need to trust to not demotivate the motivated. Secondly, leaders need to punish to motivate the non-motivated. Finally, leaders shall (and can) attract motivated types. The discussion is embedded in a more general attempt to promote and stimulate interdisciplinary exchange of both methods and ideas in leadership research.
    Keywords: leadership, cooperation, experiments
    JEL: C90 D90 M5
    Date: 2019–08

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