nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2021‒08‒30
three papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. The Value of Leadership: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment By Florian Englmaier; Stefan Grimm; Dominik Grothe; David Schindler; Simeon Schudy
  2. Digging into the Digital Divide: Workers' Exposure to Digitalization and Its Consequences for Individual Employment By Genz, Sabrina; Schnabel, Claus
  3. The Long Shadow of an Infection: COVID-19 and Performance at Work By Kai Fischer; J. James Reade; W. Benedikt Schmal

  1. By: Florian Englmaier; Stefan Grimm; Dominik Grothe; David Schindler; Simeon Schudy
    Abstract: Companies increasingly shift from hierarchical to team-based organizational structures. Scholars and practitioners alike have emphasized the potential of leadership to foster performance in these settings. However, the causal impact of leadership is difficult to identify, as in agile and crossfunctional teams leadership is often determined endogenously. This study exploits a unique opportunity to uncover the value of leadership in a non-routine task performed by teams with flat hierarchies. In a large-scale natural field experiment (>1200 participants in 280 teams), we randomly encourage teams to select a leader before performing a complex task. The leadership encouragement increases the fraction of teams solving the task within the given time limit by about 25% and teams’ remaining times by roughly 75%. Choosing a leader not only improves performance time-wise, but also team organization, without reducing the originality of solutions. Hence, leadership encouragements can serve as a cost-effective tool to foster team performance.
    Keywords: teamwork, leadership, non-routine analytical task, complex problem-solving, flat hierarchies
    JEL: C92 C93 J33 D03 M52
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Genz, Sabrina (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Schnabel, Claus (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
    Abstract: While numerous studies have analyzed the aggregate employment effects of digital technologies, this paper focuses on the employment development of individual workers exposed to digitalization. We use a unique linked employer-employee data set for Germany and a direct measure of the first-time introduction of cutting-edge digitalization technologies in establishments between 2011 and 2016. Applying a matching approach, we compare workers in establishments investing in digital technologies with similar employees in establishments that do not make such an investment. We find that the employment stability of incumbent workers is lower in investing than non-investing establishments, but most displaced workers easily find jobs in other firms, and differences in days in unemployment are small. We also document substantial heterogeneities in the employment effects across skill groups, occupational tasks performed, and gender. Employment reactions to digitalization are most pronounced for both low- and high-skilled workers, for workers with non-routine tasks, and for female workers. Our results underline the importance of tackling the impending digital divide among different groups of workers.
    Keywords: digitalization, employment, separations, skills, tasks
    JEL: J21 J63 O33
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Kai Fischer (Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Heinrich Heine University, Germany); J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); W. Benedikt Schmal (Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Heinrich Heine University, Germany)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic shock waves across the globe. Much research addresses direct health implications of an infection, but to date little is known about how this shapes lasting economic effects. This paper estimates the workplace productivity effects of COVID-19 by studying performance of soccer players after an infection. We construct a dataset that encompasses all traceable infections in the elite leagues of Germany and Italy. Relying on a staggered difference-in-differences design, we identify negative short- and longer-run performance effects. Relative to their pre-infection outcomes, infected players’ performance temporarily drops by more than 6%. Over half a year later, it is still around 5% lower. The negative effects appear to have notable spillovers on team performance. We argue that our results could have important implications for labor markets and public health in general. Countries and firms with more infections might face economic disadvantages that exceed the temporary pandemic shock due to potentially long-lasting reductions in productivity.
    Keywords: Labor Performance, Economic Costs of COVID-19, Public Health
    JEL: I18 J24 J44
    Date: 2021–08–19

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