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The Dark Side of Competition for Status

Gary Charness (), David Masclet () and Marie Claire Villeval ()

Management Science, 2014, vol. 60, issue 1, 38-55

Abstract: Unethical behavior within organizations is not rare. We investigate experimentally the role of status-seeking behavior in sabotage and cheating activities aiming at improving one's performance ranking in a flat-wage environment. We find that average effort is higher when individuals are informed about their relative performance. However, ranking feedback also favors disreputable behavior. Some individuals do not hesitate to incur a cost to improve their rank by sabotaging others' work or by increasing artificially their own performance. Introducing sabotage opportunities has a strong detrimental effect on performance. Therefore, ranking incentives should be used with care. Inducing group identity discourages sabotage among peers but increases in-group rivalry.Data, as supplemental material, are available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2013.1747 . This paper was accepted by John List, behavioral economics.

Keywords: status; ranking; feedback; sabotage; doping; competitive preferences; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2013.1747 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2014)
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of Competition for Status (2012)
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