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Adverse Effects of Monitoring: Evidence from a field experiment

Holger Herz and Christian Zihlmann

No 522, FSES Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland

Abstract: We conduct a field experiment with remote workers to assess potential adverse effects of monitoring. We find that monitoring reduces the average performance of workers, in particular among the intrinsically motivated workforce. Moreover, monitoring cultivates the average worker: There are fewer high performers and the variance in performance is significantly reduced. Importantly, we show that performance reductions primarily occur among challenging tasks. These performance reductions significantly increase unit costs in our setting. This effect is particularly severe when challenging tasks have high marginal value, as in high-performance work systems or when tasks are complementary inputs into the production function.

Keywords: Monitoring; Hidden Costs of Control; Remote work; Field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D21 J24 M5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2021-02-26
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-hrm and nep-lma
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