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The impact of psychological traits on performance in sequential tournaments: Evidence from a tennis field experiment

Christoph Bühren () and Philip J. Steinberg ()
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Christoph Bühren: University of Kassel
Philip J. Steinberg: University of Wuppertal

MAGKS Papers on Economics from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung)

Abstract: In order to analyze if heterogeneity in psychological traits affects individual performance in sequential tournaments, we conducted a tennis field experiment. In the experiment, we also varied the payment schemes (individual, team, competition) to control for moderating effects of different incentives. Team incentives, risk taking, and self-esteem reduced performance whereas a preference towards competition enhanced it. On average, we observe a second mover advantage. However, individuals’ psychological traits, such as self-esteem or self-efficacy, can turn a second mover into a first mover advantage. Our results shed new light on the discussion of first vs. second mover advantages and performance under pressure. Study findings have implications for psychological requirements of competitive and team tasks in business settings.

Keywords: Performance under pressure; experiment; psychological traits; second mover advantage; tennis; sequential tournaments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D81 Z20 M52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hrm and nep-spo
Date: 2017
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