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Workplace Knowledge Flows

Jason Sandvik, Richard Saouma, Nathan Seegert and Christopher T. Stanton

No 26660, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: What prevents the spread of information among coworkers, and which management practices facilitate workplace knowledge flows? We conducted a field experiment in a sales company, addressing these questions with three active treatments. (1) Encouraging workers to talk about their sales techniques with a randomly chosen partner during short meetings substantially lifted average sales revenue during and after the experiment. The largest gains occurred for those matched with high-performing coworkers. (2) Worker-pairs given incentives to increase joint output increased sales during the experiment but not afterward. (3) Worker-pairs given both treatments had little improvement above the meetings treatment alone. Managerial interventions providing structured opportunities for workers to initiate conversations with peers resulted in knowledge exchange; incentives based on joint output gains were neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge transmission.

JEL-codes: J24 L23 M12 M5 M52 M53 M54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-hrm, nep-knm and nep-lma
Note: LS PR
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Published as Jason J Sandvik & Richard E Saouma & Nathan T Seegert & Christopher T Stanton, 2020. "Workplace Knowledge Flows*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 135(3), pages 1635-1680.

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