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Fighting alone or fighting for a team: Evidence from experimental pairwise contests

Lingbo Huang and Zahra Murad ()

No 2018-06, Working Papers in Economics & Finance from University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group

Abstract: People who compete alone may entertain different psychological motivations from those who compete for a team. Using a real-effort experiment, we examine the behavioural consequences of these psychological motivations, absent strategic interdependence and uncertainty among team members. We exploit a dynamic pairwise team contest in which strategic uncertainties among team members play a minimised role in individual rational behaviour; and we create strategically-equivalent individual contests to isolate the pure psychological effects of team situation on individual competitive behaviour. We find that behaviour in individual contests and in sterile team contests follows a psychological momentum effect in which leaders work harder than trailers. In contrast, in team contests enriched with intra-team communication, behaviour follows a neutral effect. We discuss the implications of our results for theoretical modelling of contests and practical implications for the optimal design of team incentive schemes and personnel management.

Keywords: individual versus team behaviour; real-effort experiment; pairwise team contest; best-of-three team contest; communication; psychological momentum effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C33 C72 D79 C91 C92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42
Date: 2018-09-19
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hrm, nep-soc and nep-spo
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