Dissertation: The Behavioral Impact of Non-Monetary Workplace Characteristics

The Behavioral Impact of Non-Monetary Workplace Characteristics

Laboratory and Field Experimental Evidence

- in englischer Sprache -

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Schriftenreihe innovative betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis, Band 465

Hamburg , 154 Seiten

ISBN 978-3-8300-9216-2 (Print) |ISBN 978-3-339-09216-8 (eBook)

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This thesis covers four independent research articles on the behavioral impact of selected non-monetary workplace characteristics – i.e. employee voice, task characteristics, and the provision of information – on workers’ individual decision making and workplace performance.

Given the neoclassical assumption of purely self-interested and completely rational utility maximizing individuals (Homines economici), workplace characteristics should be of little interest as long as they are not directly related to payment issues, so that a worker’s utility maximizing effort choice given a fixed wage level remains unaffected. By providing evidence that most individuals do not behave as predicted by the expected utility theory when facing a risky decision situation, the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky not only challenged the idea of the purely rational Homo economicus, their research paper on the so-called prospect theory published in 1979 also depicts one of the cornerstones of modern behavioral economics – resulting in the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.

Even though the bounded rationality of individuals is probably the most prevalent topic, behavioral economics research has also weakened the assumption of a purely self-interested mankind. Other-regarding preferences such as inequality aversion or reciprocal altruism play a nonnegligible role in a variety of everyday situations, including working life (for a survey of experimental results, see Cooper and Kagel forthcoming). Thus, it is very well conceivable that employees do not solely care for the payment they receive but also for e.g. an overall benevolent treatment by the employer or the meaningfulness of their job.

This thesis extends the research which has shown that, given certain circumstances, such non-monetary workplace characteristics are even more important than monetary incentives in that it tests the external validity of former findings by either observing individual behavior in a more general setting or employing a different research methodology.

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