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Cheating in the workplace: an experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity

Cheating in the workplace: an experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity
Cheating in the workplace: an experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity
We use an online real-effort experiment to investigate how bonus-based pay and worker productivity interact with workplace cheating. Firms often use bonus-based compensation plans, such as group bonuses and firm-wide profit sharing, that induce considerable uncertainty in how much workers are paid. Exposing workers to a compensation scheme based on random bonuses makes them cheat more but has no effect on their productivity. We also find that more productive workers behave more dishonestly. We explain how these results suggest that workers’ cheating behavior responds to the perceived fairness of their employer’s compensation scheme.
0167-2681
120-134
Gill, David
2319117f-b14e-48c6-8a33-34f5c9d4e2ea
Prowse, Victoria
ffdd8965-c965-4f96-a8fa-c8e506af564b
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7
Gill, David
2319117f-b14e-48c6-8a33-34f5c9d4e2ea
Prowse, Victoria
ffdd8965-c965-4f96-a8fa-c8e506af564b
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7

Gill, David, Prowse, Victoria and Vlassopoulos, Michael (2013) Cheating in the workplace: an experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 96, 120-134. (doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2013.09.011).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We use an online real-effort experiment to investigate how bonus-based pay and worker productivity interact with workplace cheating. Firms often use bonus-based compensation plans, such as group bonuses and firm-wide profit sharing, that induce considerable uncertainty in how much workers are paid. Exposing workers to a compensation scheme based on random bonuses makes them cheat more but has no effect on their productivity. We also find that more productive workers behave more dishonestly. We explain how these results suggest that workers’ cheating behavior responds to the perceived fairness of their employer’s compensation scheme.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 10 October 2013
Published date: December 2013
Organisations: Economics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358306
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358306
ISSN: 0167-2681
PURE UUID: 09e47dca-b871-4243-b93c-9db9f5c4a8ef
ORCID for Michael Vlassopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3683-1466

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Oct 2013 13:34
Last modified: 26 Nov 2019 01:43

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Contributors

Author: David Gill
Author: Victoria Prowse

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