Date of this Version
Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 15-48
This paper investigates how the success of a management practice depends on the nature of the long-term relationship between the firm and its employees. A large US transportation company is in the process of fitting its trucks with an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR), which provide drivers with information on their driving performance. In this setting, a natural question is whether the optimal managerial practice consists of: (1) Letting each driver know his or her individual performance only; or (2) Also providing drivers with information about their ranking with respect to other drivers. The company is also in the first phase of a multi-year initiative to remake its internal operations. This first phase corresponds to an overhaul of the relational contract with its employees, focusing exclusively on changing values toward a greater emphasis on teamwork and empowerment. The main result of our randomized experiment is that (2) leads to better performance than (1) in a particular site if and only if the site has not yet received the values intervention, and worse performance if it has. The result is consistent with the presence of a conflict between competition-based managerial practices and a cooperation-based relational contract. More broadly, it highlights the role of intangible relational factors in determining the optimal set of managerial practices.
relational contracts, management practices, transportation, performance ranking
Blader, S., Gartenberg, C. M., & Prat, A. (2015). The Contingent Effect of Management Practices. Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 15-48, Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/mgmt_papers/273
Date Posted: 19 February 2018