Identity and the Economics of Organizations
Abstract:The economics of organizations is replete with the pitfalls of monetary rewards and punishments to motivate workers. If economic incentives do not work, what does? This paper proposes that workers' self-image as jobholders, coupled with their ideal as to how their job should be done, can be a major work incentive. It shows how such identities can flatten reward schedules, as they solve "principal agent" problem. The paper also identifies and explores a new tradeoff: supervisors may provide information to principals, but create rifts within the workforce and reduce employees' intrinsic work incentives. We motivate the theory with examples from the classic sociology of military and civilian organizations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-12-01
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- The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.
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