Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation

26 Pages Posted: 3 May 2010

See all articles by Kathrin Breuer

Kathrin Breuer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management

Dirk Sliwka

University of Cologne - Department of Business Administration and Human Resource Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We empirically investigate possible distortions in subjective performance evaluations. A key hypothesis is that evaluations are more upward biased the closer the social ties between supervisor and appraised employee. We test this hypothesis with a company data set from a call center organization which contains not only subjective assessments but also several more objective measures of performance. Controlling for these performance measures, we find strong evidence that evaluations are upwards biased in smaller teams and some evidence that supervisors give better ratings to employees they themselves have evaluated before.

Keywords: subjective performance evaluation, bias, social ties, team size, favoritism

JEL Classification: D03, M52

Suggested Citation

Breuer, Kathrin and Nieken, Petra and Sliwka, Dirk, Social Ties and Subjective Performance Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4913. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1599011

Kathrin Breuer (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Dirk Sliwka

University of Cologne - Department of Business Administration and Human Resource Management ( email )

Koln, 50923
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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