Incentive Compensation and the Choice of Inventory Buffer
52 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 9, 2008
[enter Abstract Body]Previous research in management accounting and economics has noted the potential for complementarities between the firm’s performance measurement system and its other organizational design choices. We add to this literature by studying how the informativeness and incentive properties of a performance metric can be influenced by one particular organizational design choice — the size of the firm’s inventory buffers. We model a manufacturing setting in which an agent manages a workstation that processes intermediate units. As intermediate units arrive, they are stored in an inventory buffer until the agent can process them. The buffer can hold a maximum number of intermediate units — its buffer size. The agent is compensated on the basis of his workstation’s throughput. We characterize the conditions under which reducing the inventory buffer enhances/degrades the informativeness of the performance metric and, hence, mitigates/exacerbates the agent’s incentive problem.
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