When You Work with a Superman, Will You Also Fly? An Empirical Study of the Impact of Coworkers on Performance

46 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2012 Last revised: 5 May 2018

See all articles by Tom Tan

Tom Tan

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Information Technology and Operations Management Department (ITOM)

Serguei Netessine

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: March 1, 2018

Abstract

We examine a large operational data set in a casual restaurant setting to study how coworkers’ sales ability level affects other workers’ sales performance. We find that waiters react non-linearly to their coworkers’ ability. In particular, when coworkers’ overall sales ability is low, increasing this ability may prompt waiters to redouble both upselling and cross-selling efforts. When overall coworkers’ ability is high, however, further increasing their ability may trigger waiters to reduce sales efforts. Our empirical findings imply that to maximize sales, managers should mix waiters with heterogeneous ability levels during the same shift. Through a counterfactual analysis, we find that considering the inverted-U shaped peer effects when optimizing current waiters’ schedules without changing their utilization may increase total sales by approximately 2.48 per cent at no extra cost.

Keywords: Econometrics, Empirical Study on Staffing; Worker Productivity, Business Analytics, Restaurant Operations, Behavioral Operations Management, Quality/Speed Trade-off

Suggested Citation

Tan, Tom and Netessine, Serguei, When You Work with a Superman, Will You Also Fly? An Empirical Study of the Impact of Coworkers on Performance (March 1, 2018). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2017/10/TOM/ACGRE; SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper No. 18-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2071113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2071113

Tom Tan

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Information Technology and Operations Management Department (ITOM) ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Serguei Netessine (Contact Author)

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6367
United States
(215) 573 3571 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.netessine.com

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