A Marathon, a Series of Sprints, or Both? Tournament Horizon and Dynamic Task Complexity in Multi-Period Settings

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 Last revised: 8 Dec 2015

See all articles by Willie Choi

Willie Choi

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Andrew H. Newman

University of South Carolina

Ivo Tafkov

Georgia State University

Date Written: November 12, 2015

Abstract

When using a tournament in multi-period settings, firms have discretion in selecting the tournament horizon. For example, firms can use a single tournament (a grand tournament) or a sequence of multiple tournaments each with a shorter horizon than a grand tournament (a repeated tournament). Firms have also begun to use a combination of both in which a repeated tournament is embedded within a grand tournament (a hybrid tournament). Using an experiment, we investigate whether the effect of tournament horizon on performance depends on the dynamic complexity of the task, which reflects the potential for effort in one period to influence the link between effort and performance in future periods. When dynamic task complexity is low, we find performance is greatest in the hybrid tournament, followed by the repeated and then the grand tournament. In contrast, when dynamic task complexity is high, we find performance is greatest in the repeated tournament, followed by the grand and hybrid tournaments, with similar performance in the latter two tournaments. More generally, the results of our experiment suggest the effect of tournament horizon on performance depends on dynamic task complexity. These results can help firms make better decisions when designing their tournaments by reinforcing the need to align the tournament horizon with the task.

Keywords: tournaments, tournament horizon, dynamic task complexity

Suggested Citation

Choi, Jongwoon and Newman, Andrew H. and Tafkov, Ivo, A Marathon, a Series of Sprints, or Both? Tournament Horizon and Dynamic Task Complexity in Multi-Period Settings (November 12, 2015). Accounting Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2312832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2312832

Jongwoon Choi

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

Wisconsin School of Business
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
United States

Andrew H. Newman (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

Columbia, SC
United States

Ivo Tafkov

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
634
PlumX Metrics