Status Motives and Agent-to-Agent Information Sharing: How Evolutionary Psychology Shapes Agents' Responses to Control System Design
49 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015 Last revised: 23 Sep 2020
Date Written: March 9, 2020
The quality of decision making within firms often depends on the willingness of agents to share information with other agents. In two studies, we examine the effects of status motives, i.e., the desire to gain the respect of and deference from others, on information sharing. We investigate information sharing in two different control systems: one in which agents receive incentives to share and one in which agents incur costs to share. We draw on theory from evolutionary psychology to argue that status motives modify agents’ responses to the control systems — specifically, constraining the willingness to share information when agents receive incentives to do so but increasing this willingness when agents incur costs to do so. We discuss the implications of our findings for information sharing, and the implications of applying an evolutionary framework of agent motivation to understand decision making in firms.
Keywords: information sharing, controls, evolutionary psychology, incentive contracting, status
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