Me vs. We: The Effect of Incomplete Team Member Feedback on Cooperation of Self-Regarding Individuals
39 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015 Last revised: 8 Jul 2020
Date Written: November 10, 2015
We examine the effect that feedback of team member contributions to team production has on individuals’ subsequent contributions to team production, specifically for self-regarding individuals (proselfs). Prior literature outlines the adverse effects of free riding, a behavior in which self-regarding individuals often engage. We evaluate how proselfs respond differentially to the type of feedback about team member contributions; input (i.e., time contributed) compared to output (i.e., production units contributed), and whether feedback type can mitigate free riding. We predict that when proselfs view low team member contributions, they will respond more negatively following input feedback than output feedback. Input feedback can provide a stronger signal of effort choice, so low input feedback will be interpreted as intentional. Further, we predict that proselfs’ positive responses will be lower following input feedback, as proselfs are more likely to interpret input feedback in a self-serving manner, which tempers their positive responses. We provide experimental evidence that following input feedback, proselfs respond more negatively to low team contributions and less positively to high team contributions. These responses to input feedback adversely affect team performance. Our findings outline that providing output feedback has the potential to mitigate proselfs’ free riding.
Keywords: Effort allocation, feedback, reciprocity, social value orientation
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