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

46 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2015 Last revised: 3 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: November 9, 2015

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.

Suggested Citation

Tan, Tom and Netessine, Serguei, When You Work with a Super Man, Will You Also Fly? An Empirical Study of the Impact of Coworkers on Performance (November 9, 2015). The Wharton School Research Paper Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2688097 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2688097

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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