Promotion Tournament

34 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2001

See all articles by Kong-Pin Chen

Kong-Pin Chen

Academia Sinica - Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences; National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2001


This paper studies the "negative" activities of members in organizations. In competing for promotion, the members not only can work to enhance their own performances, but can also work to "sabotage" their opponents in order to decrease their performances. They find it worthwhile to engage in negative activities because promotion is based on relative performance, and that its nature is all-or-nothing. We investigate the nature, determinants and impact of the negative activities. We find that abler members are subject to more attacks. Moreover, not only is there double inefficiency in effort, but also that those of the highest caliber might not have the best chance to be promoted. The paper also discusses several institutional designs to reduce the influence of negative activities.

Keywords: rank-order tournament, sabotage, relative performance, promotion, organization

JEL Classification: D0, J3, J4, L2

Suggested Citation

Chen, Kong-Pin, Promotion Tournament (March 2001). Available at SSRN: or

Kong-Pin Chen (Contact Author)

Academia Sinica - Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

Academia Sinica
Nankang, Taipei, 11529
886 2 2789 8160 (Phone)
886 2 2785 4160 (Fax)


National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

21 Hsiu Chow Rd
Taipei, 10020

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