Workplace Knowledge Flows

79 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jason Sandvik

Jason Sandvik

University of Utah

Richard Saouma

Michigan State University

Nathan Seegert

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Christopher Stanton

Harvard University - Business School (HBS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

What prevents the spread of information among coworkers, and which management practices facilitate workplace knowledge flows? We conducted a field experiment in a sales company, addressing these questions with three active treatments. (1) Encouraging workers to talk about their sales techniques with a randomly chosen partner during short meetings substantially lifted average sales revenue during and after the experiment. The largest gains occurred for those matched with high-performing coworkers. (2) Worker-pairs given incentives to increase joint output increased sales during the experiment but not afterward. (3) Worker-pairs given both treatments had little improvement above the meetings treatment alone. Managerial interventions providing structured opportunities for workers to initiate conversations with peers resulted in knowledge exchange; incentives based on joint output gains were neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge transmission.

Suggested Citation

Sandvik, Jason and Saouma, Richard and Seegert, Nathan and Stanton, Christopher, Workplace Knowledge Flows (January 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14299, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3518641

Jason Sandvik (Contact Author)

University of Utah ( email )

Richard Saouma

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Nathan Seegert

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Christopher Stanton

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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