Sabotages in Promotion Tournaments

Posted: 8 Feb 2003

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

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The paper studies the nature, determinants, and impacts of "negative" activities in organizations. In competing for promotion, the members in organizations can work not only to enhance their own performances, but also to "sabotage" their opponents' performances. They find it worthwhile to engage in negative activities because promotion is based on relative, rather than absolute, performance, and its nature is winner-take-all. We find that abler members are subject to more attacks. Consequently, not only is there double inefficiency in effort, but also members of highest caliber do not necessarily have the best chance of promotion. Finally, we discuss several institutional designs that might help to reduce the influence of negative activities.

Keywords: promotion, tournament, relative performance, sabotage

JEL Classification: J2, J3, J4, D2, D8

Suggested Citation

Chen, Kong-Pin, Sabotages in Promotion Tournaments. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Vol. 19, 2003. Available at SSRN:

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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