The Effect of Identity Actualization and Group-Level Relative Performance Reports on Individual Professionals’ Productivity
Posted: 27 Nov 2020
Date Written: October 12, 2020
This study examines productivity among professionals (i.e., physicians, psychologists, therapists, and nurses) in a mental healthcare clinic, a complex task environment. We investigate the effect of an identity actualization intervention and provision of group-level relative performance information (RPI) reports. We hypothesize that identity actualization should increase perceived goal interdependency and social identity salience and thus lead to higher productivity. Furthermore, we posit that access to group-level RPI reports should increase professionals’ productivity when they have taken part in the identity actualization intervention. We argue that identity actualization enhances the relevance of productivity, allowing group-level RPI reports to trigger engagement in social comparison and impression management among professionals. We test our predictions using a field experiment with a nested design in the mental health division of a large North European university hospital system. Our findings show that receiving group-level RPI reports drives physicians and psychologists to act more productively, while participation in an identity actualization workshop has the opposite effect. These effects appear in one important dimension of productivity – the share of time spent on evidence-based diagnosing and treatment planning activities. The implications for research and practice are discussed.
Keywords: relative performance information (RPI), identity actualization, ASPIRe model, professionals
JEL Classification: I190, M410
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