Delegation of Job Design and the Value of Communication with Imperfect Performance Measurement

56 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021 Last revised: 1 Feb 2023

See all articles by Anna Rohlfing-Bastian

Anna Rohlfing-Bastian

Goethe University Frankfurt

Anja Schöttner

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics

Date Written: October 7, 2021

Abstract

Current business practices involve a shift from top-down job design towards bottom-up job crafting which gives employees the authority to design their jobs. This development has been particularly reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. While previous literature has found arguments for job crafting mainly based on psychological reasoning, we adopt an accounting perspective and show in a multitask agency model that the interplay of private information, moral hazard, and imperfect performance measurement can make the delegation of job design to an informed agent beneficial for the firm. A principal contracts with an agent who performs productive effort. After contracting, the agent becomes privately informed about his effort costs for performing one task. The principal can either decide which tasks to include in the agent's job (centralization) or delegate this decision to the agent (delegation). We find that delegation, although it entails a loss of control, can be preferred over centralization when the performance measure is incongruent, and obtain the same result as if costless communication between principal and agent was possible in a centralization setting. The principal may even achieve a benchmark result with delegation that would be obtained with ex-ante observable effort costs.

Keywords: Delegation, Job Design, Task Assignment, Performance Measurement, Congruity, Communication, Incentive Contracts

JEL Classification: M40, M41, D81, D82

Suggested Citation

Rohlfing-Bastian, Anna and Schöttner, Anja, Delegation of Job Design and the Value of Communication with Imperfect Performance Measurement (October 7, 2021). TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency Working Paper Series No. 47, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3853904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3853904

Anna Rohlfing-Bastian (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 4
Frankfurt am Main, 60629
Germany

Anja Schöttner

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Spandauer Str. 1
Berlin, D-10099
Germany

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