Motivating Low Performers with Input-based Relative Performance Feedback

44 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2021 Last revised: 13 Dec 2022

See all articles by Rainer Michael Rilke

Rainer Michael Rilke

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Victor van Pelt

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Sebastian Lehnen

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Christina Günther

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Date Written: December 13, 2022

Abstract

A growing challenge for firms is delivering performance feedback that motivates low-performing employees. Our study examines whether this can be achieved by providing relative performance feedback based on inputs, which is relative performance feedback featuring more controllable performance measures. We predict that input-based relative performance feedback increases feelings of being in control and provides concrete guidance on how low performers can improve. To test our prediction, we conducted a field experiment in a sales department of a software firm. Our findings support our prediction by showing that input-based relative performance feedback increases input-based performance among low performers without affecting high performers. We also find that it increases low performers’ contributions to the firm’s outputs. Our study adds an important refinement to how relative performance feedback facilitates upward social comparison and has implications for firms seeking to motivate low performers in their workforce.

Keywords: Relative performance feedback, performance evaluation, field experiment, social comparison, social status, inputs, ranking, performance measurement.

JEL Classification: C93, D91, M40, M41

Suggested Citation

Rilke, Rainer Michael and van Pelt, Victor and Lehnen, Sebastian and Guenther, Christina, Motivating Low Performers with Input-based Relative Performance Feedback (December 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3978948 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3978948

Rainer Michael Rilke (Contact Author)

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Victor Van Pelt

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Sebastian Lehnen

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Christina Guenther

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
201
Abstract Views
756
Rank
227,985
PlumX Metrics