Team Building and Incentive Schemes in Collaborative Projects

47 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2024

See all articles by Ruth Beer

Ruth Beer

City University of NY, Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business

Anyan Qi

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Ignacio Ríos

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Information Systems & Operations Management

Date Written: June 21, 2024

Abstract

We study the effects of incentive schemes and their interaction with team-building activities to reduce delays in collaborative projects among peers. We introduce a stylized model of a project involving two sequential tasks performed by two workers, each responsible for one task. Workers get a fixed salary, choose between working on the project or taking an alternative option that offers a private benefit but delays their task completion, and incur a penalty that depends either on the delay of their own task (individual incentives) or the delay of the project (group incentives). Based on our analytical results, we conjecture that workers delay their tasks under both group and individual incentives, especially when facing a high alternative option and a large slack. We also conjecture that group incentives lead to shorter task delays than individual incentives. Finally, we predict that the team-building activity leads to a shorter project completion time when coupled with group incentives. To test these predictions, we conduct an experiment replicating the theoretical model, varying the incentives scheme (individual vs. group) and the initial activity that subjects participate in (a team-building activity vs. a control). We find that task delays increase both with the value of the alternative options and the slack. While there are no significant differences in task completion times across incentive schemes, regardless of the initial activity, we find that the team-building activity leads to significantly shorter delays in the second task than the control under group incentives, but not under individual incentives. Our experimental design also enables us to disentangle the behavioral drivers behind these results.

Keywords: behavioral operations management, experiments, collaboration, project management

Suggested Citation

Beer, Ruth and Qi, Anyan and Ríos, Ignacio, Team Building and Incentive Schemes in Collaborative Projects (June 21, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4872792 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4872792

Ruth Beer

City University of NY, Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
New York, NY 10010
United States

Anyan Qi (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

Ignacio Ríos

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Information Systems & Operations Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://iriosu.github.io

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