The Effects of Relative Performance Information on Subsequent Cooperation

Workshop’s Topic: I designed an experiment to investigate whether relative performance information (RPI) in an individual task can improve subsequent collaboration by revealing similarities between colleagues. In groups of four, participants first work individually on a more or less difficult math task and then participate in a public goods game. The results show that when group members have similar individual task performance and when the individual task is more difficult, RPI significantly increases their cooperation in the public goods game. From a conceptual perspective, RPI in such situations reveals the challenge that all group members have in common, thus creating a social bond that improves subsequent cooperation. Conversely, RPI does not affect cooperation when it reveals the differential performance of group members, regardless of the individual difficulty of the task. While previous research has focused on the behavioral effects of RPI by highlighting individual differences, this study suggests that RPI can increase collaboration by highlighting individual commonalities, providing a clear explanation for the prevalence of RPI in practice.

Time and Location: 10:00-12:00 AM (GMT+8), Room A423 (School of Management)

Language: Bilingual (Chinese and English)

Introduction of Speakers

Prof. ZHANG Xinyu

Cornell University, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Professor Xinyu Zhang is an assistant professor of accounting at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Her main research interest is management control systems used in practice. Her current work examines how management control systems (e.g., incentives, feedback) bind and alienate individuals and thus influence their cooperation and productivity. She is also interested in the antecedents and consequences of prosocial behavior and misreporting.