"Motivating low performers with input-based relative performance feedback: Evidence from a field experiment"
Although relative performance feedback can increase employee performance, this effect tends to vary depending on whether employees learn they are outperforming or underperforming compared to peers. One cause for a lack of response among underperforming employees could be that they do not attribute relative performance feedback to effort but rather self-servingly to external circumstances outside their control. We conducted a field experiment testing the performance-enhancing effects of relative performance feedback based on inputs, which is relative performance feedback featuring a strong link with effort. Our findings reveal input-based relative performance feedback increases performance, particularly among low performers. These results support our theoretical predictions based on social comparison theory and social loss aversion, and they have practical implications for forms seeking to motivate low performers among their workforce.
*Co-authored with Rainer Michael Rilke (WHU), Sebastian Lehnen, and Christina Guenther
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