Fehrler, Sebastian

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Pro-social missions and worker motivation : an experimental study

2014, Fehrler, Sebastian, Kosfeld, Michael

Do employees work harder if their job has the right mission? In a laboratory labor market experiment, we test whether subjects provide higher effort if they can choose the mission of their job. We observe that subjects do not provide higher effort than in a control treatment. Surprised by this finding, we run a second experiment in which subjects can choose whether they want to work on a job with their preferred mission or not. A subgroup of agents (roughly one third) is willing to do so even if this option is more costly than choosing the alternative job. Moreover, we find that these subjects provide substantially higher effort. These results suggest that some workers can be motivated by missions and that selection into mission-oriented organizations is an important factor to explain empirical findings of lower wages and high motivation in these organizations.

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Can you trust the good guys? : Trust within and between groups with different missions

2013-12, Fehrler, Sebastian, Kosfeld, Michael

Non-governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations attract workers who strongly identify themselves with their missions.Westudy whether these ‘‘good guys’’ are more trustworthy, and how such pronounced group identities affect trust and trustworthiness within the groups and towards out-groups. We find that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-profit mission are more trustworthy in a minimal group setting but also harshly discriminate against out-groups when subjects are grouped by the missions they identify themselves with.