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Leadership with Individual Rewards and Punishments: Do Incentives Reinforce Leading by Example?

Gürerk, Özgür and Lauer, Thomas and Scheuermann, Martin (2015): Leadership with Individual Rewards and Punishments: Do Incentives Reinforce Leading by Example?

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Abstract

Leading by example and the provision of incentives are considered as two important means to influence teammates’ behavior and increase team cooperation. How do these two aspects of leadership interact with each other? Do incentives reinforce leading by example, or do they even weaken its effect? With this experimental study, we clearly disentangle the effects of incentives from the effect of leading by example. We find that individual rewards and punishments are more effective in fostering team cooperation than leading by example as such. Perhaps more importantly, incentives do not reinforce the effect of leading by example, but they rather weaken it – surprisingly even more so with rewards than with punishments.

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