Paul W. Black

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Andrew H. Newman


Peer recognition systems are an increasingly popular management control tool through which employees can recognize and thank other employees. While these systems have potential to motivate firm desired behaviors, including behaviors that are unobservable by management, little is known about if, or when, they are effective. Using a laboratory experiment, I examine the effectiveness of these systems in motivating employee helping behavior, both when the system includes rewards and when it does not. While I document that helping behavior is generally greater when peer recognition systems are present, I also document that group affiliation is a key moderating factor in determining the effectiveness of these systems. Specifically, I find that peer recognition systems are more effective in motivating in-group versus out-group helping. Conversely, I also find that the incremental benefit of adding rewards to a peer recognition system is greater for out-group versus in-group helping. Theoretical and practical implications for peer recognition system design are discussed.

Included in

Business Commons