Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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Abstracts WS 2018/19

Dr. Agne Kajackaite
Poverty Negates the Impact of Social Norms on

Cheating such as corruption and tax evasion are extremely prevalent in the developing world and therefore many interventions have been undertaken to reduce cheating in these countries. While there is some evidence that economic circumstance correlates with cheating, the causal effect of poverty on cheating and the effectiveness of interventions on the financially constrained remain an open question. Here we present results from a lab-in-the-field experiment with low-income rice farmers in Thailand (N=568), in which, firstly, we investigate the causal effect of poverty on cheating and secondly, test whether poverty affects the effectiveness of interventions to reduce cheating. We show that poverty itself does not affect willingness to cheat. However, while a standard social norm reminder intervention reduced cheating when the population was relatively rich (after harvest), it had no effect when the population was poorer (before harvest). Our results inform policy makers that the timing of interventions really matters.

Prof. Dr. Khadjavi
Do Scientists Tell the Truth? Evidence from a
Field Experiment.

Academic honesty is crucial for the advancement of and trust in science. However, survey evidence suggests that a considerable number of scientists engage in questionable research practices. Motivated by identity economics theory, we provide evidence on incentivized truth-telling behavior of scientists by means of an online field experiment. We conduct an established coin-tossing task with 437 members of an international scientific organization, in which participants face a trade-off between monetary incentives of lying and honest reporting. In particular, we compare reporting behavior across two treatments, either making the private or professional identity more salient. We find that fewer scientists over-report winning tail tosses in the professional identity treatment. Furthermore, we find that a number of measures of scientific output are associated with truth-telling. Yet we also find that scientists over-report tail tosses compared to the truthful distribution even in the professional identity treatment. While honesty norms associated with the scientific identity thus seem to increase truth-telling, academia still has to further foster norms of honest behavior and enforce measures for preventing scientific misbehavior.

Prof. Dr. Steffen Roth
Deciding like a system: Luhmann for strategic management researchers

In this article, we draw on theories of social differentiation to show that functional differentiation is not about the division of work and organization, but rather about a multiplication of horizons for decision-making. We argue that a systematic management of functional differentiation makes organizations smarter and more flexible. We corroborate this claim by demonstrations of how a functional approach to functional differentiation facilitates the design of new or the further development of well-established management tools and research agendas in fields such as entrepreneurship, strategy, and human resource management.

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