Date of Award

5-4-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

First Advisor

Dr. Ivo Tafkov

Second Advisor

Dr. Flora Zhou

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Majerczyk

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Hales

Abstract

Relative performance information (RPI) is commonly provided or available in many organizations. While RPI can be viewed as a control that firms use to influence employee effort and performance, the presence of RPI may also encourage employees to seek advice from the supervisor, which in turn breeds employees’ trust in the supervisor. This study investigates how RPI influences employee advice-seeking as well as how such advice-seeking affects trust in the supervisor. Using a laboratory experiment, I find that RPI motivates the non-bottom performing employees (i.e., top and middle performers) to seek advice from their supervisor more frequently. In contrast, the bottom performing employees are not significantly affected by RPI to seek advice. I also find that the non-bottom performing employees’ advice-seeking frequency positively influences their trust in the supervisor. Mediation analysis reveals that RPI has a positive effect on the non-bottom performing employees’ trust in the supervisor and this positive effect is mediated by their advice-seeking behavior. I discuss the implications of my findings for accounting theory and practice.

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