Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics
The purpose of my dissertation is to investigate how information that should not signal output quality influences managers’ evaluations. To address this objective, I pose the following research question: In a setting where professional employees generate output that cannot be evaluated objectively, will managers use work-day duration to subjectively evaluate the quality of their output?
I address my research question using two experiments where I vary employees’ work-day duration relative to their peers (short versus equal) and the purpose of the evaluation (bonus versus promotion) while observing how supervisors make subjective quality evaluations about their output. I find that when work-day duration is short and the purpose of the evaluation is a bonus, employees are perceived as less hardworking, and receive lower evaluations of output quality compared to when work-day duration is equal. I also find that when work-day duration is short and the purpose of the evaluation is a promotion, employees are perceived as efficient and receive higher evaluations of output quality compared to when work-day duration is equal. Importantly, this second finding is observed only when the employees’ output is of good quality, but not when it is of moderate quality.
My dissertation contributes to existing literature. First, while existing research examines effort duration or intensity on particular tasks, to the best of my knowledge, my dissertation is the first study to consider how employees’ work-day duration can influence subjective evaluations of their output quality. Second, my dissertation contributes to existing research that examines inaccurate performance evaluations resulting from cognitive limitations. I identify that managers’ knowledge about work-day duration, which provides no information about output quality, influences subjective evaluations.
Wick, Sara, "Subjective Evaluation of Professional Employees: Work-Day Duration as a Heuristic to Evaluate Output" (2021). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2347.