HRM and Organization

What Behavioural Economics Teaches Personnel Economics

In this survey article, we review results from behavioural and experimental economics that have a potential application in the field of personnel economics. While personnel economics started out with a “clean” economic perspective on human resource management (HRM), recently it has broadened its perspective by increasingly taking into account the results from laboratory experiments. Besides having inspired theory-building, the integration of behavioural economics into personnel economics has gone hand in hand with a strengthening of empirical analyses (field experiments and survey data) complementing the findings from the laboratory. Concentrating on employee compensation as one particular field of application, we show that for personnel economics there is indeed much to be learnt from the recent developments in behavioural economics. Moreover, integrating behavioural economics into personnel economics bears the chance of eventually reconciling personnel economics and “classic” HRM analysis that has a long tradition of relying on social psychology as a classical point of reference.