Personal und Organisation

Travel Incentives as Tournament Compensation – Problems of Contestant Heterogeneity and Solutions

Whereas the theoretical literature on organizational reward systems repeatedly points to the importance of tournament models from an efficiency perspective, very few is known about the application and effectiveness of tournament compensation in organizations, especially when contestant heterogeneity is taken into account. While the distorting effects of contestant heterogeneity on tournament incentives have been theoretically analyzed for the two-contestant-case, tournament incentives in a typical organizational context with more than two and with heterogeneous contestants and with more than one prize, have not been studied so far. In our paper, we analyze these effects theoretically as well as empirically by studying in-centive travel sales contests as a quantitatively important component of compensation, and we also present first empirical evidence on (successful and unsuccessful) organizational attempts to reduce contestant heterogeneity by active handicapping and league-building.