Essays on leadership : Incentives, legitimacy, and Goal Setting

  • Aufsätze über Führung: Anreize, Legitimität und Zielsetzung

Scheuermann, Martin; Harbring, Christine (Thesis advisor); Grund, Christian (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2020)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2020


In this dissertation, I investigate leadership in the context of a social dilemma using economic experiments. In Part I, we examine if a leader can improve cooperation in a social dilemma, either just by setting a good example, or in combination with rewards or punishments at her disposal. In Part II, we test how groups cooperate when leaders are appointed with different degrees of legitimacy. Finally, in Part III, we investigate if the cooperation of group members with a self-chosen goal differs from their cooperation when the goal is chosen by their principal and how such a difference might vary with goal level. The results of Part I confirm the positive effect of rewards or punishments on cooperation. Regarding the presence of a leader, however, we could not find such an effect. In Part II, we find that groups increase their contributions more if their leader derives her legitimacy from both criteria (endogenous choice and information on past behavior) than with a leader legitimized by only a single factor. In Part III, agents contribute significantly more when they have a high goal compared to a goal-free setting. However, this only applies if the agents choose the goal themselves. Although agents contribute the most if they set themselves a high goal, they strongly prefer to have no goal. The principals, on the other hand, show no preference for either setting.