Peer Influence in the Workplace: Evidence from an Enterprise Digital Platform
60 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2018 Last revised: 13 Apr 2021
Date Written: October 1, 2019
We study how the sharing of peer success on an enterprise digital platform affects worker productivity. Using sales workers in an information technology service company as our research context, we leverage the unexpected resignation of several human resources staff as an exogenous shock to the sharing of peer success and implement a difference-in-differences estimation. The empirical evidence suggests the sharing of peer success motivates workers to exert more effort. However, there exists important heterogeneity based on the specific content of peer success messages. In particular, we explore two types of content: messages that highlight peer’s ability (i.e. ability-based messages) and messages that highlight peer’s effort (i.e. effort-based messages). We find that a worker’s response to ability-based messages is stronger if the messages praise the ability of peers who are socially close or have worse historical performance than the focal worker. By contrast, a worker’s response to effort-based messages does not vary by peer characteristics.
Keywords: peer success, work effort, productivity, peer influence, online organizational communication, peer pressure, difference-in-differences
JEL Classification: J24, L86, M54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation