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Good Employees Can Have Halo Effect on Others

Good Employees Can Have Halo Effect on Others

A novel research effort uses NBA player experiences to build a case that a stellar employee need not be the star producer as their actions alone can improve team production.

Investigators from University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business discovered that just like former NBA MVP Steve Nash, who famously improved the output of his teammates whenever he was on the court, the actions of some employees improve the performance of peers.

The effect is what economists refer to as a spillover, and they exist everywhere. An individual’s decisions regarding whether to smoke, how much to eat, and whether to attend college can all be influenced by peer choices.

In the same way, workplace productivity can spill over from one employee to another, said economics assistant professor Dr. Joshua Kinsler, co-author of the research.

“When studying productivity spillovers, either in the workplace or in the classroom, the typical approach is to assume that the individuals who are most productive themselves are also the ones who will make others most productive. We were interested in breaking this connection,” he said.

“The NBA provides a good context to ask this question since players typically have multiple attributes that can impact teammate and team performance. For example, a good shooter boosts team success through scoring, but a good passer improves team success by facilitating the success of others.”

As an example of a great spillover player, Kinsler points to Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams. The authors studied data on 656 players like Williams who played in the NBA between 2006 and 2010.

“In 2010, when Williams was on the court, the likelihood that one of his teammates scored increased significantly relative to when he wasn’t playing,” Kinsler said.

“Moreover, accounting for spillovers can significantly alter how we rank players. In particular, players like Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant are downgraded in a model that accounts for the negative influence they have on the rest of their teammates’ scoring chances. Their own offensive prowess is not enough to outweigh the negative impact their volume shooting has on team success.”

But the gist of Kinsler’s work, published in theĀ Journal of Labor Economics, is whether or not this idea can be transferred from the basketball court to the office. In other words, are some employees able to make their colleagues better? Kinsler says yes.

“Take financial advisers as an example. Compensation in this industry tends to be based on one’s clients, not how helpful one is to other financial advisers. This is likely due to the difficulty in measuring how other advisers affect both the number of clients an adviser has and the quality of the advice the adviser is giving,” he said.

“But with data on clients and investment returns, as well as variation in the composition of the team, it would be possible to measure the value of these sorts of interactions.”

In the NBA, players who create positive spillovers are undervalued in relation to their impact on team success. A similar pattern may exist in the corporate arena.

Workers traditionally have been compensated according to the marginal profit they bring to their company, not the overall effect they have on the organization. That is something that Kinsler thinks can change.

“Information on worker networks, either formal or informal, as well as individual and team output is critical to identifying high spillover employees,” he said.

“While this can be costly, there are clear benefits. Team construction as well as hiring and retention decisions can be influenced by the makeup of the firm’s workforce, and these types of workers present a great value for firms.”

Source: University of Georgia

Good Employees Can Have Halo Effect on Others

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Good Employees Can Have Halo Effect on Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/01/12/good-employees-can-have-halo-effect/115039.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Jan 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jan 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.