A Configural Approach to Coordinating Expertise in Software Development Teams


MIS Quarterly

March 2017, vol. 41, n°1, pp.43-64

Departments: GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Software development, software teams, expertise coordination, configuration, centralization, knowledge tacitness, team conflict, coordination success

Despite the recognition of how important expertise coordination is to the performance of software development teams, understanding of how expertise is coordinated in practice is limited. We adopt a configural approach to develop a theoretical model of expertise coordination that differentiates between design collaboration and technical collaboration. We propose that neither a strictly centralized, top-down model nor a largely decentralized approach is superior. Our model is tested in a field study of 71 software development teams. We conclude that because design work addresses ill-structured problems with diverse potential solutions, decentralization of design collaboration can lead to greater coordination success and reduced team conflict. Conversely, technical work benefits from centralized collaboration. We find that task knowledge tacitness strengthens these relationships between collaboration configuration and coordination outcomes and that team conflict mediates the relationships. Our findings underline the need to differentiate between technical and design collaboration and point to the importance of certain configurations in reducing team conflict and increasing coordination success in software development teams. This paper opens up new research avenues to explore the collaborative mechanisms underlying knowledge team performance.

A helping hand is hard at work: Help-seekers' underestimation of helpers' effort


Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

March 2017, vol. 139, pp.18-29

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Keywords: Help effort, Help-seeking, Social judgment, Prosocial behavior, Decision-making

Whether people seek help depends on their estimations of both the likelihood and the value of getting it.Although past research has carefully examined how accurately help-seekers predict whether their helprequests will be granted, it has failed to examine how accurately help-seekers predict the value of thathelp, should they receive it. In this paper, we focus on how accurately help-seekers predict a key determinantof help value, namely, helper effort. In four studies, we find that (a) helpers put more effort intohelping than help-seekers expect (Studies 1–4); (b) people do not underestimate the effort others willexpend in general, but rather only the effort others will expend helping them (Study 2); and (c) thisunderestimation of help effort stems from help-seekers’ failure to appreciate the discomfort—in particular,the guilt—that helpers would experience if they did not do enough to help (Studies 3 & 4)

A Model of Mental Accounting and Reference Price Adaptation


Management Science

December 2017, vol. 63, n°12, pp.4201-4218

Keywords: Mental accounting, reference price, loss aversion, sunk-cost fallacy, payment depreciation, reluctance to trade, flat-rate bias.

Consumers possess a mental account that stores the worth of items purchased and yet to be consumed. Reference prices act as the book values of these items. Movements in the account—the comparison between the reference price and the price paid at entry, and the comparison between the benefit of consumption and the reference price at exit—yield hedonic benefits. The reference price is determined by a psychological process of adaptation to the price evoked by the trade. The model is integrative, in that it explains a wide array of observed anomalies such as sunk-cost effects, payment depreciation, reluctance to trade, preference for pre-payment, and the flat-rate bias. The model also generates new testable implications

A multi-cultural study of salespeople's behavior in individual pay-for-performance compensation systems: when managers are more equal and less fair than others


Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management

September 2017, vol. 37, n°3, pp.198-212

Departments: Marketing, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: financial incentives; fairness; salespeople; international compensation; culture

In this research, we examine salespeople’s behavior in individual pay-for-performance compensation systems and show how perceived management fairness seems to energize sales employees in some environments but not in others. We use alarge multicountry database of individual-level remuneration for more than 2,500 salespeople across four B2B industrysectors to demonstrate cultural adaptations of the effect of perceived management fairness. The results indicate that topmanagement should be concerned with employees’ perceptions of fairness in addition to the more typical concerns ofcontrol and motivation widely acknowledged in the microeconomics-based sales-force compensation literature. Inparticular, we show that perceptions of management fairness are key to salespeople’s proportion of total pay generated by pay-for-performance formulas.

Alleviating Managerial Dilemmas In Human-Capital-Intensive Firms Through Incentives: Evidence From M&A Legal Advisors


Strategic Management Journal

February 2017, vol. 38, pp.232-254

Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Human-Capital-Intensive Firms, Human Capital, Managerial Dilemmas, Incentives, Capabilities, Micro-foundations, Mergers and Acquisitions, Law firms

We examine how human-capital-intensive firms deploy their human assets and how firm-specific human capital interacts with incentives to influence this deployment. Our empirical context is the UK M&A legal market, where micro-data enable us to observe the allocation of lawyers to M&A mandates under different incentive regimes. We find that law firms actively equalize the workload among their lawyers to seek efficiency gains while ‘stretching’ lawyers with high firm-specific capital to a greater extent. However, lawyers with high firm-specific capital also appear to influence the staffing process in their favor, leading to unbalanced allocations and less sharing of projects and clients. Paradoxically, law firms may adopt a seniority-based rent-sharing system that weakens individual incentives to mitigate the impact of incentive conflicts on resource deployment