Articles

Sanctioning in the Wild: Rational Calculus and Retributive Instincts in Gourmet Cuisine

G. DI STEFANO, A. KING, G. VERONA

Academy of Management Journal

June 2015, vol. 58, n°3, pp.906-931

Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Cooperation, Sanctioning, Reciprocity, Retribution, Field experiment, Knowledge transfer

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2551435


Why do we sanction norm violations? Despite near universal agreement on the role of sanctions for maintaining norms of cooperation, scholars hotly dispute whether individuals sanction based on a rational calculus or because of strong retributive instincts. In this paper we report on a mixed-method field study examining sanctioning behavior. Our goal is to extend theories of sanctioning by evaluating the conditions under which individuals are more likely to administer a sanction in response to a norm violation. To guide the development of our hypotheses, we engage in a qualitative examination of sanctioning decisions in the context of gourmet cuisine. We then test our predictions in a field experiment involving more than 500 gourmet chefs in Italy. Our results suggest that individuals follow retributive instincts, but they also engage in cost/benefit calculations. Indeed, we find that the two logics of sanctioning jointly influence participation in social exchange. Recognizing their own tendency to sanction at a cost, individuals avoid circumstances that could trigger the need for costly sanctions


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