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[Excerpt] In this analysis I study promotion schemes as human resource management strategies by which the firm can realize strategic goals by motivating workers to higher levels of effort and performance. Using information on promotions, wages, and performance for professional workers in a cross section of establishments in four metropolitan areas of the U.S., I investigate empirically the proposition that firms strategically organize promotion tournaments to motivate workers to higher levels of performance. I present evidence suggesting that relative performance of workers determines promotions, supporting the notion of internal promotion competitions in which internal hiring policies and fixed job slots combine to create competitions among workers of a given rank in a firm. I then estimate a structural model of promotion tournaments that simultaneously accounts for worker and firm behavior and how the interaction of these behaviors gives rise to promotions. The results are consistent with the prediction of tournament theory that workers are motivated by larger spreads.


Suggested Citation
DeVaro, J. (2006). Strategic promotion tournaments and worker performance.Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations site:

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright by John Wiley & Sons. Final paper published as DeVaro, J. (2006). Strategic promotion tournaments and worker performance. Strategic Management Journal, 27, 721-740.