The dark side of transparency: How and when pay administration practices affect employee helping

Peter Bamberger, Elena Belogolovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines a long-standing contention of practitioners and scholars alike, namely that pay transparency may adversely affect employees' tendency to offer assistance to coworkers. Drawing from research on social comparison, information vividness, and envy, we develop and test a moderatedmediation model positing that transparency adversely affects the amount of help individuals afford to peers who, based on pay for performance, are paid more than them. Testing our hypotheses in the context of a multiround simulation-based laboratory experiment, we find that this adverse effect of pay transparency on helping is largely explained by transparency's positive association with episodic envy, but only when individual differences grounded in differential social value orientations, specifically those regarding individualism beliefs and prosocial motivation, are taken into consideration. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-671
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume102
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Compensation
  • Envy
  • Individual differences
  • Organizational citizenship behavior
  • Pay secrecy

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The dark side of transparency: How and when pay administration practices affect employee helping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this