Folgende Projekte wurden in der jüngeren Vergangenheit am Lehrstuhl abgeschlossen:

The Effect of Team Design on Performance: Evidence from Himalaya Expeditions

Bernd Frick, Oliver Gürtler und Joachim Prinz


In almost every firm in the world activity is organized such that at least some people work together as a team: Lawyers work together when preparing and presenting a case, research is often conducted in teams, houses are built by teams of craftsmen, policemen are typically assigned a partner and so on. The main rationale for teamwork is that team members’ inputs are complementary and that therefore “the whole exceeds the sum of its parts”.

While it is often clear when a firm wants to rely on teamwork, it is a much more difficult task to structure teams efficiently. Two major challenges come into mind: First, the team size has to be determined. Here, the well-known free-rider problem arises and puts a natural limit on the size of a team. Second, the firm has to decide on the team composition. Roughly speaking, a firm can either design a homogenous team consisting of people with similar characteristics or a heterogeneous one. Whereas a heterogeneous team may possess a broader set of skills, it may also suffer from communication failures when team members are unable to “speak the same language” because of e.g. a different cultural background or different abilities. Note that this second problem has become much more complicated but also more important in recent years where globalization has significantly increased a firm’s access to workers with different characteristics.

The aim of this paper is to investigate both, the effect of team size as well as team composition on performance. To do so, we make use of a dataset containing detailed information on 5,500 expeditions to the Himalaya. We can observe basic characteristics like nationality, age or gender of all people joining these expeditions. Moreover, we know which of the expeditions was successful in the sense that the summit of the respective mountain was reached and all participants survived the expedition. Using econometric techniques, we only find an insignificant effect of team size on the probability of a successful expedition. A more diverse or heterogeneous team, however, is more likely to be successful. Both, cultural diversity (as measured by the number of different nationalities within a team) and age dispersion have a positive effect on the probability that the expedition is successful.

There already exist some studies on the effect of team composition on performance. Unfortunately, the results in these studies are not totally clear. While age dispersion seems to have a slightly positive effect, cultural diversity has either no significant or even a negative effect on performance. Two reasons may account for the difference between their results and ours: First, our dataset is much larger than most other datasets which typically contain only a few hundred observations. Hence, it is easier for us to obtain significant results. Second, we consider a situation with very complex tasks. This in turn may make it more important to rely on a broad set of skills and, hence, on diverse teams.

Sabotage in Heterogeneous Tournaments: A Field Study

Christian Deutscher, Bernd Frick, Oliver Gürtler und Joachim Prinz


In this paper, we address the problem of sabotage in heterogeneous tournaments. In a first step, we develop a formal model which yields the prediction that favorites exert higher legal effort, while underdogs are more tempted to engage in illegal actions (sabotage). This is because favorites are assumed to be more productive with respect to legal effort and both types of effort are substitutes. In a second step, we use data from German professional soccer to test this prediction. In line with the model, we find that favorite teams win more tackles in a fair way, while underdog teams commit more fouls.