Cassandra Chambers | Bocconi University
I am an Assistant Professor of Management at Bocconi University. My research falls at the intersection of organizational theory and organizational behavior and includes practical implications for human resource management. I study how organizations use non-monetary reward systems to motivate contributions to collective outcomes. In particular, I explore whether and how algorithmic motivation, which I describe as algorithmically maintained non-monetary reward systems, as well as related social processes such as tolerance, recognition, and knowledge-sharing shape organizational members’ contributions to the collective. The types of contributions I am interested in are extra-role behaviors that cannot be mandated in job requirements, performance objectives, or membership agreements, but are nevertheless a fundamental and ever-present feature of organizational behavior, that if effectively mobilized, translate into enhanced levels of creativity, innovation, coordination, and ultimate performance.
Motivating these continued contributions has always been a challenge for organizations, but this challenge is now compounded by increasing rates of remote work and the broad movement of social interactions into online settings. Less present in these settings are traditional mechanisms that motivate contributions, such as social relationships and normative pressures, which typically capitalize on the presence of affective commitments, felt interdependencies, and the in-person exchange of information to monitor individual behavior. New organizational structures and reward systems that algorithmically track, publicize, and reward contributions may be a promising way to fill this void. However, we know relatively little about their effectiveness and in particular whether they produce negative externalities that may artificially constrain rather than strictly support contributions. Using a mix of archival and laboratory studies that rely on big data as well as targeted interventions, my primary body of work aims to advance research on this new world of algorithmic motivation by exploring the unintended consequences that may arise from algorithmically maintained reward systems.
Since 2020, I have served on the Editorial Board at Organization Science.