Essays on behavioural foundations of representation and leadership: Evidence from Borneo and the laboratory

Abdul Aziz, Izzatina (2020) Essays on behavioural foundations of representation and leadership: Evidence from Borneo and the laboratory. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis uses laboratory experiments to explore representation in social organizations. In our experimental design, we argue that the effectiveness of the representative’s decision on group payoffs depends on the extent to which agency is provided by the group. In this thesis, we report three studies on representation from a behavioural perspective.

In the second chapter, we introduce a modified public good game that have the representative complementing the outcome of a collective action. The game is played sequentially, and groups members may contribute to the collective action, knowing there is a representative adjusting the benefits (multiplier) for contributions. The experiment involved participation of Sarawak’s Kayan villagers and incorporated the subjects’ pre-existing social status and social relationship closeness to examine the role of social status in representation. We found that social status acts as an amplifier to representative’s efforts and group members’ contributions.

In the third chapter, we introduced a modified sender-receiver game to examine another function of representative; that is to channel benefits to the group. An agency relationship is established between representative (sender) and group members (receivers) when a recommendation (message) from the representative is accepted by group members. As in the second chapter, we explore whether social status and relationship play any role in predicting representative’s willingness to recommend public-spirited outcomes and group members’ willingness to accept the representative’s recommendation. We found that social status plays no role in representative’s public-spiritedness, but the closeness of relationship between representative and group members legitimized the representative’s recommendations.

The final chapter uses the modified public good game developed in Chapter 2 to examine representation relationship in the long run and determine whether the order of a representative’s decisions have an impact on social welfare. We found higher incidences of efficiency in the simultaneous decision treatment in a pattern which is stable across time. We also found that there are reciprocal tendencies between representative and group members, resulting in the groups’ decisions bifurcating towards socially efficient or no representation relationship.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2020 09:21
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 09:21


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