Transparency in Hierarchies

Jahr: 2023
Typ: Journal Publication
Fachzeitschrift: Journal of Accounting Research
Open Science:


We use an agency model to address the benefits and costs of transparency in a hierarchical organization in which the principal employs a manager entrusted with contracting authority and several workers, all under conditions of moral hazard. We define the principal’s transparency choices as a decision to allow workers to observe their co-workers’ performances (observability) and as an investment in monitoring worker performance (precision). We find that whereas precision alleviates agency conflicts as expected, observability can exacerbate agency conflicts, especially if the manager’s interests are misaligned sufficiently with those of the principal. Our results suggest several testable hypotheses including predictions that opaque performance measurement practices are well suited for small organizational units at lower hierarchical ranks, and in settings where the sensitivity-precision of the available measures is low, workers’ performances are correlated positively, and managerial productivity is modest.

Beteiligte Institutionen

Die Hauptstandorte vom TRR 266 sind die Universität Paderborn (Sprecherhochschule), die HU Berlin und die Universität Mannheim. Alle drei Standorte sind seit vielen Jahren Zentren für Rechnungswesen- und Steuerforschung. Hinzu kommen Wissenschaftler der LMU München, der Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, der Universität zu Köln und der Leibniz Universität Hannover, die die gleiche Forschungsagenda verfolgen.