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Managers, Motivation, and Worker Productivity: Evidence from Survey Enumerators (Uganda)

IATI Identifier: US-EIN-061660068-IGC-22-20029-4

Published on IATI
  • date_range Jun 08, 2022 - Jan 15, 2024
  • autorenew Implementation (Status)

How do supervisors impact the performance of workers under their management? In large companies (particularly in manufacturing and service sectors) the role of direct supervisors is often distinct from organization-wide policies on wage structure (e.g., pay-for-performance) and recruitment. Instead, supervisors rely on non-monetary mechanisms within the firm such as worker motivation and support to incentivize better performance (Lazear et al., 2015). The role of these managerial inputs may be especially salient for firms in developing countries that have limited recourse to formal incentives (e.g., enforceable employment contracts). Whereas economists have extensively studied the effect of managers on performance (e.g., Bertrand & Schoar, 2003), the paucity of granular data on employee-level output and supervision has limited a deeper exploration of how these effects take place. In this project, I focus on unpacking the ‘manager fixed effect’ or a supervisor’s value-added component in employee performance through two distinct channels: monitoring and motivation. Causal evidence on the impact of supervision on employee performance through these channels can inform organizations’ investment decisions in frontline supervision, as well as personnel policies to maximize workplace productivity. Moreover, I plan to study this question by partnering with a large survey research company in Uganda. That is, I study the role of supervisory inputs for the output of survey enumerators in primary data collection activities. This has the added advantage of furthering our understanding of how investments in supervision translate into better quality data for research purposes. Consequently, outputs from this study could help to inform personnel training and organization in both private data collection companies (including the multinational company I partner with) and public statistical agencies such as the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. In the remainder of this note, I refer to enumerators as ‘employees’ and their team leaders as ‘supervisors’ to highlight lessons from the proposed project for both research and personnel management more broadly.

  • Government and civil society statistics and data

Participating Organisations

International Growth Centre (IGC) International NGO Funding


Transaction Value Provider
Type Date


25,079 USD
  • 20,000 GBP (Valued at Jun 08, 2022)
    date_range Jan 16, 2023 - Jan 15, 2024
access_time Updated on Jan 19, 2024 19:26:41