An important role of managers is to motivate subordinates. Monetary rewards have been the focus of economic analysis. Managers also use other means to influence subordinates. If a manager can better assess the subordinate's ability than the subordinate himself, and if ability and effort are complements, the manager finds it hard not to overstate a junior's ability. Talk is cheap. We analyze under what conditions a manager can use organizational practices such as delegation and the selective provision of attention to credibly communicate his assessment. We compare their desirability. Delegation is preferable in case the manager's assessment is fairly accurate; attention is inescapable if it is inaccurate.

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Journal Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization
Visser, B, & Swank, O.H. (2007). Motivating through delegating tasks or giving attention. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, 23(3), 731–742. doi:10.1093/jleo/ewm020