Research seminar by Tim Schweisfurth

Performance streaks and idea submissions

2019.11.18 | Merete Elmann

Date Thu 05 Dec
Time 10:30 12:00
Location Room 2628-M211, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

On Thursday 5 December 2019 at 10:30 in room 2628-M211, Associate Professor Tim Schweisfurth from SDU, Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will give a seminar entitled

Performance streaks and idea submissions
(w/ Christina Raasch and Anne Greul)

Everyone is welcome!

Employees are a crucial source for innovation in firms as they contribute ideas. However, not all ideas can be implemented: some ideas are selected, and some are rejected by the organization. Research has started to investigate how prior selections or rejections of ideas in firms shape future idea submissions.

We suggest that the consecutive sequences of prior selection or rejection events, that is "streaks", affect future idea submissions. We differentiate four types of streaks: continuing selection streaks, continuing rejection streaks, discontinued selection streaks (idea rejection after a streak of idea selections), and discontinued rejection streaks (idea selection after a streak of idea rejections). To test how different types of streaks affect future ideas submission, we use survival time analysis and data from an idea suggestion system in a large organization, which encompasses more than 300,000 ideas from over 30,000 employees over 12 years. Our units of analysis are idea evaluation decisions and subsequent submissions from employees. We find that for continued streaks, the length of both selection and rejection streaks is positively related to the likelihood of future idea submissions. This effect becomes weaker with increasing streak length, which is more so for rejection streaks. For discontinued streaks we find that streaks still affect future submissions after a streak has ended, which we call a reverberation effect. Selection streaks reverberate more than rejection streaks. We also find that the effect of a selection decision following a rejection streak is larger than a rejection decision following a selection streak.

Our study makes three main contributions: First, we contribute to the literature on streaks by showing that positive recency (“hot hand beliefs”) and negative recency (“Gambler’s beliefs”) can coexist in setting in which streaks are caused by autonomous human behaviors. Prior research has argued that gambler’s beliefs are unlikely to exist in such settings. Second, we contribute to literature on idea submission by showing that prior performance affects idea submission not only in term of short-term and long-term effects, but additionally in term of mid-term effects in form of selection and rejection streaks. Third, we contribute to literature on idea evaluation by showing that prior streaks moderate to what extent selection or rejection decisions shape future idea submissions.