Training, Communications Patterns, and Spillovers Inside Organizations
We study direct productivity changes and spillovers after a randomized training program for the frontline workers in a Colombian government agency. While trained workers improved their individual production, we also find substantial spillovers that affected managers' productivity. We use email data and a survey to explore the mechanisms behind these spillovers and find that managers' increased output arises from reductions in the need to help lower level employees. Accounting for spillovers to manager productivity changes the organization's implied return on investment from the training program, expanding the set of training investments that can be supported.
We thank Oriana Bandiera, Morten Bennedsen, Jordi Blanes-i-vidal, Ronald Burt, Lorenzo Caliendo, Alexia Delfino, Florian Englmaier, Guido Friebel, Robert Gibbons, Michela Giorcelli, Mitchell Hoffman, Jonas Hjort, Hideo Owan, Andrea Prat, Canice Prendergast, Eric Quintane, Imran Rasul, Ray Reagans, Raffaella Sadun, Antoinette Schoar, Kathryn Shaw, Pablo Spiller, Chad Syverson, John van Reenen, Timothy Van Zandt and participants of the 14th UNSW workshop in Organizational Economics, 2021 NBER Organizational Economics, 2021 NBER Personnel Economics, 2021 CEPR IMO, ICESI, HBS, LMU, Michigan, Paris-Berkeley Workshop, EIEF, LSE, SIOE, Padova, Quantil, SMS, UTAH Winter Conference, Bocconi and ESADE for helpful comments. Jairo Galvis and Juan Herrera provided superb research assistance. We thank the anonymous organization for giving us access to the data used in this study. Under the data use agreement, the organization had the right to review the draft for confidential information or details that would allow a reader to identify the organization. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.