Effect of Managers' Group Chat Messaging Style on Employee Behavior and Outcomes

Last registered on November 15, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Effect of Managers' Group Chat Messaging Style on Employee Behavior and Outcomes
Initial registration date
November 10, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 15, 2022, 3:52 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

UC Berkeley

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Do managers' messaging style in manager-employee group chats affect employee outcomes and behavior? We use detailed WhatsApp group chat data from a government-sponsored education intervention in Pakistan to investigate our hypothesis. We investigate the effect of managers' messaging style on teacher and student outcomes and teacher perceptions, mediated by within-group-chat teacher participation and solidarity. Our research will contribute to the broader management literature around the effect of transformational vs. transactional leadership styles on employee outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Macdonald, Isabel and Angela Tran. 2022. "Effect of Managers' Group Chat Messaging Style on Employee Behavior and Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. November 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10314-1.0
Experimental Details


We evaluate the effect of different message types in teacher group chats during an 8-week remedial education program in Pakistan.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Total number of messages in group
- Total number of teacher responses per mentor-initiated question
- Amount of time between responding messages (by mentor-initiated questions, teachers’ clarifying questions, teachers’ feedback, etc.)
- Number of clarifying questions asked by teachers
- Number of responses by fellow teachers to teachers’ clarifying questions
- Group chat sentiment (solidarity index, positive/neutral/negative sentiment)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The number of messages / questions by teachers and the amount of time between-messages will be used to construct: 1) average number of responding messages per mentor-initiated message, 2) average response time between-message, and other averages or indices

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
- Teacher perceptions of program in endline survey
- Student test scores in math, English, and Urdu
- Teacher self-reported engagement and attitudes about group chats
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Group chats will be randomized to receive a standardized set of transaction OR transformational messages from chat administrators.
Experimental Design Details
As part of a separate research project for a government-sponsored education intervention program in Pakistan, teachers are added to group chats for program mentors to send reminders. All groups will receive a standard set of reminder messages about the program, such as prompts to conduct a first quiz or reminders to watch pedagogy videos. In addition, groups will be randomized into one of two groups to receive additional messages:
1. Transformational messages - mentors in these groups will send a once-weekly conversational prompt designed to encourage teachers to share learnings with each other. For example, the prompt might ask teachers to reflect on their first revision session and share a tip with other teachers in the group.
2. Transactional messages - mentors in these groups will send a message on the same topic as those received by the transformational group, but without the discussion prompt. For example, the message might inform teachers that they should have completed the first revision session.
Both treatment groups will receive an equal number of manager-initiated messages on similar topics. Teacher also have the same technical ability to respond in the chat and ask questions.
Randomization Method
Groups are stratified by school gender, district, and treatment. Each strata is then sorted by the group's number of teachers, and assigned every other to the transformational and transactional groups.
Randomization Unit
Group-chat level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
152 group chats
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 3,500 teachers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
76 schools control (transactional), 76 schools treatment (transformational)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Pomona College
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials