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PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, INFORMATION PROCESSING AND WORKPLACE VERBAL ABUSE: A BANGLADESH FACTORY MANAGER FIELD EXPERIMENT
Last registered on April 19, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, INFORMATION PROCESSING AND WORKPLACE VERBAL ABUSE: A BANGLADESH FACTORY MANAGER FIELD EXPERIMENT
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002911
Initial registration date
April 18, 2018
Last updated
April 19, 2018 5:23 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Tufts University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Tufts University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-07-13
End date
2018-04-18
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A randomized controlled trial analyzing perspective-taking on processing information concerning verbal abuse was conducted with factory managers in 16 Bangladesh factories. Managers’ modal perception of the prevalence of verbal abuse was inconsistent with worker reports, indicating managers’ resistance to acknowledging verbal abuse. Perspective-taking improved information processing but the response was heterogeneous. Acknowledgement of the prevalence of verbal abuse increased only in those managers for whom there was consonance between personal beliefs and the data. Among managers who engaged with the exercise or viewed verbal abuse as inappropriate, treatment increased interest in and willingness to make changes based on the data.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Babbitt, Laura and Drusilla Brown. 2018. "PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, INFORMATION PROCESSING AND WORKPLACE VERBAL ABUSE: A BANGLADESH FACTORY MANAGER FIELD EXPERIMENT." AEA RCT Registry. April 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2911-1.0.
Former Citation
Babbitt, Laura and Drusilla Brown. 2018. "PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, INFORMATION PROCESSING AND WORKPLACE VERBAL ABUSE: A BANGLADESH FACTORY MANAGER FIELD EXPERIMENT." AEA RCT Registry. April 19. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2911/history/28573.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Factory managers are randomly assigned to two groups. Group 1 undertakes a perspective-taking exercise considering the preferences and daily routines of their subordinates. Group 2 completes the same exercise, reflecting on themselves rather than their subordinates. Participants are then shown two pieces of information. The first piece of information indicates that most workers are satisfied with their supervisor. The second piece of information is that more than half of workers report being verbally abused by their supervisor. Participants are then asked questions about the data.
Intervention Start Date
2016-11-16
Intervention End Date
2017-03-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Acknowledgement of verbal abuse
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Willing to make changes based on the data, finding the data interesting, believing that the data is useful, believing that the data is accurate for the participant, believing that the data is accurate for their factory.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Participants first complete informed consent. Participants are then randomly assigned to one of two treatments. In the treatment condition, participants undertake a perspective-taking exercise concerning the thoughts and daily routine of their subordinates. In the control condition, participants undertake the same reflections concerning themselves. Participants are then should two pieces of data, one positive and the second negative. Participants are then asked questions about the data. The perspective taking exercise and survey data are collected using cell phones.
Experimental Design Details
Participants were 334 managers in 16 factories in and around Dhaka, Bangladesh. Managers with incomplete data were excluded, leaving a final sample of 277. There were 10 factories in the first group (October 2016) and six factories in the second group (March 2017). Prior to participation, managers in the first group were informed at the time of the experiment that a social dialogue program would be introduced in the factory in the coming months. In each factory, participants were invited to a managerial meeting to hear data about their factory. All participants were instructed to call a particular number using their cell phone. After the informed consent process, they were asked to use their phone to complete an automated survey. The survey software randomly assigned each manager to complete one of two 10-question surveys. In the treatment condition, managers were asked to imagine their workers’ preferences, daily routines and life aspirations (e.g., “What do you think workers in your factory prefer to have for breakfast?”). Managers in the control condition answered the same questions about themselves (e.g., “What do you prefer to have for breakfast?”). Next, managers were shown two graphs of worker-reported survey data, summarized across several factories. A positive worker perception was paired with a negative worker perception. The positive finding is that 78 percent of workers report being satisfied with their supervisor. The negative finding is that 53 percent of workers report verbal abuse by their supervisor. After seeing graphs depicting the two findings, managers called a given number to complete a second survey. The second survey captured their reactions to the data presented and their attitudes about verbal abuse (e.g., “How common is verbal abuse in this factory?” “How appropriate do you think it is to yell or use harsh language with workers in this factory?”). In each factory, all managers participated at the same time, though they were asked not to discuss the surveys or data with each other until everyone had completed the second survey.
Randomization Method
By computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
277 managers in 10 factories
Sample size: planned number of observations
344 managers in 10 factories
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
10 factories
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers