Antecedents and Outcomes of Peer Control: A Multi-Level Analysis



In this study, we develop a multilevel theoretical framework linking antecedents and outcomes of peer control, defined as coworkers at the same hierarchical level noticing and responding to their peers’ behavior or performance results. In particular, we examine hierarchical controls as antecedents of direct (i.e., monitoring and responding directly to peers) and indirect peer control (i.e., gossiping about and avoiding underperforming peers), as well as peer control’s effects on individual-level and team-level outcomes. Analyzing data from over 300 volunteers in more than 50 regional teams in a non-governmental organization (NGO), we find broad support for supervisory and clan control acting as antecedents of peer control and for peer control’s effects on job satisfaction, but also counterintuitive effects of direct and indirect peer control on team performance. Our study complements and extends both the established literature on hierarchical control as well as the more recent, nascent literature stream on lateral or peer controls and their outcomes at both the individual and team levels.