Carolyn Victoria Deller

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Doctoral Student

Carolyn Deller is a Doctoral Candidate in the Accounting & Management unit at HBS.  Carolyn's research interests are in management accounting, with a particular focus on the mechanisms (incentives, allocation of decision rights, feedback, etc.) used to enhance the motivation and ability of employees to reach their full potential.  

Prior to beginning her studies at HBS, Carolyn worked at KPMG in Melbourne, Australia, where she completed her postgraduate studies in accounting, becoming a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.  Carolyn graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce (Degree with Honors) and worked at the University of Melbourne as a tutor, teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs.  


Working Papers

  1. Do Incentive Plans for Exemplary Employees Lead to Productive or Counterproductive Outcomes?

    Carolyn Deller and Tatiana Sandino

    Using data from a retail chain, this paper studies the effects of a preferential plan providing incentives only to exemplary employees. Such plans incorporate elements of tournaments (through the selection of employees chosen largely on the basis of past performance but incorporating some managerial discretion) and linear incentives to align employees with company goals and values. We find that, on average, the implementation of the preferential incentive plan was associated with improvements in sales. Also, we find that this plan was associated with greater improvements in sales and gross profits as well as reductions in the incidence of bad audits in stores where employees were initially less likely to be aligned with company goals. However, the plan was associated with lower sales and gross profits and higher incidence of bad audits, absenteeism, and turnover in some situations where employees could have perceived the plan to be unattainable or unfair. Our study sheds light on the impact of preferential incentive plans and the conditions under which these plans are more or less effective.

    Keywords: Employee compensation; incentive plans; Incomplete Contracts; company values; tournaments; subjectivity; equity theory; perceived unfairness; social identity; retail chains; Retail Industry; Asia;


    Deller, Carolyn, and Tatiana Sandino. "Do Incentive Plans for Exemplary Employees Lead to Productive or Counterproductive Outcomes?" Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-087, February 2016. View Details

        Area of Study

        • Accounting and Management