Carolyn Victoria Deller - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Carolyn Victoria Deller

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. Tournament Incentive Plans Incorporating Objective and Subjective Criteria: Implications for a Geographically Dispersed Organization

    Carolyn Deller and Tatiana Sandino

    Using retail chain data, we study the effects of a tournament incentive plan incorporating objective and subjective criteria. In principle, such plans could motivate employees to perform both at a high level, based on objective criteria, and in accordance with company values, considered via subjective criteria. However, they could be counterproductive if enough participants (especially those who don’t win) perceive that subjectivity adds unfairness. We show that the managers choosing winners relied on both objective and subjective criteria—rather than relying only on objective criteria or on subjectivity unrelated to the stated criteria. On average, the tournament incentive plan was associated with improved store sales. We also find that such plans can be more beneficial for geographically isolated participants, where the potential for improving alignment is greater.

    Keywords: Incomplete Contracts; company values; tournaments; subjectivity; equity theory; perceived unfairness; retail chains; expectancy theory; Motivation and Incentives; Fairness; Performance Improvement; Retail Industry; Asia;


    Deller, Carolyn, and Tatiana Sandino. "Tournament Incentive Plans Incorporating Objective and Subjective Criteria: Implications for a Geographically Dispersed Organization." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-087, February 2016. (Revised September 2017.)  View Details