This study investigates whether subjective communication from team members to a manager responsible for allocating performance-based bonuses increases team performance and whether the efficacy of such communication is reduced in heterogeneous teams. We draw on both economic and behavioral theories to predict that communication content, even though subjective, provides information that enables the manager to allocate bonuses so as to enhance the relation between individuals' contributions and rewards, thereby increasing individuals' effort and team performance. However, we also predict that the positive effect of team member subjective communication is more muted when team members' abilities are heterogeneous compared to homogeneous. We test these predictions via an experiment. Consistent with our predictions, team member subjective communication has a positive effect on team performance, and the positive effect is more muted for heterogeneous teams. Results of our study contribute to both theory and practice by enhancing our understanding of the role of subjective communication from team members to team managers in motivating effort in teams and, particularly, how its efficacy is affected by team composition.

Data Availability: Data are available from the authors upon request.

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