Information will be updated throughout the summer and fall.

Accounting & Management

Carolyn Deller

Faculty Advisor(s): D. Campbell (Chair), T. Sandino, and R. Simons


Michele Rigolizzo

Getting Better at Getting Good: A New Conceptual Model and Measure of Expertise Development
In this paper, I introduce a new conceptual model and behavioral measure of expertise development. Integrating research in management, education, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience, I developed the Learning as BehaviorS (LABS) model, which deconstructs expertise development into five measurable learning behaviors: taking on a challenge, acquiring information, exploring the context of that information, continual practice, and reflecting on premises. Using a new behavioral measure, in two separate studies, I find that these learning behaviors are only weakly correlated and that an individual is unlikely to engage in all five. This paper offers a new piece to the puzzle of why expertise development is so hard: it requires one to engage in behaviors that, at times, call for nearly opposite attributes. Indeed, taken together, the learning behaviors require the learner to be highly self-confident while valuing others’ expertise, diligently focused yet openly curious, doggedly persistent yet critically analytic. This suggests that engaging in one learning behavior may actually make it less likely that one will engage in others. More generally, I demonstrate that individual workplace learning, which has thus far been measured as a single construct, is more accurately conceptualized as a series of independent behaviors that serve long-term development.
Faculty Advisor(s): T. Amabile (Chair), A. Edmondson, and E. Bernstein


Tami Kim

The Risks and Rewards of Consumer Voting
The number of firms empowering consumers to vote on company decisions is on the rise. Across eight studies—including laboratory and field experiments—we explore each distinct phase of this empowerment strategy (pre-voting, voting, and post-voting). We show that consumer voting can be a double-edged sword. During the pre-voting period, voting can be more effective at encouraging consumer participation than merely soliciting input, but can backfire if consumer votes do not count for a majority of the outcome (studies 1a-1c). While voting can mitigate the negative impact of receiving a less-preferred outcome (the product one did not vote for; studies 2a/b), voting produces unintended negative consequences during the post-voting period: consumers react negatively to losing the ability to vote on subsequent firm decisions (studies 3a/b and 4). These negative consequences are driven by perceived violations of procedural justice (studies 1b and 3b); as a result, firms can mitigate these negative outcomes by managing consumer expectations about future voting (study 4). Our studies offer insight into both the rewards and attendant risks of consumer voting.
Faculty Advisor(s): M. Norton (Chair), L. JohnJ. Gourville, and R. Buell

Organizational Behavior

Rachel Arnett

Faculty Advisor(s): R. Ely (Chair), K. McGinnL. RamarajanJ. Sidanius, and F. Gino

Elizabeth Baily Wolf

Emotion as Performance Feedback: (Mis)Inferring Work Quality from the Evaluator’s Affect
Evaluators often express emotion in evaluative situations (e.g., performance reviews, job interviews) for reasons both related and unrelated to the evaluation itself. This paper explores how evaluators’ emotional expressions shape performers’ metaperceptions, self-assessments, and decision-making. In a survey of 370 matched pairs of evaluators and performers, the more hopeful, happy, and proud, and the less disappointed, performers perceived their evaluators to be, the better performers believed their evaluators evaluated their performance. This effect held when controlling for evaluators’ actual ratings of performers’ performance. Additionally, there was a low degree of agreement between evaluators and performers about the emotional content of their evaluations. In five experiments, different emotional expressions by an evaluator elicited different perceptions of performance quality by performers. Further, these inferences influenced performers’ decisions about whether to accept a job offer, whether to include a website link in a press release, whether to include a website in a personal portfolio, and whether to ask a client for a referral. Results from the six studies suggest that evaluators’ emotional expressions provide interpersonal performance feedback that shapes performers’ metaperceptions, self-assessments, and decision-making, but that evaluators’ expressions are ambiguous signals that may lead performers to make suboptimal decisions about their work.
Faculty Advisor(s): R. Ely (Co-Chair), A. Cuddy (Co-Chair), A. Brooks, and M. Norton

Andrew Brodsky

Putting the Work into Work Communication: The Consequences of Strategic Communication Choices in Professional Interactions
Whether the topic is leading, selling, or negotiating, one of the key questions that employees, managers, and scholars have long asked is ““How can I communicate most effectively?” In crafting their messages, employees utilize strategies that vary along dimensions such as emotionality, authenticity, challenge, and—particularly recently—medium richness. To bridge these domains and develop more comprehensive theory of strategic work communication choices, I conducted a number of studies that span the research areas of employee voice, emotional labor, impression management, and virtual communication. In my dissertation, not only do I examine the interpersonal consequences of communication strategies, but I also explore the intrapersonal consequences of the underlying work or effort needed to craft messages to fit these strategies. Across a variety of contexts, I find that employees often make suboptimal communication decisions, and in some cases, may be better off putting in less rather than more effort into their interactions. My dissertation utilizes a multi-method approach—with surveys, field and laboratory experiments, and experience sampling techniques—as well as data collected from multiple organizations around the world, including a Big Four accounting firm in Australia, an international school system in Vietnam, and a technology firm in the United States. By combining the findings from this diverse set of studies, I aim to provide more comprehensive theory and practical recommendations for crafting effective work communication, both for employees themselves and the organizations in which they are situated.
Faculty Advisor(s): T. Amabile (Chair), J. MargolisA. Grant, and F. Gino

Curtis Chan

The Double-Edged Sword of Organizational Culture: The Doing and Undoing of Normative Control with a Legitimized and Ambiguous Frame
Culture is often described by scholars as utilized by actors with strategic intention, and managers have long yearned to “master” culture in order to effectively recruit and manage their workforce. And in particular, culture is seen as a crucial part of the recruiting, management, and retention of talent in organizations—a key means of normative control, binding members’ hearts and minds to the organization’s interest. Yet, organizational culture may be double-edged: an intentional use of culture can have both intended effects as well as countervailing unintended consequences. In this paper, I build theory around how organizational culture can be double-edged, by theorizing the characteristics and the downstream processes that allow a cultural element to have countervailing effects of both producing and undermining normative control. To do this, I draw on a two-year, inductive, ethnographic case study of consultants at a strategy consulting firm, ConsultingCo, wherein the organizational culture revolves around the frame of having “Impact”. Overall, I find that the ambiguity and legitimacy of a cultural element allow it to be double-edged because the cultural element powerfully draws in broad swath of recruits, but it also gives too much interpretive space and too high expectations on the cultural element, such that many members come to divergent interpretations of the cultural element and use the cultural element as a reason to leave the organization. I conclude by suggesting this study’s theoretical implications for scholarship on culture in organizations. This study also shows that practitioners ought to be cautious about the cultural elements used to manage people; it may be possible that the same frame that helps recruiting may hinder retention.

Lisa Kwan

Cross-Group Flouting: Boundary Spanning that Circumvents Formal Processes
Counter to the dominant focus of groups research on the benefits of boundary spanning, this qualitative study shows how informal activity across group interfaces – a kind of boundary spanning – can override formal cross-group processes and lead to negative outcomes. We introduce cross-group flouting behavior to capture informal cross-group activity that circumvents formal cross-group processes, driven by unilateral focus on one’s own group goals. Beyond disruptions to the internal task performance of other groups, results suggest flouting behavior can give rise to a bilateral flouting process that causes long-term relational harm between groups. This paper contributes to boundary spanning and workarounds research, and extends dominant scholarly explanations for integration challenges within organizations.
Faculty Advisor(s): A. Edmondson (Co-Chair), J. Polzer (Co-Chair), F. Gino, and L. Ramarajan

Ryann Manning

Faculty Advisor(s): M.Lamont (Co-chair), K. McGinn (Co-Chair), J. Battilana, and J.Viterna

Ovul Sezer

Humblebragging: A Distinct—and Ineffective—Self-Presentation Strategy
Self-presentation is a fundamental aspect of social life. We identify humblebragging—bragging masked by a complaint—as a distinct and increasingly ubiquitous form of self-promotion. In seven studies, we show that although people often choose to humblebrag when motivated to make a good impression, it is an ineffective self-promotion strategy due to the perceptions of insincerity it induces. Study 1a and Study 1b show that humblebragging is ubiquitous strategy in everyday life, used frequently when people attempt to impress others. Study 2a and Study 2b demonstrate that individuals use humblebragging in a strategic effort to elicit both liking and respect. Study 3 and Study 4 show that humblebragging is less effective than simply bragging or complaining, as it has both global costs—reducing liking and perceived sincerity—and specific costs: it is even ineffective in signaling the specific trait that a person wants to promote. Study 5 provides evidence that these perceptions impact people’s generosity towards humblebraggers. Studies 3, 4, and 5 show that despite people’s belief that combining bragging and complaining confers the benefits of both self-promotion strategies, humblebragging backfires because it is seen as insincere.
Faculty Advisor(s): M. Bazerman (Co-Chair), F. Gino (Co-Chair), M. NortonA. Brooks, and Alison Wood Brooks.