Information will be updated throughout the summer and fall.

Accounting & Management

Akash Chattopadhyay

Faculty Advisor(s): P. Healy (Chair), I. GowS. Srinivasan, and C. Wang

Carolyn Deller

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

Henry Eyring

What to do with the Data in the Warehouse: Unlocking the Potential of Performance Data Reporting to Drive Performance
With advances in data computation and communication technology, a surfeit of data has built up in “warehouses,” and begs the question of to whom it should be shown and how. Fortunately, behavioral economic research has recently deepened understanding of how individuals respond to information display. I apply behavioral economic theory in assessing how to unlock the potential of performance data reporting to elicit performance improvement. I use proprietary datasets from several leading hospitals that have posted physicians’ patient satisfaction ratings and comments online, and conduct field experiments in online education, to identify dynamics of public and private performance reporting. The public reporting analysis shows that public visibility of physician ratings drives service improvement while impeding the updating of ratings from prior published values. The private reporting analysis identifies how an individual’s initial performance informs the optimal balance of related strengths and weaknesses, as well as the most motivating standard for peer comparison, to report to him or her. The results support effective performance reporting and evaluation, and help organizations awash in data avoid lamenting as might a modern-day ancient mariner, “data, data, everywhere, but not a drop to use”.
Faculty Advisor(s): D. Campbell (Chair), V. NarayananS. Datar, and A. Raman

Rajesh Vijayaraghavan

Faculty Advisor(s): P. HealyV. NarayananI. Gow, and D. Scharfstein


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

Making Diversity Win: Cultivating Inclusion through Expressing Cultural Identity Differences at Work
The present research investigates the role of employees’ interpersonal behaviors in determining whether diversity is beneficial or inhibitive in the workplace. More specifically, I examine the relationship between 1) cultural majority-group employees’ (“majorities”) engagement in inclusive behaviors, and 2) cultural minority-group employees’ (“minorities”) engagement in cultural identity expression (i.e., voluntarily bringing attention to one’s cultural background during workplace interactions). Although both majorities and minorities often fear that expressing cultural identity differences will have negative consequences for workplace inclusion, the results of two studies demonstrate that minority cultural identity expression can actually increase three types of majority inclusive behaviors: professionally inclusive behaviors, socially inclusive behaviors, and multicultural appreciation behaviors. The richness of the cultural identity expression (i.e., the extent to which cultural identity expression provides greater insight into minorities’ culturally-based thoughts and feelings) is particularly important: as minority cultural identity expression increases in richness, such expressions are more likely elicit inclusive behaviors from majorities. The current set of studies also tests the mechanisms underlying these effects. Overall, this research sheds light on the ways in which employees’ interpersonal behaviors can make or break the success of diversity in the workplace.
Faculty Advisor(s): R. Ely (Chair), K. McGinnL. RamarajanJ. Sidanius, and F. Gino

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

All Hands Are Needed: Emotion and Resilient Organizing by West African Diaspora Communities in Response to the 2014-2015 Ebola Outbreak
Disasters are destructive and emotionally fraught events. Existing literature shows that emotions play a critical role in resilience at the individual level, but we know less about how emotion relates to resilience at a collective level. In this paper, I focus on what I call “resilient organizing,” the process by which groups of people work together to activate, combine, and recombine resources in order to respond and adapt successfully to adverse events. I examine the case of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, specifically the response to Ebola by the global diaspora communities of one of the worst affected countries: Sierra Leone. Using abductive analytic techniques, I combine retrospective interviews with real-time data from diaspora organizations, online public conversations, and my own experiences working on the response to Ebola. I find that shared emotional experiences helped connect members of the diaspora to the emerging crisis in Sierra Leone, and generated a sense of urgency and efficacy which convinced many to get involved in the response. I develop the concept of “emotional modulation” and show how activists sought to strategically shape their communities’ collective emotional landscape in order to generate a balance of emotions to facilitate resilient organizing. Based on these findings, I build a theoretical model in which emotional modulation and resilient organizing influence one another in a dynamic, recursive process, with the potential for positive or negative cycles of emotion and (in)action.
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. Norton, and A. Brooks

Elizabeth Baily Wolf

Emotion as Performance Feedback: (Mis)Inferring Work Quality from Evaluators’ 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 more positive their metaperceptions. 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. In general, performers perceived their work more positively when their evaluators expressed positive emotions than negative emotions. However, discrete emotional expressions did communicate additional information over and above positive or negative valence. 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


Jin Hyung Kim

U.S. Defense Contracts and the Lobbying Strategies of Foreign MNEs: The Liability of Foreignness and Make-or-Buy Decisions about Political Goods
Prior research shows that political capital is critical in business-government relations to achieve desirable non-market strategy outcomes. Less attention has been paid to the fact that firms vary in their ability to build and acquire political capital. In particular, foreign multinational enterprises (MNEs), which typically suffer from the liability of foreignness, have more difficulty acquiring and strengthening political capital in a host country. We know little about how foreign MNEs acquire and use political capital, or about whether they achieve their non-market strategic goals. Drawing on the literatures on the liability of foreignness and transaction-cost economics (TCE), I argue that foreign MNEs can acquire political capital and achieve better non-market outcomes by hiring outside lobbyists than by using internal lobbyists. Using U.S. government defense prime contract award data, I found that hiring outside lobbyists helps foreign MNEs achieve higher contract amounts; this outcome is driven by hiring more experienced lobbyists and high-status lobbying firms. This study has theoretical and practical implications for studies on political capital, non-market strategies, the liability of foreignness, and transaction-cost economics.
Faculty Advisor(s): J.Siegel (Co-Chair), D. Yao (Co-Chair), and S.Hiatt

Nishani Siriwardane

Benefitting from Less Hierarchical Managerial Practices: The Role of Societal Norms Regarding Social Distinction
Past literature has highlighted that introducing less hierarchical practices, such as increasing employee responsibility and autonomy, has many benefits. However, even when firms try to implement these practices, truly reducing hierarchy has proven to be difficult: hierarchical tendencies tend to re-emerge and persist. Though research has suggested that creating a consistent firm ethos and shifting rooted mindsets may help, very little is known as to what influences a firm’s ability to create such environments. In particular, the role of societal norms and the different degrees to which firms are influenced by these norms has not been a focus in the literature. This study demonstrates that the social structures within firms – which to varying extents reflect broader societal norms - play a key role in whether firms benefit when implementing less hierarchical practices. Specifically, I suggest that when the degree of social distinction within a firm is high, it will not reap productivity and performance benefits even when introducing less hierarchical practices. Social distinction is defined as the differences in status, prestige, and power that distinguish and distance groups of individuals from one and other. Using longitudinal survey data of organizational practices of firms located in France, I find that French and foreign multinationals (MNEs) from high-power-distance countries, where social distinction tends to be high, do not see productivity and performance benefits when implementing less hierarchical practices. However, local French firms, where distinction is less prevalent, and foreign MNEs from countries where social distinction is less accepted tend to benefit significantly. I rule out alternative explanations that differences in size, initial productivity levels, and managerial quality explain why local French firms and not MNEs see benefits. For a deeper contextual understanding, I supplement my quantitative analysis with interviews of employees working in different types of firms in France. The interviews shed light on the challenges that firms face when implementing less hierarchical practices in the French cultural context and on the varying role that social distinction plays.
Faculty Advisor(s): J.Siegel (Chair), M.AntebyJ. Battilana, and E. Bernstein