Yanhua Zhou Bird - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School

Yanhua Zhou Bird

Doctoral Student

Yanhua Z. Bird is a doctoral candidate in the joint program in Organizational Behavior and Sociology at Harvard University. Yanhua holds an M.A. in Organization & Management, a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Economics from Peking University.

Journal Articles
  1. Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing

    Christopher Marquis, Michael W. Toffel and Yanhua Zhou

    Under increased pressure to report environmental impacts, some firms selectively disclose relatively benign impacts, creating an impression of transparency while masking their true performance. We identify key company- and country-level factors that limit firms' use of selective disclosure by intensifying scrutiny on them and by diffusing global norms to their headquarters' countries. We test our hypotheses using a novel panel dataset of 4,750 public companies across many industries and headquartered in 45 countries during 2004–2007. Results show that firms that are more environmentally damaging, particularly those in countries where they are more exposed to scrutiny and global norms, are less likely to engage in selective disclosure. We discuss contributions to the literature that spans institutional theory and strategic management and to the literature on information disclosure.

    Keywords: disclosure strategy; disclosure; environmental performance; environmental strategy; environment; symbolic; reporting; Corporate Disclosure; Integrated Corporate Reporting; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact;


    Marquis, Christopher, Michael W. Toffel, and Yanhua Zhou. "Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing." Organization Science 27, no. 2 (March–April 2016): 483–504. (Formerly titled "When Do Firms Greenwash? Corporate Visibility, Civil Society Scrutiny, and Environmental Disclosure.")  View Details
Working Papers
  1. Organizational Structures and the Improvement of Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains: Legalization, Participation, and Economic Incentives

    Yanhua Z Bird, Jodi L. Short and Michael W. Toffel

    Exploitive working conditions have spurred the development of formal organizational structures that deploy mechanisms including legalization—adherence to a set of law-like rules and procedures—and worker participation to improve labor standards in global supply chains. Yet little is known about whether these structures are associated with improved working conditions, especially in organizations in which they compete with productivity-driving economic incentives. Drawing on the economic sociology of law and organizations as well as theories of organizational learning, we investigate whether and how these formal organizational structures, individually and in combination, are associated with improved working conditions. Using data on 3,276 suppliers in 55 countries, we find greater improvement at suppliers that adopt legalization structures (operationalized as management system standards) and worker participation structures (unions) and find that the combination of these structures amplifies improvement. We find less improvement at suppliers with organizational incentive structures meant to increase worker productivity (piece-rate pay), but also find that this negative relationship is attenuated by organizational legalization and worker participation structures. These findings challenge existing theories of decoupling by showing how these organizational structures can be credible signals for improvement and can also be coupled with organizational changes via processes of organizational learning, even in the face of intense efficiency demands. Furthermore, our findings suggest important strategic considerations for managers selecting supplier factories and provide key insights for the design of transnational sustainability governance regimes.

    Keywords: organizational structure; organization theory; economic sociology; social responsibility; supply chain; sustainability; auditing; process improvement; Supply Chain; Labor; Working Conditions; Environmental Sustainability; Law; Law Enforcement; Labor Unions; Motivation and Incentives; Organizational Structure; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Electronics Industry; Manufacturing Industry; China; India; Cambodia; Viet Nam; Indonesia; Taiwan;


    Bird, Yanhua Z., Jodi L. Short, and Michael W. Toffel. "Organizational Structures and the Improvement of Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains: Legalization, Participation, and Economic Incentives." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-003, July 2017.  View Details
Other Publications and Materials