05 Dec 2018

Four Harvard Business School Doctoral Candidates Receive Research Awards


BOSTON—The Harvard Business School Doctoral Programs and their faculty chair, David Scharfstein, the School’s Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking, have announced three recipients of the 2018 Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research and one winner of the Martin Award for Excellence in Business Economics. The prizes are presented each year based on excellence in innovative dissertation research.

Wyss Awards

Daniel Brown
Photo: Russ Campbell

Daniel Brown (Management)
Brown uses a wide range of research methods, including field experiments, interviews, and statistical analyses of archival datasets to examine how firms’ measurement of value and performance affects their stakeholders. In one study, he shows that financial performance measures can lead employees and customers to perceive their relationship with the firm as zero-sum, and that prosocial measures of performance, such as corporate social responsibility, may lead them to perceive the relationship as more mutually beneficial. In another study he shows how firms that focus on both financial value and social value together achieve the greatest outcomes for all of their stakeholders collectively, including employee and customer satisfaction, shareholder returns, and community well-being.

Alexandra Feldberg
Photo: Russ Campbell

Alexandra Feldberg (Organizational Behavior)
Feldberg studies gender, knowledge transfer, and discrimination within organizations. Her research links these topics in a variety of industries and settings, from the upper echelons of a global investment banks to the sales floors of regional supermarkets to the concierge desks of hotels nationwide. Feldberg’s dissertation, a multi-method field study of a grocery chain, considers how the availability of information in technology systems affects men’s and women’s everyday activities, performance outcomes, and relationship networks. A core insight of this research is that, as they design and implement digital platforms, organizations have the opportunity to democratize information access and enhance organizational performance.

Michael Lee
Photo: Russ Campbell

Michael Lee (Management)
Lee’s research focuses on organizations that operate without hierarchical authority, which he calls self-managing organizations. In one study, a year-long ethnographic case study of an organization that eliminated hierarchical authority, Lee examines how the organization maintained accountability with an organizational structure based on dynamic, visible, and formal roles. He finds that formalizing and revising roles through a participatory process and making the roles visible through a digital platform enabled the organization to coordinate and control activities, while simultaneously providing boundaries that helped frontline employees exercise autonomy over work decisions. In a second study, a 12-month controlled field experiment, Lee examines how eliminating hierarchical authority affects individual work experiences. He finds that eliminating hierarchical authority leads individuals to feel less connected to their work group, but increases their commitment to the organization as a whole. By studying radical efforts to eliminate hierarchical authority, Lee’s research provides insight into the challenges and opportunities of departing from traditional hierarchical structures and the nature of hierarchical organizing itself.

Martin Award (Business Economics)

Oren Danieli
Photo: Russ Campbell

Oren Danieli
Danieli develops novel approaches to study of income inequality. He has developed a big-data method to optimize social experiments aimed at increasing income mobility, used machine-learning tools to improve hiring of teachers and policemen, and created a new method to study wage polarization. His job market paper, “Outside Options in the Labor Market,” which he co-authored with fellow graduate student Sydnee Caldwell, shows that a significant share of wage inequality is driven by differences in outside options. Some workers, such as women or those with low levels of education, earn lower wages, because there is less competition to hire them. To reach this conclusion, they developed a new methodology to infer workers’ outside options from the jobs that similar workers choose to take. Using administrative social security data from Germany, they find that 30 percent of the gender gap and 25 percent of the returns to higher education are the results of differences in outside options.

About the Awards

The Wyss Awards are named in honor of Hansjörg Wyss (MBA 1965), who established the Hansjörg Wyss Endowment for Doctoral Education in 2004. The Wyss Endowment supports a broad range of efforts to strengthen the Harvard Business School Doctoral Programs, including fellowships and stipends for doctoral students, increased support for field research, new doctoral course development, teaching skills training, and the renovation of doctoral facilities on campus.

The Roger Martin Fund for Doctoral Research was established in 2006 through the generosity of Roger Martin (MBA 1981), former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The fund was created in memory of Harvard Business School professor John Lintner, a world-renowned expert in finance and one of Martin’s mentors. Harvard Business School grants the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in five areas of study: accounting and management, marketing, management, strategy, and technology and operations management. It also offers PhD programs in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in business economics, health policy management, and organizational behavior. At any given time, approximately 130 HBS doctoral students are completing course work or working on their dissertations at the School.


Cullen Schmitt

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.