Management of Organizations

Fall 2010 Seminar Schedule

PHDBA 259S-1, MORS Colloquium, Professor Ming Leung & Don Moore. Cheit 330, Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm (* unless otherwise noted)

Sept. 1 Welcome Get Together
Meet and greet new MORS faculty and students
Sept. 8 Stephen Vaisey
University of California, Berkeley
"Inside Out: Changing Ideas about the Actor-Environment Relationship in Social Psychology, Culture, and Organization Theory."
The social and behavioral sciences are divided into fields and subfields that often seem to have little in common. Social psychology, cultural sociology, social movements, and organization theory are all subdisciplines with their own arguments and their own intellectual histories. Despite these differences, however, I argue that a parallel intellectual shift began in the late 1960s which ultimately took place in all these fields. This shared transformation removed the "engine" of action from inside the actor (person or organization) and placed it instead in the external environment. I contend that the legacy of this transformation still profoundly affects the social sciences and is hampering the development of better theories of action, culture, and organizational change. The argument is illustrated with empirical examples from a number of (sub)fields.
Sept. 15 Elizabeth Pontikes
Booth School of Business
University of Chicago
"Two Sides of the Same Coin: How Category Ambiguity Affects Multiple Audience Evaluations."
Recent research indicates that when organizations are hard to categorize they will suffer in terms of external evaluations. Here, I suggest this depends on the type of audience that is evaluating the organization. Some audiences have little influence over organizations and look for products and services that fulfill particular requirements. They use classification systems as maps to navigate an organizational world and are put off by unclear categorical affiliations. Other audiences have a voice in shaping organizations and seek novelty. Members of these audiences are motivated to understand organizations that do not easily fit into a category structure. For the first type of audience, ambiguous categories make organizations unclear and less appealing. For the second type, the same ambiguity is flexible and more appealing. I test these ideas in the context of the software industry for audiences of consumers as opposed to venture capitalists. As predicted, organizations in ambiguous categories are less appealing to consumers, but more appealing to venture capitalists. Differences between category-level and organization-level measures of ambiguity, and implications for the emergence of category structures are discussed.
Sept. 22 Dana Carney
Graduate School of Business
Columbia University
"Does Power Corrupt? Or Does Power Buffer Stress—For Better and For Worse?"
Does Power Corrupt? Or does power simply buffer stress? Across human and nonhuman animals, power is associated with many wonderful things such as an action orientation, a tolerance for risk, and an endocrine profile which aids in disease resistance (high testosterone coupled with low cortisol). However, power has also been linked with corrupt acts such as derogating and objectifying others, failing to return others' belongings, and an increased likelihood of deception. Drawing heavily from research in primatology, neuroscience, physiology, and neuroendocrinology, a picture emerges which may be able to reconcile how power can simultaneously lead to such good and such bad things: power appears to enhance the very same emotional, cognitive, and physiological systems which acts of corruption deplete. In this presentation, the beginning of a theory is advanced which describes how power appears to promote corrupt behavior through a stress-buffering mechanism whereby power decreases the emotional, cognitive, and physiological costs of corrupt acts and ordinary stressful experiences alike. Four studies are presented which demonstrate that: (1) power leads to an increase in the dominance hormone testosterone and a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol—an endocrine profile ideal for enduring stress, (2) testosterone is associated with a decreased threshold for aversive acts, (3) power buffers the stress response in a high-stakes lie, and (4) power buffers the threat response in social exclusion. Taken together, these findings provide the first empirical support for the stress-buffering effects of power.
Sept. 29 TBA
Feb. 2 Charles O'Reilly
Organizational Behavior
Stanford University
"Organizational ambidexterity: IBM and emerging business opportunities"
Oct. 13 Robert Levenson
University of California, Berkeley
"10 Things You Might Not Know About Emotion."
I will present an overview of some of the major findings from our research program on human emotions. The presentation addresses: (a) what emotions are and how they function; (b) how emotions are regulated and with what consequences; (c) the role emotions play in intimate relationships; (d) the role of emotion in empathy; (e) emotions and personality; (f) how emotions change in healthy aging and late-life dementias; and (g) connections between emotions, well-being, and health.
Oct. 20 Mary Kate Stimmler
MORS Graduate Student
"Comfort in Numbers: The organizational and individual effects of risk quantification on risk taking."
This paper investigates popular claims that innovative risk measures resulted in greater risk seeking by banks prior to the financial crisis. It theorizes that risk measures resulted in greater risk seeking because they framed risks in a way that emphasized easily quantified, familiar risks and distracted decision makers from risks that were less familiar, more extreme, and poorly understood. The proliferation of these risk measures coincided with the development of a risk management logic within finance that created a shared belief within finance that risks that could be measured could be safely and profitably "managed." The presence of this logic compounded the framing effects of risk metrics resulting in greater risk taking by firms that adopted the logic and used risk-based measures. The paper finds support for these arguments using data on financial fundamentals and a unique data set of all risk measures and risk management rhetoric used within financial statements of all publicly-held U.S. banks from 1995 to 2007. Theoretically, this research supplements broad, abstract theorizations of institutional logics with the well-established psychological mechanism of framing to concretely explain how organizational discourses and logics shaped meaning making within banks and how this resulted in greater risk taking leading up to the financial crisis.
Oct. 27 Emily Choi
MORS Graduate Student
"New Firm Categorization and Technological Diversity in Alliance Networks."
Nov. 3 Will Self
MORS Graduate Student
"What happens when we sanction: A multi-level examination of the unintended consequences of norm enforcement."
Nov. 10 Anne Flesicher
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
"Relative Performance and Categorical Coherence: Equity Rating Outcomes for US Firms, 1995-2007."
It is well established that when audiences have difficulty classifying objects, they tend to devalue them. However, difficult to classify objects do receive high valuations, and easy to classify objects can receive low ones. In this paper, I examine one reason this occurs. Rather than examining the entire universe of objects that could be classified, audiences usually focus on a narrower subset of objects and compare within it. I argue that the effect for poor performance is greater for easy to classify objects because the criteria for performance are more standardized, and thus a high evaluation given poor performance is difficult to justify for such objects. Using the set of recommendations on over 5000 publicly traded US stocks issued by equity analysts during the period from 1995 to 2007, I find that lower performance of a stock relative to other stocks already rated by a given analyst is associated with a lower likelihood of a high rating for that stock. This negative effect is increased when a stock has high levels of categorical coherence. In general, the results suggest that the positive effect of categorical coherence, well established in prior literature, is contingent on the relative performance of other objects already rated by a particular evaluator.
Nov. 17 Randall Peterson
London Business School
"Lessons From a Decade’s Research on Managing Conflict in Teams: And New Directions."
Recent research indicates that task and relationship conflict are highly intercorrelated, suggesting that the potential benefits of task conflict (e.g., increased motivation and improved information sharing) are hard to achieve without the negative effects of relationship conflict (e.g., reduced focus on task) (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003). Simons and Peterson (2000) suggest, however, that trust moderates this association so that task and relationship conflict are unrelated in groups with high intragroup trust, arguing that the groups with high trust can benefit from task conflict without the attendant problems of relationship conflict. We argue, and find support from a sample of 90 work teams from Taiwan, that this effect is limited in two ways. The moderating effect of trust is restricted to individuals who value: 1) self-direction over security (individualists); and/or 2) benevolence and trust over power and achievement (those who value trust for its own sake)
Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Break—No Colloquium
Dec. 1 Toby Stuart
Business Administration
Harvard University
"Boundary spanning in a for-profit research lab: An exploration of the interface between commerce and academe."
In innovative industries, private-sector companies increasingly are participants in open communities of science and technology. To participate in the system of exchange in such communities, firms often publicly disclose what would otherwise remain private discoveries. In a quantitative case study of one firm in the biopharmaceutical sector, we explore the consequences of scientific publication—an instance of public disclosure—for a core set of activities within the firm. Specifically, we link publications to human capital management practices, showing that scientists' bonuses and the allocation of managerial attention are tied to individuals' publications. Using a unique electronic mail dataset, we find that researchers within the firm who author publications are much better connected to external (to the company) members of the scientific community. This result directly links publishing to current understandings of absorptive capacity. In an unanticipated finding, however, our analysis raises the possibility that the company's most prolific publishers begin to migrate to the periphery of the intra-firm social network, which may occur because these individuals' strong external relationships induce them to reorient their focus to a community of scientists beyond the firm's boundary.
[Word Doc]
Dec. 8* *This speaker has been rescheduled for January 12, 2011.
Amanda Sharkey
Stanford University
"Categories as Lenses: Category Status and the Reaction to Ambiguous Signals of Organizational Deviance."
Every organization derives its identity in part from membership in a socially defined category, such as "hospital," "bank," or "university." In this paper, I propose that organizational categories differ in status. That is, people hold widely shared and legitimated beliefs about which categories of organizations are more or less worthy of esteem. While previous work has shown that categories act as sieves, which market participants use to determine which offers to evaluate, I argue that category membership also acts as a lens, through which market participants perceive value. The status of an organizational category creates a context of meaning that influences how other information about the organization is interpreted, thereby impacting assessments of relative worth. I develop a measure of category status and test for how category status impacts the market reaction to an ambiguous signal of organizational deviance: an earnings restatement. Results support the idea that category status impacts the perception and evaluation of organizational actions.