Management of Organizations

Spring 2011 Seminar Schedule

PHDBA 259S-1, MORS Colloquium, Professor Ming Leung & Don Moore. Cheit 110, Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm (* unless otherwise noted)

Jan. 12 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.
Jan. 19 Li Huang
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
"Mind-Body Dissonance: A Catalyst to Creativity."
My research explores how a variety of tensions can drive individual behaviors. More specifically, I explore how the experience of mind-body dissonance, which occurs when mental states (e.g., negative emotions or powerless feelings) contradict bodily expressions (e.g., positive facial expressions or powerful postures), can be a driver of creativity. Previous research has almost exclusively focused on the downsides of this kind of tension (e.g., stress and encoding disruptions). In contrast, I will discuss and provide empirical evidence to demonstrate that mind-body dissonance catalyzes creative thought and output. For instance, recalling a happy memory while frowning or a sad event while smiling led individuals to expand their cognitive categories to embrace more atypical exemplars. Adopting an expansive posture while being in a low-power role or adopting a constricted posture while being in a high-power role also increased category expansion. Similarly, talking to an irritating customer while smiling led to more unique but useful associations in an association task. Furthermore, mind-body dissonance generated a need to be atypical in one's thinking, which mediated its effect on creative insights. These findings indicate that mind-body dissonance, a phenomenological feeling of contradiction and incoherence, has epistemic and motivational value and is a central force behind our tendency to embrace atypical and creative ideas. They also suggest that organizations might benefit from paying close attention to how work and organizational cultures affect individuals' mind-body states.
Jan. 24*
Evan Apfelbaum
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
"Colorblind, or Just in the Dark? Managing Diversity in Social Interactions and Institutions."
One strategy practiced by many Whites to regulate the appearance of prejudice during social interaction is to avoid talking about race, or even acknowledging racial difference. Four experiments involving a dyadic task investigated antecedents and consequences of this tendency. Observed colorblindness was strategic in nature: Whites’ acknowledgment of race was highly susceptible to normative pressure and most evident among individuals concerned with self-presentational aspects of appearing biased (Study 1). However, this tendency was often counterproductive, as avoiding race during interracial interaction predicted negative nonverbal behavior (Study 1), a relationship mediated by decreased capacity to exert inhibitory control (Study 2). Two studies examining White and Black observers' impressions of colorblind behavior revealed divergent assessments of actors' prejudice in situations where race was clearly relevant (Study 3) but convergent assessments when race was less relevant (Study 4). Practical and theoretical implications for interracial interaction are considered.
Jan. 26 Bo Kyung Kim
Steph M. Ross School of Business
University of Michigan
"When and How Middle-Status Newspapers Innovate: The Role of Status and Market Identity in Adoption of Digital Media."
This study focuses on the role of status and market identity in the diffusion of a discontinuous technology and asks specifically how status and market identity affect the adoption motivation and implementation process of the discontinuous technology in the U.S. newspaper industry. I argue that middle-status organizations perceive the new technology as an opportunity for gain whereas high-status organizations as a threat of loss because of different market identities imposed on them. As a result, middle-status newspapers are more likely to be the first to experiment with the new technology and to develop websites that emphasize that digital media is different from print media. High-status newspapers have fewer incentives to take the risk of adopting the new technology, but follow the first-middle-status newspapers quickly if their experiments look promising. When high-status newspapers develop websites, they also try to emphasize that digital media is not very different from print media. Event-history analyses and negative binomial regression analyses of the newspaper industry from 1993 to 2007 support my theoretical argument: Middle-status newspapers indeed launched their websites earlier than other newspapers and were more likely to emphasize the interactive features on the web, the most distinctive characteristic of digital media from the traditional print media.
Jan. 31*
Sarah Townsend
University of California, Santa Barbara
"Can the Absence of Prejudice Be More Threatening Than Its Presence? It Depends on One’s Worldview."
The present research used validated cardiovascular measures to examine threat reactions among members of stigmatized groups when interacting with members of nonstigmatized groups who were, or were not, prejudiced against their group. The authors hypothesized that people’s beliefs about the fairness of the status system would moderate their experience of threat during intergroup interactions. The authors predicted that for members of stigmatized groups who believe the status system is fair, interacting with a prejudiced partner, compared with interacting with an unprejudiced partner, would disconfirm their worldview and result in greater threat. In contrast, the authors predicted that for members of stigmatized groups who believe the system is unfair, interacting with a prejudiced partner, compared with interacting with an unprejudiced partner, would confirm their worldview and result in less threat. The authors examined these predictions among Latinas interacting with a White female confederate (Study 1) and White females interacting with a White male confederate (Study 2). As predicted, people’s beliefs about the fairness of the status system moderated their experiences of threat during intergroup interactions, indicated both by cardiovascular responses and nonverbal behavior. The specific pattern of the moderation differed across the 2 studies.
Feb. 2 Kaisa Snellman
Stanford University
"Window-Dressers and the Closet Conformists: Dual Decoupling in the Spread of the Wall-Street Model of the Firm."
Feb. 7*
Jay Horwitz
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
"Coordination Challenges and Performance Trade-offs Under Uncertainty: Fighting Fires Together."
This paper investigates the effects of inter-organizational collaboration on the effectiveness of U.S. municipal fire departments. Almost all U.S. fire departments engage in the reciprocal exchange of fire services with neighboring departments. However, there is substantial variety in these relationships. First, some departments exchange help with greater frequency than others. Second, some departments manage these exchanges informally with "handshake agreements" while others use formal written contracts. I estimate whether the intensity of resources received from partners and the use of formal contracts affect property damage, injuries, and deaths. I account for the potential endogeneity of collaboration and contract choices using a combination of difference-in-differences and instrumental variables approaches. The results suggest that fire departments with an increase in realized uncertainty experience increased property damage in aggregate each year; however, this negative effect on performance is diminished by an increase in resources received from partners in that year. The results also indicate that fire departments with formal contracts experience decreased property damage in aggregate each year, but this positive effect on performance is diminished by an increase in realized uncertainty. These findings suggest that, in this setting, partner resources received facilitate adaptation to realized demand uncertainty. They also suggest that formal contracts increase coordination and control when demand is stable and regular but restrict adaptation when conditions are volatile and irregular. Trade-offs in the effects of partner resources received and formal contracts across property damage, injuries, and deaths are also explored.
Feb. 16 Susan Perkins
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
"When Does Prior Experience Pay? Institutional Experience and the Case of the Multinational Corporation."
Organizational learning theory predicts that prior experience leads to performance gains. In some cases, it has been shown that experience can lead to negative performance outcomes, especially when the current organizational environment deviates from the prior learning context. Using the context of multinational corporations' (MNCs) heterogeneous host country institutional experiences, I develop theory to explain what organizations learn from prior experiences and how these experiences affect performance in subsequent environments. By utilizing field studies on telecommunications regulation, executive interviews (conducted in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the U.S.) and a uniquely constructed foreign direct investment dataset, I develop an experiential learning theoretical framework to explain the mechanisms driving MNCs' performance. Prior experience is operationalized as the knowledge acquired in 80 heterogeneous regulatory environments. A Mahalanobis distance calculation is used to compute firm level distance measures for 96 subunit operations investing in the Brazilian telecommunications industry from 1997 to 2004. I predict that MNCs with highly similar institutional experience compared to the target country's institutional environment will succeed. Empirical tests show that similarity, breadth, and depth of prior regulatory experience prolong survival. Alternatively, firms with institutional experience unrelated to the target country's regulatory environment are four times more likely to fail.
Feb. 23 Sam McClure
Stanford University
"A general model of temporal discounting based on two value systems."
Intertemporal choices, which require selecting between rewards available at different points in time, are ubiquitous in everyday life. People and other animals apply a premium for acquiring rewards sooner, and temporal discount functions of numerous varieties have been used to characterize these preferences. I will present data demonstrating the existence of two valuation systems in the brain and explore how these systems relate to important differences in behavior. I will focus on two effects, the decimal effect and the magnitude effect, in which context has a significant impact on intertemporal preferences. In a series of behavioral and neuroimaging experiments, I will show how a two system model accounts for the observed within-subject differences in discounting.
Mar. 2 Beta Mannix
Management and Organizations
Cornell University
"The Relational Versus Collective 'We' and Inter-group Allocation Decisions: The Role of Categorization."
We draw from theories of self construal and intergroup relations to propose a contingent approach to understanding inter-group resource allocation decisions. Using surveys and cross-cultural samples, we first investigated how relational versus collective self-construal influences group categorization (Study 1); in subsequent studies we used experiments to explore under which inter-group context relational versus collective self-construal is more likely to generate in group-biased allocation decisions (Study 2), and how group categorization mediates the relationship between relational versus collective self-construal and intergroup allocation decisions (Study 3).
Mar. 9 Joseph Porac
Stern School of Business
New York University
"Connecting the Dots at the Edge of Life: Interorganizational Sensemaking in the Detection of Emerging Viruses by the US Public Health System."
Mar. 16 Cathy Tinsley
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
"Gender and Pay Equity: The Domestic Twist."
Through a series of studies, we demonstrate a gender wage paradox in that women want primary wage status relative to their male colleagues at work (wanting to earn as much or more), yet secondary wage status compared to their husbands at home. Women also experience more conflict than men when integrating their gender and professional identity roles. We develop a scale to measure how in/stable individuals believe gender roles to be and show that beliefs about the immutability of gender roles contribute to this gender wage paradox. Specifically, when women believe gender roles are fixed, they are more likely to hope and expect that their spouse earns more than them, even after controlling for a number of variables including: own wage preferences, subscription to traditional gender role beliefs, and preferences to stay home and care for children. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings for gender roles and women’s advancement.
Mar. 23 Spring Recess—No Colloquium
Mar. 30 Neil Fligstein
University of California, Berkeley
"The Rise and Fall of the Nonconventional Mortgage Industry."
How do people judge the credibility of their informants (e.g., advisors and witnesses)? People pay attention to confidence, but confidence is not the best measure of credibility. Informants are often overconfident, and people’s reliance on confidence as a proxy for credibility can lead to significant errors in decisions and trial outcomes. Why is confidence so compelling given its limitations? How are people affected when a confident informant makes a mistake during an interview or a trial? And how can an informant recover credibility that was lost from making a mistake? To address these questions, I propose a framework for understanding informant credibility. According to the presumption of calibration hypothesis (Tenney, Spellman, & MacCoun, 2008), people find confidence compelling because they make a default assumption that informants are able to appropriately evaluate their own knowledge and gauge when they should or should not be confident. But if people have information to override this assumption, they will. According to the hypothesis, even a small error, stated with confidence, can destroy credibility by suggesting that the informant is not well calibrated. A series of mock-juror studies supporting this hypothesis are described. The talk concludes with practical implications of the presumption of calibration hypothesis for the legal process. Providing people with calibration information can ameliorate over-reliance on informant confidence.
Apr. 6 Elizabeth Tenney
University of Virginia
"Presumption of Calibration: How People Judge the Credibility of their Sources."
The 2007-2009 financial crisis was centered on the nonconventional mortgage industry. Scholars have just begun to carefully consider what really caused the crisis. This paper pushes the debate forward in several ways. First, we elucidate four different theoretical approaches, "financialization", "actor-network/performativity", "perverse incentives", and "markets as politics" to understanding how the mortgage securitization industry evolved. We generate hypotheses and relevant data and show that the "markets as politics" approach accounts for the social structuring of the market from 1990-2008. Second, we use archival and secondary sources to show that the industry became dominated by an "industrial" conception of control whereby financial firms vertically integrated in order to capture profits at all points in the value chain. In 2004, the conventional mortgage market turned down. Financial firms entered the nonconventional market in order to keep their "industrial" conception going. The nonconventional market thrived for three years but when it turned down, the firms that went bankrupt were those who were the most committed to the "industrial" conception of control.
Apr. 13 Sharique Hasan
Graduate School of Business
Stanford University
"Categorization in Labor Markets: Evidence from the Indian Administrative Service."
In this article, we study the career effects of getting diverse versus specialized experience. Macro-level research on the restructuring of work argues that the breakdown of formal job ladders necessitates "job-hopping"; therefore, workers must acquire diverse experience across organization, functions and industries. Conversely, recent research on social classification finds that "boundary-spanners" with diverse experience get ignored or devalued by the people or organizations that evaluate them. Thus, there is a basic tension in how a sociologists might give career advice. To address this tension, we develop a typology of labor-market conditions under which specialist or generalist experience would be rewarded. We then examine the relationship between specialized experience and career outcomes using rich longitudinal data on the careers of Indian Aministrative Service Officers, members of the Republic of India's elite bureaucratic organization. Our results strongly support the assertion that specialized experience bestows greater career benefits at both early and late career stages.
Apr. 20 Joe Magee
New York University
"Power Differences in the Construal of Crises: The Aftermaths of September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP Deep Horizon Disaster."
I will present three studies that are the first tests of the relationship between power and the construal of crisis situations (e.g., Magee, Milliken, & Lurie, 2010). Specifically, I examine whether the possession of power and the motivation to manage others' impressions systematically affected individuals' interpretations of events in the aftermaths of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP Deep Horizon disaster. By drawing on the Approach/Inhibition Theory of Power and developing the Social Distance Theory of Power, I hypothesize that the language that high-power individuals used to describe the events was more abstract (vs. concrete), more positive (vs. negative), and more certain (vs. uncertain) than the language used by those with less power. Analyses of quotations that people produced during the aftermaths of these disasters provide broad support for the hypotheses. Position power, not expert power, was responsible for the effects on construal, even after accounting for a number of factors that are also known to affect construal, such as the specific topic of individuals' attentional focus and individuals' geographic location. There are some other notable findings and exceptions to the support for the hypotheses. Following Hurricane Katrina, occupying a public role was also significantly related to abstraction and certainty, consistent with heightened public pressure and frustration with government officials in that context. Following Deep Horizon, power was not associated with abstraction, due perhaps to the overwhelmingly technical nature of that disaster and response.
Apr. 27 Michael Hogg
Behavioral & Organizational Sciences
Claremont Graduate University
"Leading Under Uncertainty: Social Identity, Self-Uncertainty, and Distinctive Groups"
Social identity theory (e.g., Tajfel & Turner, 1979; see Abrams & Hogg, 2010) argues that people in groups pay close attention to and are influenced by what they believe to be the prototypical defining attributes of the group. Thus, those individuals in a group who are deemed to best embody the group’s attributes can be highly influential. Building on this, the social identity theory of leadership (e.g., Hogg, 2001; Hogg & van Knippenberg, 2003) argues that for leaders to be effective in groups that are important to their members they need to be perceived to be prototypical by their followers. In this talk I extend this analysis in the context of uncertainty-identity theory (Hogg, 2007, 2011). UIT argues that feelings of uncertainty about oneself and one’s identity is a powerful motivation for group identification that can lead people to identify very strongly with highly distinctive groups, and to have a clear preference for strong directive leadership. Uncertainty may contribute to zealotry and autocratic leadership. I describe some current empirical studies and work in progress and end by exploring very recent conceptual work on intergroup leadership (Hogg, van Knippenberg, & Rast, 2011)—a situation of extreme uncertainty when a leader needs to provide leadership for conflicting groups within a larger group.
May 4 Jessica Kennedy
MORS Graduate Student
"Power and Dissent: Implications for Ethics in Organizations."
End of Semester Celebration
May 11*
Bernadette Doerr & Fiona Kun Yao
MORS Graduate Students