Research | Undergraduate Research Assistant Program

Awarded Fall 2011

Situational Moderation of Gendered Backlash in Negotiation
Emily Amantullah, Assistant Professor, Department of Management
Ayesha Akbar, Undergraduate Research Assistant

The project explores the unique constraints faced by women seeking to achieve success and advancement in the masculine environment of the business world, and how these constraints can be attenuated. My approach to studying gender departs from earlier work in the field, which treated variation in behavior of men and women as inherent sex differences. Instead, I see gender as a complex social construction that creates expectations and social norms which, in turn, constrain individuals to act within confined boundaries in order to avoid social sanctions for being perceived as counter-normative. Theorizing about gender in this way, as a social construction rather than a biological hardwiring, opens up the opportunity to explore how situational variation may modify gendered expectations in particular contexts.  This magnifies and/or mitigates these social constraints, thereby helping to identify practical interventions to rectify gender inequities in the workplace.


Voice flows to and around leaders: Is more always better for unit performance?
Ethan Burris, Associate Professor, Department of Management
Milu Thomas, Undergraduate Research Assistant

My co-authors and I have recently been requested to revise and resubmit this research project to Administrative Science Quarterly. We examine a taken-for-granted, yet largely untested, premise that improvement-oriented voice is consistently good for organizations. We do so by integrating insights from the voice, leadership, social network, and other literatures to theorize whether and how flows of voice to and around leaders increase their units’ performance. We test hypotheses about the outcomes of several distinct forms of voice flows using time-lagged field data from 801 employees and 93 managers in 93 units in nine North American financial service organizations. Our study demonstrates that some voice flows are positively related, and some are negatively related, to subsequent unit effectiveness. We thus establish the importance of simultaneously studying an array of voice flows – some that mirror chain-of-command structures and others that constitute an informal communication structure within organizations. Theoretically, we refine understanding by drawing on “free flow” and “restricted flow” perspectives on voice. We combine these with our empirical results to offer a “directed flow” hybrid perspective that argues that voice flowing from particular types of senders to particular types of targets helps or hinders a unit.


The Role of Marketing Information Availability and Complexity on Speed and Decision Making in the IPO Process
Jade DeKinder, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing

Many firms that are operating as successful private companies choose to initiate the initial public offering (IPO) process to raise additional capital they require to achieve their strategic goals. Firms that decide to IPO must enter the registration process through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, not all firms that enter this process ultimately conclude with an IPO. Many times firms withdraw from the IPO process, resulting in financial and reputational loss for the potential issuer, underwriter (usually an investment bank), and the investors. This loss makes it critical to understand what drives the decision of a firm to withdraw versus IPO. In addition to the ultimate decision, the time in the registration process can be costly as well. It is therefore critical to investigate the ultimate decision as well as what drives the length of time a firm uses to make a decision.

After entering the registration process a firm conducts the price discovery process with its underwriter and potential investors. The goal of this process is for the issuing firm and market investors to agree on a price, i.e., the firm’s value. This process progresses with a considerable amount of information asymmetry between the issuer firm and the investors. We argue that this information asymmetry will be reduced by the issuers’ signals of their market potential. As such, in this research we argue that the availability and complexity of the issuer firms’ market signals will affect the outcome and the resolution speed of the price discovery process. 


The effect of local competition on the Availability and Cost of Credit
Alejandro Drexler, Assistant Professor, Department of Finance
Andres Villegas, Undergraduate Research Assistant

A myriad of studies explore to what extent bank competition affects the provision and cost of credit. Most of these work focuses on banks that open a new subsidiary (at the country or regional level). The problem about these studies is that banks endogenously chose the markets they want to enter to. In this paper we take a different approach, Instead of focusing on the effects of banks entering into a new country or region, we focus on the effects of banks opening a new branch in a specific neighborhood. The advantage of this approach is that we can measure the distance of each client to the new opened branch. Because clients chose their business location before the branch is opened, the distance of the client to the new branch can be assumed to be exogenous to the client’s characteristics. Further clients who leave close to the new branch will face a stronger increase in bank competition compared to clients who leave far from the new branch. Therefore the distance of the client to the new opened branch can be used as an instrument for the intensity of bank competition. This new approach will improve our understanding of the effect of bank competition on the cost and provision of credit.


Microlending in US
Cesare Fracassi, Assistant Professor, Department of Finance
Jason Simpson, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Studies on microlending have been always focused on developing countries. This project looks at the effect of microlending in the United States, the most economically developed country in the world. Using a proprietary dataset from the largest microlending provider in the US, and employing a discontinuity design, we will analyze the impact of microlending on borrowers, and their businesses. 


Cross-Understanding and Shared Mental Models in Group Cognition
Kyle Lewis, Associate Professor, Department of Management
Mayra Chapa, Undergraduate Research Assistant

More and more, firms are utilizing work groups to accomplish important tasks. This practice is based on the belief that groups of people can produce superior decisions, products, and ideas that add value for firms, due primarily to the quantity and variety of knowledge that exists in a collective. In the group cognition literature, shared mental model theory holds that groups will experience better coordination and performance if their task-relevant structured knowledge sets, or mental models, are very similar across members. However, it could be that instead of mental model similarity, cross-member understanding of mental models could also lead to effective coordination and group performance.

Cross-understanding is a group-level compositional construct that reflects the extent to which group members have an accurate understanding of one another’s task-relevant mental models. The viewpoint focuses not on whether group members’ mental models are similar or different, but rather on how well members understand each others’ mental models. Cross-understanding is theorized to have beneficial effects on group learning and product quality via three mechanisms: 1) enhanced communication and comprehension; 2) increased mental model elaboration and usefulness; and 3) improved inter-member anticipation and coordination.

Our research examines this tension between shared mental model theory and cross-understanding. In particular, we hypothesize that cross-understanding will improve groups’ coordination and performance via the three mechanisms mentioned above, and further, that groups may suffer from low shared mental models and yet still perform at a high level if they have high cross-understanding. This alternative explanation for coordination and group performance extends the group cognition literature in a new direction and expands the field’s understanding of the cognitive factors that influence group performance.


Unintended consequences of sustainability programs
Raghunath Rao, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing
Caroline Thomas, Undergraduate Research Assistant

We seek to argue that many sustainability initiatives might have unintended consequences and there is a need to study these initiatives beyond their obvious and short-term benefits. We provide an empirical illustration of the nature of these unintended consequences through a deeper empirical examination of bottle recycling laws passed by many states. Specifically, using a detailed store-level data from New York State that recently passed water bottle deposit legislation and employing a difference-in-difference approach, we identify a substitution effect with potentially long-term harmful effects on consumers’ well-being. For many consumers who do not intend to deposit water bottles, the recycling deposit at the point of purchase is akin to a price increase that leads to a substitution into high-calorie beverages (that do not fall under the ambit of the law) with significant long-term health consequences.


Audit committees and financial reporting quality
Jaime Schmidt, Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting
Michael "Dalton" Rodriquez, Undergraduate Research Assistant

The project will investigate whether improving or diminishing audit committee effectiveness (ACE) affects subsequent financial reporting quality (FRQ). Recent legislation has increased the responsibility of audit committees to oversee the financial reporting process and has mandated certain aspects of ACE (e.g., financial expertise and independence).  However, we know very little about which characteristics of audit committees and aspects of ACE are most important for effective oversight. Using unique data already purchased with a grant obtained from the American Accounting Association, we plan to examine the effects on FRQ of both improving and diminishing ACE and categorize ACE by types previously believed important by policy makers. Overall, our study should contribute to the literature by helping legislators and companies know what qualities are most necessary for an audit committee to provide effective financial reporting oversight.


Sense-Making and Decision-Making
Jennifer Whitson, Assistant Professor, Department of Management
Veronica Bluhm, Undergraduate Research Assistant

My project explores how power and control influence the way people make sense of the world. Past research shows that the powerful are more prone to action, but had not yet discovered why. I look into how the possession of power changes the way people process risk and reward such that they are more likely to act. I also examine how lack of control increases the tendency to see illusory patterns (making connections between random or unconnected stimuli) across many arenas – from seeing images in static and patterns in the stock market, to making superstitious connections, to perceiving conspiracies where there are none.

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