Winning Articles and Books
Barnes, C. M., Miller, J. A., & Bostock, S. (2017). Helping employees sleep well: Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia on work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(1), 104-132.
This paper examined the impacts of internet-based cognitive behavior therapy on work outcomes. Using a field experiment with a control group, this research found that the therapy had a direct effect on negative affect, job satisfaction, and self-control. It also found that the therapy had an indirect effect on organizational citizenship behavior via negative affect and job satisfaction and an indirect effect on interpersonal deviance via self-control. This research has its credibility by conducting a longitudinal field experiment, integrating different disciplines, and is widely disseminated (e.g., covered by the Huffington Post and the London School of Economics blog). This research also shows its usefulness because it has implications to many stakeholders such as employees, managers, and families, it involves several partners from disciplines such as management and medicine, and it tackles a worldwide problem on sleep that is a challenge to many people. In conclusion, this paper is credible and useful, and it exemplifies most of the seven principles of responsible research.
This paper uses two field experiments implemented in online labor marketplaces to provide a causal empirical analysis of the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on employee salary requirements. The author found that in the first experiment, information about the employer’s social responsibility marginally reduced prospective workers’ wage requirements on average and had a significant effect on the highest performers, who were willing to give up the wage differential they would otherwise demand. In the second, prospective workers submitted 44% lower wage bids for the same job after learning about the employer’s social responsibility. The paper provides evidence that workers value purpose and meaningfulness at work, and it demonstrates that workers are willing to give up pecuniary benefits for nonpecuniary benefits. This paper is credible in that it sets a good standard for how to demonstrate a causal relationship between CSR activities and firm performance by utilizing two field experiments. Concerning the usefulness and dissemination of this research to practitioners, this paper has been featured in Fortune.com and Huffington Post and presented at the Berkeley Sustainable Business and Investment Forum to an audience of practitioners, highlighting the business impact of this research.
Campos, F., Frese, M., Goldstein, M., Iacovone, L., Johnson, H. C., McKenzie, D., & Mensmann, M. (2017). Teaching personal initiative beats traditional training in boosting small business in West Africa. Science, 357(6357), 1287-1290.
This research investigated the usefulness of personal initiative training on the success of self-employed entrepreneurs and their small business in West Africa. It compared firm profits of two experiment groups (personal initiative training): (a) a proactive mindset focusing on entrepreneurial behaviors and (b) leading business focusing on basic financial and marketing practices), and (c) a control group (no teaching). Findings from 1,500 companies, randomly assigned to the three groups, showed that personal initiative training boosted firm profits by 30% over two years. This research is useful because the topic of helping self-employed small business owners in under-developed and developing countries is timely. This research also shows how managerial research and education can have an impact on the society, business, and organizations. Specifically, it underscores the importance of psychology (developing an entrepreneurial mindset) and shows how it can influence the success of small businesses. This research is also credible because it represents a rigorous field experiment study and should serve as an exemplar for conducting field experiments in developing countries. The supplementary material provides an exceptionally detailed record of research procedures (that can be replicated) and subsidiary analyses to establish the merit of the study’s findings.
This paper examines the growing movement of B Corporations whereby companies are certified based on their environmental, social, and governance activities. To achieve certification, companies must go through a rigorous process; thus, it is presumably an achievement they would want to promote. However, based on extensive quantitative and qualitative evidence, the authors found that there are very different motivations behind why a company gains certification versus why it might then publically communicate this commitment. Findings show that organizations become a B Corporation due to alignment with the organizations’ existing mission, values, and identity. When it comes to promoting the certification, the authors develop a theory of contextual distinctiveness, which unpacks how regional and industry prevalence of certification affects a focal organization’s promotion strategy. In short, the authors theorized and found that promotion of the B Corporation membership depends on the extent to which the certification helps them stand out from non-certified peer organizations and that these effects are amplified in contexts where membership is more prevalent. The research question and subsequent hypotheses development are novel and thought-provoking, followed by solid mixed-method research design and empirical analyses. The paper exemplifies many of the principles of responsible research very well, and its important insights are relevant to a wide range of audiences.
Howard-Grenville, J., Nelson, A. J., Earle, A. G., Haack, J. A., & Young, D. M. (2017). “If chemists don’t do it, who is going to?” Peer-driven occupational change and the emergence of green chemistry. Administrative Science Quarterly, 62(3), 524-560.
Based on a novel context of “green chemistry,” the authors examined the efforts of chemists to encourage their peers to adopt safer and more environmentally friendly approaches to chemical design. The paper focuses on how members of an occupation initiate change without clear external triggers or pressures. While most occupational change is triggered externally, the authors explore the mechanisms used by members of an occupation to persuade other members to change core occupational practices. Their analysis reveals that a pluralistic approach leads to wide acceptance of the advocated practices. While this pluralistic approach generated broad acceptance of the change effort, it also exposed tensions, which threatened the coherence of the change. Divergent responses to these tensions contribute to a persistent state of pluralism and dynamism in this internally-driven occupational change effort. The paper uses interview and archival data, and qualitative inductive analysis to generate important insights. The paper was discussed on several chemistry blogs, featured at the Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in 2017, and an earlier version of the paper received the Best Paper Award from the Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship Conference in 2015.
Lo, C., Tang, C. S., Zhou, Y., Yeung, A. C., & Fan, D. (2018). Environmental incidents and the market value of firms: An empirical investigation in the Chinese context. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 20(3).
The authors examined stock market reactions to environmental violations by 294 Chinese manufacturing firms involving 618 environmental incidents between 2006 and 2013. This paper addresses a critical environmental issue in China and examines its impacts on both domestic investors and global stakeholders. Using a data set from an environmental research NGO, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), in Beijing China, the major findings show that after a pollution incident is exposed, stock markets react negatively to the firm and their overseas customers. Those firms with larger state ownership suffer less from this negative impact while those with personal political ties suffer more. The authors further theorized that while overseas customers (e.g., international brands) usually turn a blind eye to such activities of their suppliers, such practices entail reputational risk and have led to negative stock market reactions. The research design, theory development, and empirical execution are rigorous and solid. Thus, the research findings are credible and have important implications for corporate executives, capital market investors, and policymakers. The IPE website has millions of visitors per year and is the “go to” place for companies who want to make sure their contract manufacturers and suppliers are not on IPE’s “blacklist.”
This paper tackles the challenge of how to make firms more likely to comply with government regulations meant to protect citizens and the environment. The steady stream of high profile industrial accidents in emerging economies in recent years have helped make clear the frighteningly high frequency with which firms do not comply with such regulations. This appears to be especially true in countries where citizens question the government’s regulatory authority. The authors argue and find evidence that firms are more likely to see laws that protect society as fair and representative of what society wants when the government allows them to provide feedback during the design process. This greater likelihood to see regulations as fair, in turn, makes the firms more likely to comply with the resulting restrictions and increased costs created by the new rules. The key message is clear: To promote socially responsible corporate behavior, the government and other social organizations (such as NGOs and local communities) need to engage firms and respond to their feedback in the process of designing the rules and regulations. While the research setting is an emerging economy, Vietnam, the research results appear to also apply to advanced economies.
Shepherd, D. A., & Williams, T. A. (2014). Local venturing as compassion organizing in the aftermath of a natural disaster: The role of localness and community in reducing suffering. Journal of Management Studies, 51(6), 952-994.
This paper investigates responses to the Black Saturday bushfires in southeastern Australia. Black Saturday resulted in extreme destruction, killing 173 people, destroying more than 3,500 structures, and leaving many others injured, displaced, or otherwise incapacitated. To understand responses to such crises, the authors explored how new ventures customize and rapidly deliver resources from outside the disaster area to meet the needs of those adversely affected by a natural disaster, in particular, the ways local individuals who are impacted by the disaster facilitate compassion-organizing to meet community members’ needs. Contrasting with extant research that highlights how those who are more fortunate often provide resources to those who are less fortunate, the authors show a self-organizing aspect to compassion—when locals who are themselves suffering organize compassion to meet community members’ (and their own) post-disaster needs. The topic addresses a very important and practical issue. It is responsible research in a sense that it cares about humanity! The importance transcends business.
This inductive study of five firms in Alberta’s oil sands examines an issue at the heart of sustainable development: how companies manage the long-term demands of sustainable development while meeting their short-term financial needs. Grounding insights in organizational responses to the climate change issue, the authors find that some companies polarized the long-term and short-term, and therefore tackled those climate change solutions that offered short-term results. Other companies juxtaposed the long term and the short term and developed integrated, multidimensional solutions to climate change. These insights contribute to prior research in business sustainability and provide timely and important lessons for managers on how to manage long-term sustainability issues while meeting short-term pressures.
Zhao, E. Y., & Wry, T. (2016). Not all inequality is equal: Deconstructing the societal logic of patriarchy to understand microfinance lending to women. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 1994-2020.
This paper investigates the effectiveness of microfinance organizations (MFOs) in addressing two chronic, intertwined societal challenges—poverty and gender inequality. Gender inequality comprises distinct factors related to inequality in family/religion, professions, and the state. Examining MFOs in 115 countries from 1995 to 2013, results show that while some nations have consistently high or low inequality, many have high inequality on some measures, but not others, with important implications for understanding the MFOs outreach to women. The highest outreach levels are not in countries where inequality is uniformly lower, but in countries with contrasting inequality, i.e., where women have made advances in the state and professions, but not in religion and family. Such contrasts draw attention to women’s issues and motivate remediation efforts. This paper contributes to research on institutional theory, gender, inequality, and international business. It also has important practical implications for microfinance practitioners and policymakers. Moreover, the authors actively involved experts in microfinance in multiple countries in conducting this research and did a great job in disseminating knowledge to related stakeholders in the broader society.
Of the world’s seven billion inhabitants, around four billion live in low-income markets in the developing world. These four billion people—often referred to as the base of the pyramid (BoP)—deserve and, increasingly, are demanding better lives. The business community seeks new opportunities for growth, and the development community is striving to increase its impact. This book provides a roadmap for realizing that potential. Drawing on over 25 years of research and experience across some eighty countries, London offers concrete guidelines for how to build sustainable, scalable enterprises while simultaneously alleviating poverty. At its center, this book presents a toolkit specifically developed with the BoP context in mind. In particular, London addresses four key components that must be integrated to achieve results: designing BoP business models, planning for scale in BoP markets, understanding and managing value creation, and developing a robust and evolving ecosystem of partners. This toolkit of strategies, processes, and frameworks emphasizes innovation and mutual value creation and focuses on sustainability and scalability. The careful, mixed methods research involves passive observation, data triangulation through interviews and archival material and extensive project work. The lessons for broader society are fascinating, refreshing and clear.
This book contributes to the thought-provoking debate on professionalism in management. The author argues “that the search for professionalism in management and entrepreneurship needs to be revitalized, because the societal costs and damage caused by managerial amateurism are huge.” Romme’s provocative approach to this grand challenge is to harness management scholarship as a major driving force in transforming managerial amateurism into professional practices. Management scholars can play an influential role in advancing “science-based professionalism,” in similar ways as in medicine and engineering. Most significantly, Romme argues that management by a few people at the top of the administrative hierarchy no longer fits the challenges that organizations today are facing, and that professional management approaches in the future will involve distributed power and leadership emerging from all corners of the institution. The Quest for Professionalism also calls upon academics to drive this professionalization quest through the quality and usefulness of their research and practical advice based on sound scientific work. Romme’s book can be seen as a solid and dynamic parallel with the Responsible Research in Business and Management initiative.