241-260 of 268 Results

Article

Testing and Interpreting Interaction Effects  

Jeremy F. Dawson

Researchers often want to test whether the association between two or more variables depends on the value of a different variable. To do this, they usually test interactions, often in the form of moderated multiple regression (MMR) or its extensions. If there is an interaction effect, it means the relationship being tested does differ as the other variable (moderator) changes. While methods for determining whether an interaction exists are well established, less consensus exists about how to understand, or probe, these interactions. Many of the common methods (e.g., simple slope testing, regions of significance, use of Gardner et al.’s typology) have some reliance on post hoc significance testing, which is unhelpful much of the time, and also potentially misleading, sometimes resulting in contradictory findings. A recommended procedure for probing interaction effects involves a systematic description of the nature and size of interaction effects, considering the main effects (estimated after centering variables) as well as the size and direction of the interaction effect itself. Interaction effects can also be more usefully plotted by including both a greater range of moderator values and showing confidence bands. Although two-way linear interactions are the most common in the literature, three-way interactions and nonlinear interactions are also often found. Again, methods for testing these interactions are well known, but procedures for understanding these more complex effects have received less attention—in part because of the greater complexity of what such interpretation involves. For three-way linear interactions, the slope difference test has become a standard form of interpretation and linking the findings with theory; however, this is also prone to some of the shortcomings described for post hoc probing of two-way effects. Descriptions of three-way interactions can be improved by using some of the same principles used for two-way interactions, as well as by the appropriate use of the slope difference test. For nonlinear effects, the complexity is greater still, and a different approach is needed to explain these effects more helpfully, focusing on describing the changing shape of the effects across values of the moderator(s). Some of these principles can also be carried forward into more complex models, such as multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling, and models that involve both mediation and moderation.

Article

The History, Development, and Contributions of the Work of Thorstein Veblen  

Sean M. Haas

Thorstein Veblen was an American economist who lived from 1857 to 1929. He was born into a family of farmers in the state of Wisconsin. Veblen’s formal education was long and meandering, as he entered into Carleton College in 1877. He then moved to Johns Hopkins to begin a PhD in philosophy, which he then finished at Yale in 1884. After a 7-year hiatus, Veblen re-entered academia in 1890 as he enrolled in the doctoral program at Cornell. In 1891, Veblen moved to the University of Chicago, where he secured his first teaching position in 1892, but resigned in 1906. After departing Chicago, Veblen’s academic career remained sporadic. He taught at Stanford, the University of Missouri, and The New School for Social Research, each for a short period. Veblen believed that classical economics was fundamentally flawed. He made many significant contributions to the field through his creation of institutional and evolutionary economics. Both perspectives involve the integration of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution into economic analysis. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Veblen viewed Darwinian evolution as a philosophical basis of inquiry that could be applied to all complex systems. This formed the conceptual basis for his rejection of classical economic principles, which he viewed as teleological, or seeking the definition of natural laws. Just as Darwinian evolution had transformed the natural sciences, Veblen aimed to rehabilitate the field of economics. Veblen published ten books and wrote over one hundred essays and articles during his academic career. Much of his eminence rests firmly on one of his earliest works, The Theory of the Leisure Class, which is largely a critique of capitalism and wealth inequality in American society. Veblen’s approach to economics was multidisciplinary. As such, his work contains a variety of influences, from philosophical pragmatism and Darwinian evolution to both American and European socialism, as well as psychology and anthropology. Veblen’s contributions to economics have generally been classified as heterodox, primarily because of their theoretical nature and Veblen’s lack of a systemic comprehensive theory as well as his harsh critique of American capitalism. Both institutional and evolutionary economics have retained varying degrees of relevance in the decades since Veblen’s death. The original form of Veblen’s institutional economics exhibited a degree of favor in the academic discourse preceding the New Deal in the mid-1930s. However, institutional economics was further developed in the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, through second-generation institutionalists, such as Clarence Ayres, John Commons, and Wesley Mitchell. In the mid-1970s, new institutional economics was established to shift the field toward a new paradigm. Despite its historical roots in Veblen’s heterodox writings, the importance of institutions in analyzing economic development, and in formulating public policy, has been adopted by the modern mainstream economic discourse. The Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE) and the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE) continue to bring together economists who perform research from evolutionary and institutional perspectives. The AFEE honors Veblen’s legacy and his contributions to the field through its annual Veblen-Commons Award for outstanding research.

Article

The Impact of Reinsurance  

Niels Viggo Haueter

Reinsurance is perceived to have a stabilizing effect on the direct insurance industry and thereby on the economy overall. Yet, research into how exactly reinsurance impacts various areas is scarce. Traditionally, studying the impact of reinsurance used to be in the domain of actuaries; since the 1960s, they have tried to assess how different contract elements can provide what came to be called “optimal reinsurance.” In the 2010s, such research was intensified in developing countries with the aim to deploy reinsurance to support economic growth and security. Interest in reinsurance increased when the industry became more visible in the 1990s as the impact of natural catastrophes started being linked to a changing climate. Reinsurers emerged as spokespeople for climate-related issues, and the industry took a lead role in arguing in favor of implementing measures to reduce environmental deterioration. Reinsurers, it was argued, have a vested interest in managing the impact of natural catastrophes. This triggered discussions about the role of reinsurance overall and about how to assess its impact. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, interest in reinsurance again surged, this time due to perceived systemic impacts.

Article

The Kaleidoscope Career Model  

Sherry E. Sullivan and Shawn M. Carraher

The kaleidoscope career model (KCM) was developed by Mainiero and Sullivan in 2006 based on data from interviews, focus groups, and three surveys of over 3,000 professionals working in the United States. The metaphor of a kaleidoscope was used to describe how an individual’s career alters in response to alternating needs for authenticity, balance, and challenge within a changing internal and external life context. As a kaleidoscope produces changing patterns when its tube is rotated and its glass chips fall into new arrangements, the KCM describes how individuals change the pattern of their careers by rotating the varied aspects of their lives to arrange their work–nonwork roles and relationships in new ways. Individuals examine the choices and options available to create the best fit among various work demands, constraints, and opportunities given their personal values and interests. The ABCs of the KCM are authenticity, balance, and challenge. Authenticity is an individual’s need to make choices that reflect their true self. People seek alignment between their values and their behaviors. Balance is an individual’s need to achieve an equilibrium between the work and nonwork aspects of life. Nonwork life aspects are defined broadly to include not only spouse/partners and children but also parents, siblings, elderly relatives, friends, the community, personal interests, and hobbies. Challenge is an individual’s need for stimulating work that is high in responsibility, control, and/or autonomy. Challenge includes career advancement, often measured as intrinsic or extrinsic success. All three parameters are always active throughout the life span, and all influence decision-making. One parameter, however, usually takes priority; this parameter has greater influence in shaping an individual’s career decisions or transitions at that point in time. Over an individual’s life, the three parameters shift, with one parameter moving to the foreground and intensifying in strength as it takes priority at that time. The other two parameters will lessen in intensity, receding into the background, but they remain active.

Article

The Personality Underpinnings of Strategic Leadership: The CEO, TMT, and Board of Directors  

Bret Bradley, Sam Matthews, and Thomas Kelemen

“Strategic leadership” is the umbrella term used to describe the study of an organization’s top leaders—what they do, their interactions, and how they influence important organizational outcomes. The three major areas of focus within this field are the chief executive officer (CEO), the top management team (TMT), and the board of directors. Although each area has vibrant bodies of literature on important topics of inquiry, the integration of research findings, frameworks, and insights across the three areas remains underdeveloped. For example, the study of leader personality is a rich line of inquiry within the broader management literature, and all three areas are developing, albeit at different rates and with little integration across the three areas. The work on CEO personality is the most developed, and the work on board personality is the least developed. CEOs personality traits that have been studied include the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, and emotional stability), locus of control, core self-evaluations, narcissism, overconfidence, hubris, humility and regulatory focus (a person’s general approach to goals as either promotion focused or prevention focused). TMT personality traits that have been studied include the Big Five, trait positive affect, propensity to innovate, and competitive aggressiveness. Finally, board of directors’ personality traits that have been studied include only personality diversity.

Article

The Role of Board Leadership Structure in Firm Governance  

Danuse Bement and Ryan Krause

Boards of directors are governing bodies that reside at the apex of the modern corporation. Boards monitor the behavior of firm management, provide managers access to knowledge, expertise, and external networks, and serve as advisors and sounding boards for the CEO. Board attributes such as board size and independence, director demographics, and firm ownership have all been studied as antecedents of effective board functioning and, ultimately, firm performance. Steady progress has been made toward understanding how boards influence firm outcomes, but several key questions about board leadership structure remain unresolved. Research on board leadership structure encompasses the study of board chairs, lead independent directors, and board committees. Board chair research indicates that when held by competent individuals, this key leadership position has the potential to contribute to efficient board functioning and firm performance. Researchers have found conflicting evidence regarding CEO duality, the practice of the CEO also serving as the board chair. The effect of this phenomenon—once ubiquitous among U.S. boards—ranges widely based on circumstances such as board independence, CEO power, and/or environmental conditions. Progressively, however, potential negative consequences of CEO duality proposed by agency theory appear to be counterbalanced by other governance mechanisms and regulatory changes. A popular mechanism for a compromise between the benefits of CEO duality and independent monitoring is to establish the role of a lead independent director. Although research on this role is in its early stage, results suggest that when implemented properly, the lead independent director can aid board monitoring without adding confusion to a unified chain of command. Board oversight committees, another key board leadership mechanism, improve directors’ access to information, enhance decision-making quality by allowing directors to focus on specialized topics outside of board meetings, and increase the speed of response to critical matters. Future research on the governance roles of boards, leadership configurations, and board committees is likely to explore theories beyond agency and resource dependence, as well as rely less on collecting archival data and more on finding creative ways to access rarely examined board interactions, such as board and committee meetings and executive sessions.

Article

Thinking Critically in Management Education  

Clare Rigg

Most would argue that critical thinking is core to higher education; that a fundamental purpose is to cultivate students’ capacity to critique arguments, to scrutinize evidence, and to reason logically. However, in management education, a different take on thinking critically emerged in the 1980s, provoked by dissatisfaction with a mainstream management education which appeared happy to teach managers how to reason, analyze, and critique, without asking fundamental questions about ends, means, values, and consequences for employees, consumers, the environment, or society. In this vein, critical management education (CME) promotes a critical engagement with the world through a combination of questioning the legitimacy of knowledge, critical reflection, and critical being or action. The purpose of thinking critically in management education is seen as moving in the direction of greater social justice and a world in which neither people, nor the environment, are oppressed. CME can encompass both critical content and critical pedagogy. Frameworks for thinking critically in CME have broadened from the original neo-Marxist and hegemony theory employed in critical management studies (CMS) to draw from postmodernist, post-structuralist, psychodynamic, feminist, ecological, critical-realist, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, and queer theory. Critical pedagogy in management education has drawn from the longer traditions of community and radical adult education, with their practices of participative methods and dialogue. In addition, reflexivity plays a central part. Teaching and learning methods used by critical management educators as ways to explore the messiness, contradictions, and paradoxes of organizations are wide and varied, and include film, drama, and literature as well as bodywork such as yoga and meditation. Criticisms of CME include the right of academics to unsettle students’ sense of themselves, potentially disruptive effects of critical reflection, educators’ presumed moral superiority, neglect of issues of race and gender, as well as the challenge that critical management is an oxymoron. To provoke critical thinking challenges educators to redefine their role and their assumptions about learning. Attempting to be a CME educator has been likened to working on the margins, as a tempered radical, with attendant stresses and risks of student, peer, and institutional disapproval. Experienced educators advocate finding “uncontested niches” to develop CME modules and materials such as an optional module or new course; exploiting spaces which speak to the priorities of institutions (such as esteem and rankings) as well as appeal to students. Research on CME has been largely restricted to single reflective accounts and evaluations of educator practice. Rich though these are, it means the field has many unanswered questions that invite further research. These include: • What are the implications of hyper-diversity in the classroom for critical pedagogies? • What are junior faculty’s experiences of trying to introduce criticality into management education? • How can CME respond to changing societal challenges? • What might be the implications of post-human socio-materiality? • What can CME offer to undergraduate and post-experience constituencies? • How can CME make a difference to management practice?

Article

Tracking the Entrepreneurial Process with the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) Protocol  

Paul D. Reynolds

In the early 1990s business creation was receiving a great deal of attention after it was clear that new firms were a major source of job creation. There was not, however, reliable data on the prevalence of persons participating in firm creation, what they would do to implement new ventures, or the proportion of start-up efforts that became profitable businesses. This hiatus led to the development of longitudinal studies of the entrepreneurial process; 14 projects have now been implemented in 12 countries. The Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) protocol was designed to provide estimates of the prevalence of individuals involved in business creation and the presence of pre-profit, start-up ventures; data on the major activities undertaken to implement a new firm; and track the proportion that completed the transition from start-up to profitable new firm. A number of challenges were involved in implementing the research program, including the development of efficient procedures for identifying representative samples of nascent entrepreneurs and criteria for determining the dates of entry into the start-up process, the transition to a profitable business, and disengagement from the initiative. Data collection is a three-stage process. The initial stage is identifying nascent entrepreneurs in a representative sample of adults. The second are detailed interviews on the start-up team and activity related to creating a new venture. The third stage is follow-up interviews completed to determine the outcome of the start-up efforts. A large number of scholars have been involved in development of the interviews and the PSED data sets have considerable information on the perspectives, activities, and strategies of those involved in the start-up process. Since the initial data sets were made available 15 years ago, there has been considerable research utilizing PSED data sets. One major finding, however, is that the firm creation process is much more diverse and complicated than had been expected. There are substantial research opportunities to be explored. A review of the major features of the PSED protocol and a summary of the existing data sets provides background that will facilitate additional analysis of the firm creation process. Four data sets (Australia, Sweden, and U.S. PSED I & II) are now in the public domain. Critical features of the start-up process have been consolidated and harmonized in a five-cohort, four country data set which is also available.

Article

Transaction Cost Economics as a Theory of the Firm, Management, and Governance  

Mikko Ketokivi and Joseph T. Mahoney

Which components should a manufacturing firm make in-house, which should it co-produce, and which should it outsource? Who should sit on the firm’s board of directors? What is the right balance between debt and equity financing? These questions may appear different on the surface, but they are all variations on the same theme: how should a complex contractual relationship be governed to avoid waste and to create transaction value? Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) is one of the most established theories to address this fundamental question. Ronald H. Coase, in 1937, was the first to highlight the importance of understanding the costs of transacting, but TCE as a formal theory started in earnest in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an attempt to understand and to make empirical predictions about vertical integration (“the make-or-buy decision”). In its history spanning now over five decades, TCE has expanded to become one of the most influential management theories, addressing not only the scale and scope of the firm but also many aspects of its internal workings, most notably corporate governance and organization design. TCE is therefore not only a theory of the firm, but also a theory of management and of governance. At its foundation, TCE is a theory of organizational efficiency: how should a complex transaction be structured and governed so as to minimize waste? The efficiency objective calls for identifying the comparatively better organizational arrangement, the alternative that best matches the key features of the transaction. For example, a complex, risky, and recurring transaction may be very expensive to manage through a buyer-supplier contract; internalizing the transaction through vertical integration offers an economically more efficient approach than market exchange. TCE seeks to describe and to understand two kinds of heterogeneity. The first kind is the diversity of transactions: what are the relevant dimensions with respect to which transactions differ from one another? The second kind is the diversity of organizations: what are the relevant alternatives in which organizational responses to transaction governance differ from one another? The ultimate objective in TCE is to understand discriminating alignment: which organizational response offers the feasible least-cost solution to govern a given transaction? Understanding discriminating alignment is also the main source of prescription derived from TCE. The key points to be made when examining the logic and applicability of TCE are: (1) The first phenomenon TCE sought to address was vertical integration, sometimes dubbed “the canonical TCE case.” But TCE has broader applicability to the examination of complex transactions and contracts more generally. (2) TCE could be described as a constructive stakeholder theory where the primary objective is to ensure efficient transactions and avoidance of waste. TCE shares many features with contemporary stakeholder management principles. (3) TCE offers a useful contrast and counterpoint to other organization theories, such as competence- and power-based theories of the firm. These other theories, of course, symmetrically inform TCE.

Article

Trust and Trustworthiness in Business  

Richard Coughlan

Trust is a relatively complex psychological state that arises in relationships characterized by dependence and risk. It has both cognitive and emotional elements that can be linked to certain actions made by parties involved in exchange relationships. The relationships of interest include some level of uncertainty, both about the motives and future actions of other parties and about the potential outcomes of engaging in cooperative behavior with those parties. Each party involved in an exchange relationship has a certain propensity to trust, a baseline shaped by various factors including previous relationships. An individual’s propensity to trust is viewed to be relatively stable over time and is most important in the earliest stages of a relationship when a leap of faith is required to enter the relationship because firsthand evidence about the other party is scant. During a relationship, a party’s propensity to trust serves as a filter through which the other party’s actions are judged. A party’s trustworthiness is shaped by views on the degree to which the potential trustee has (a) an ability to fulfill its duties, (b) a sincere concern about the welfare of the trusting party and a willingness to sacrifice its own outcomes, and (c) a commitment to abide by prevailing ethical norms. The relative importance of each component—ability, benevolence, and integrity—is likely to change over the course of a relationship. Trust may exist between two individuals in a dyad, among several individuals in a work group, between an individual and a firm, and between one organization and another. The last of these categories has been described as interorganizational trust, an important component in the relationships between firms and their stakeholders. When trust exists between firms, formal governance mechanisms, such as contracts and monitoring systems, will be less necessary, reducing transaction costs in the relationship. At the interpersonal level, trust in a relationship has been tied to many positive outcomes, including greater sharing of more accurate information and more frequent displays of organizational citizenship behavior. It has also shown a connection to higher levels of job satisfaction, creativity, cooperation, and productivity. When trust in leaders is higher, subordinates’ intention to quit is lower.

Article

Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior  

Alexander Newman, Shenjiang Mo, and Matthew Lupoli

Unethical behavior in organizations persists in many forms across industries and nations. What often unites these behaviors is an underlying motivation to benefit oneself, typically for financial reasons, and frequently at the expense of others. However, unethical behaviors are not only committed with selfish intentions. Sometimes, employees commit unethical behaviors with the motivation to aid the organization or its members. These actions are known in the literature as unethical pro-organizational behavior (UPB). Despite their benevolent intentions, UPB has the potential to yield detrimental outcomes for individuals and organizations—including those it is intended to help. As such, a growing body of research has been devoted to better understanding the antecedents and consequences of these actions.

Article

University Technology Commercialization  

Kathleen R. Allen

For decades researchers have studied various aspects of the technology transfer and commercialization process in universities in hopes of discovering effective methods for enabling more research to leave the university as technologies that benefit society. However, this effort has fallen short, as only a very small percentage of applied research finds its way to the marketplace through licenses to large companies or to new ventures. Furthermore, the reasons for this failure have yet to be completely explained. In some respects, this appears to be an ontological problem. In their effort to understand the phenomenon of university commercialization, researchers tend to reduce the process into its component parts and study each part in isolation. The result is conclusions that ignore a host of variables that interact with the part being studied and frameworks that describe a linear process from invention to market rather than a complex system. To understand how individuals in the technology commercialization system make strategic choices around outcomes, studies have been successful in identifying some units of analysis (the tech transfer office, the laboratory, the investment community, the entrepreneurship community); but they have been less effective at integrating the commercialization process, contexts, behaviors, and potential outcomes to explain the forces and reciprocal interactions that might alter those outcomes. The technology commercialization process that leads to new technology products and entrepreneurial ventures needs to be viewed as a complex adaptive system that operates under conditions of risk and uncertainty with nonlinear inputs and outputs such that the system is in a constant state of change and reorganization. There is no overall project manager managing tasks and relationships; therefore, the individuals in the system act independently and codependently. No single individual is aware of what is going on in any other part of the system at any point in time, and each individual has a different agenda with different metrics on which their performance is judged. What this means is that a small number of decision makers in the university commercialization system can have a disproportionate impact on the effectiveness and success of the entire system and its research outcomes. Critics of reductionist research propose that understanding complex adaptive systems, such as university technology commercialization, requires a different mode of thinking—systems thinking—which looks at the interrelationships and dependencies among all the parts of the system. Combined with real options reasoning, which enables resilience in the system to mitigate uncertainty and improve decision-making, it may hold the key to better understanding the complexity of the university technology commercialization process and why it has not been as effective as it could be.

Article

University Technology Transfer in Innovation Management  

Tom Hockaday and Andrea Piccaluga

University technology transfer (UTT) has been growing in importance for many decades and is of increasing importance to university leadership, university researchers, research funding agencies, and government policy makers. It is of interest to academic researchers in the fields of business management, economics, innovation, geography, and public policy. UTT is a subset of the broader field of technology transfer, and it involves the transfer of university research results from the university to business so that the business can invest in the development of products and services that benefit society. The research results can arise from any academic discipline, are not limited to a particular definition of technology, and can be transferred to existing and new for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. The core activity involves licensing patent applications and other intellectual property to existing companies and establishing new companies that raise investment finance, to develop the early-stage research outputs into new products and services. In recent decades, research universities have set up technology transfer offices (TTOs) to manage their UTT activities. TTOs adopt a project management approach to supporting university researchers who wish to transfer the results of their research to business. Project stages include identifying, evaluating, protecting, marketing, deal making, and post-deal management. TTOs are also involved in other activities, beyond patenting, licensing, and entrepreneurship, which generate positive impact on society. Measuring and evaluating UTT is a topic of continuing debate, with an early focus on activity metrics developing into a more sophisticated assessment of the impact of university research outputs on society. Current issues in UTT involve understanding the position of UTT in the broader area of research impact, as well as funding and organization models for UTT within a university. The COVID-19 global crisis is highlighting the importance of university research and its transfer out to organizations that develop and deliver products and services that benefit society. It has further emphasized the importance of UTT as an activity where much more has to be researched and understood in order to maximize the benefits for society of all the activities performed by universities.

Article

The Uppsala Model in the Twenty-First Century  

Jan-Erik Vahlne

When it was developed in 1977, the Uppsala internationalization process model (Uppsala model for short) had three basic premises: process ontology, behavioral assumptions, and the presence of uncertainty. Multinational business enterprises (MBEs), among all actors, were in their infancy, and their future could not be known. Later on, the model was extended to cover the evolution of the MBEs, with factors such as internationalization, globalization, and the development of characteristics prompting changes and making them possible. Likewise, the knowledge concept was substituted for by capabilities, operational and dynamic, fitting well the other concepts of the model. The neoclassical view of the firm as an independent unit on the market is considered unrealistic. Instead, firms, MBEs, and small and medium enterprises are seen as embedded in networks with other cooperating and competing actors. The mechanisms of the 2017 version, though, are the same as in the original version. Hopefully, the latest version can be used as a tool within the scope of the “theory of the firm” research and as a platform for more studies on causal mechanisms, later to be applied in normative conclusions. It follows that static cross-sectional statistical methods are not fully satisfactory. Application of dynamic analytical methods requires investment in longitudinal data collection, which is costly, and has to be performed by institutions rather than individuals. A dream is that the Uppsala model can be used as a stepping stone in the construction of realistic macro-level studies of the economy.

Article

User Innovation  

Nikolaus Franke and Christian Lüthje

Users of products and services, be they user firms or consumers, frequently develop innovations for their own benefit. Such user innovation is a long-existing phenomenon, but it has gained much momentum in the new millennium. The Internet has greatly facilitated connections between creative users, and at the same time cost-effective design and prototyping technologies are making it increasingly feasible for users to develop their own products and services. Users have been found to innovate mainly because they want solutions that best serve their own needs. In general, their innovation activities involve no expectations of monetary profit, being motivated rather by self-rewards (such as fun, positive feelings of altruism, signaling of competence to the community of peers). This explains why users are typically willing to share their innovations without requiring payment. A problem of user innovation is that, since the benefit that others could gain is an externality for users, they lack strong incentives to invest in the active diffusion of their innovations. The consequence of this “diffusion shortfall” is social welfare losses. There are several ways in which producers and service providers can help overcome these problems and benefit from the innovation potential of users at the same time. They can apply the lead user method to actively search for a small group of particularly highly motivated and qualified users, they can outsource product design work to their users via user design toolkits, and they can broadcast innovation challenges to an appropriate crowd of external problem solvers.

Article

Values, Other-Interest, and Ethical Behavior: The Critical Role of Moral Emotions  

Jason Kautz, M. Audrey Korsgaard, and Sophia So Young Jeong

Organizations and their agents regularly face ethical challenges as the interests of various constituents compete and conflict. The theory of other-orientation provides a useful framework for understanding how other concerns and modes of reasoning combined to produce different mindsets for approaching ethical challenges. To optimize outcomes across parties, individuals can engage in complex rational reasoning that addresses the interests of the self as well as others, a mindset referred to as collective rationality. But collective rationality is as difficult to sustain as it is cognitively taxing. Thus, individuals are apt to simplify their approach to complex conflicts of interest. One simplifying strategy is to reduce the relevant outcome set by focusing on self-interests to the neglect of other-interest. This approach, referred to as a rational self-interest mindset, is self-serving and can lead to actions that are deemed unethical. At the other extreme, individuals can abandon rational judgment in favor of choices based on heuristics, such as moral values that specify a given mode of prosocial behavior. Because this mindset, referred to as other-oriented, obviates consideration of outcome for the self and other, it can result in choices that harm the self as well as other possible organizational stakeholders. This raises the question: how does one maintain an other-interested focus while engaging in rational reasoning? The resolution of this question rests in the arousal of moral emotions. Moral emotions signal to the individual the opportunity to express, or the need to uphold, moral values. Given that moral values direct behavior that benefits others or society, they offset the tendency to focus on self-interest. At extreme levels of arousal, however, moral emotions may overwhelm cognitive resources and thus influence individuals to engage in heuristic rather than rational reasoning. The effect of moral emotions is bounded by attendant emotions, as individuals are likely to experience multiple hedonic and moral emotions in the same situation. Deontic justice predicts that the arousal of moral emotions will lead individuals to retaliate in response to injustice, regardless of whether they experience personal benefit. However, evidence suggests that individuals may instead engage in self-protecting behavior, such as withdrawal, or self-serving behaviors, such as the contagion of unjust behavior. These alternative responses may be due to strong hedonic emotions, such as fear or schadenfreude, the pleasure derived from others’ misfortunes, overpowering one’s moral emotions. Future research regarding the arousal levels of moral emotions and the complex interplay of emotions in the decision-making process may provide beneficial insight into managing the competing interests of organizational stakeholders.

Article

Vertical Integration and the Theory of the Firm  

Jongwook Kim

How do firms organize economic transactions? This question can be thought of as a question of firm boundaries or as a decision about a firm’s scope, encompassing the choice along a continuum of governance structures, including spot markets, short-term contracts, long-term contracts, franchising, licensing, joint ventures, and hierarchy (integration). Although there is no unified theory of vertical integration, transaction cost economics, agency theory, and more recently property rights theory have been influential not only in analyzing make-or-buy decisions but also in understanding “hybrid forms” or inter-firm alliances, such as technology licensing contracts, equity alliances, joint ventures, and the like. Before Coase’s work became widely known, whatever theoretical underpinnings there were of vertical integration were provided by applications of neoclassical theory. Here, the firm was viewed as a production function that utilized the most technologically efficient way to convert input into output. In particular, neoclassical theory was concerned primarily with market power and the distortions that it created in markets for inputs or outputs as the main driver of vertical integration. Hence, the boundaries of the firm—that is, where to draw the line between transactions that occur within the firm and those outside the firm—were irrelevant within this framework. It was Coase’s question “Why is there any organization?” that first suggested that price mechanisms in the market and managerial coordination within firms were alternative governance mechanisms. That is, the choice between these alternative mechanisms was driven by a comparative analysis of the costs of implementing either mechanism. Oliver Williamson built on Coase to provide the theoretical foundations for vertical integration by joining uncertainty and small numbers with opportunism in defining exchange hazards, and consequently established comparative analysis of alternative governance forms as the way to analyze vertical integration. More recently, property rights theory brought attention to ownership of key assets as a way to distinguish between the governance of internal organizations and those of market transactions, where ownership confers the authority to determine how these assets will be utilized. And lastly, agency theory also provides important building blocks for understanding contractual choice by placing the emphasis on the different incentives that vary with different contractual arrangements between a principal and its agent. Transaction cost economics, property rights theory, and agency cost theory complement one another well in explaining vertical integration in terms of alternative governance forms in a world of asymmetric information, bounded rationality, and opportunism. These theories have also been utilized in analyzing “hybrid” organizational forms, in particular strategic alliances and joint ventures. Together, vertical integration and alliances account for a significant part of corporate strategy decisions, and more research on the theoretical foundations as well as novel ways to apply these theories in empirical analyses will be productive avenues for a better understanding of firm behavior.

Article

Virtual Worlds Affordances for Organizations  

Kathryn Aten

Virtual work has become critical to competing in the global information economy for many organizations. Successfully working through technology across time and space, especially on collaborative tasks, however, remains challenging. Virtual work can lead to feelings of isolation, communication and coordination difficulties, and decreased innovation. Researchers attribute many of these challenges to a lack of common ground. Virtual worlds, one type of virtualization technology, offer a potentially promising solution. Despite initial interest, organizational adoption of virtual worlds has been slower than researchers and proponents expected. The challenges of virtual work, however, remain, and research has identified virtual world technology affordances that can support virtual collaboration. Virtual world features such as multi-user voice and chat, persistence, avatars, and three-dimensional environment afford, in particular, social actions associated with successful collaboration. This suggests that the greatest value virtual worlds may offer to organizations is their potential to support virtual collaboration. Organizational scholars increasingly use a technology affordance lens to examine how features of malleable communication technologies influence organizational behavior and outcomes. Technology affordances represent possibilities of action enabled by technology features or combinations of features. Particularly relevant to virtual world technology are social affordances—affordances of social mediating technologies that support users’ social and psychological needs. To be useful to organizations, there must be a match between virtual world technology affordances, organizational practices, and a technology frame or organizing vision. Recent studies suggest a growing appreciation of the influence of physical organizational spaces on individual and organizational outcomes and increasing awareness of the need for virtual intelligence in individuals. This appreciation provides a possible basis for an emerging organizing vision that, along with recent technology developments and societal comfort with virtual environments, may support wider organizational adoption of virtual worlds and other virtualization technologies.

Article

Whistleblowing and Whistleblowers  

Niamh M. Brennan

Whistleblowing (also called good faith reporting, anonymous reporting, protected disclosure) is growing in importance as a corporate governance mechanism. It is increasingly recognized as a key internal control mechanism. Whistleblowing is a term used to describe an act whereby wrongdoing is exposed. It gained impetus following the collapse of Enron in 2001 arising from financial reporting fraud, which culminated in the U.S. Time magazine selecting three whistleblowers (all women) as its person of the year in 2002. The term was first used in 1966. Researchers have invoked a variety of theories and models attempting to explain whistleblowing. Elements that influence the process include the whistleblowers, the type of wrongdoing, the wrongdoers, the decision to blow the whistle, whistleblowing recipients, organizational factors, and finally the consequences of whistleblowing. Organizational processes, alternative to the more extreme step of whistleblowing, include silence (the other side of the coin to whistleblowing), speaking up, and open disclosure. An organizational response resisting an employee speaking up is the trigger that creates a whistleblower. The definition of whistleblowing only includes organizational members. Should it be extended to include external parties as well as organizational members? Social media has had an impact on whistleblowing. Questions remain as to the efficacy of whistleblowing: Is it a substantive or symbolic mechanism of governance?

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Whiteness in Organizations: From White Supremacy to Allyship  

Donna Chrobot-Mason, Kristen Campbell, and Tyra Vason

Many whites do not identify with a racial group. They think very little about their own race and the consequences of being born into the dominant racial group. They do not think much about race because they do not have to. As a member of the dominant group, whites view their race as the norm. Furthermore, whites consciously or unconsciously typically view their experiences as race-less. In actuality whites’ experiences are far from race-less. Many whites also fail to acknowledge the privileges their racial group provides. As long as whites continue to dominate leadership roles and positions of power in organizations, there will continue to be strong in-group bias providing unearned advantages to whites in the workplace, such as greater hiring and advancement opportunities. Additionally, as long as whites fail to acknowledge privilege, they will likely adopt a color-blind perspective, which in turn leads to a lack of recognition of microaggressions and other forms of discrimination as well as a lack of support for organizational initiatives to improve opportunities for employees of color. In order to create a more inclusive workplace, it is imperative that both whites and white dominated organizations promote and foster white allies. For whites who wish to become allies, acknowledging white privilege is a necessary but insufficient step. Becoming a white ally also requires questioning meritocracy as well as working in collaboration with employees to implement lasting change.