• Past Seminars

    See below for a list of recent seminars hosted by the Institute for Work and Employment Research and the Organizational Studies group.

  • OS Seminars
  • Date Event
    May 25, 2017 Heather Yang - MIT Sloan School


    Matching faces to expectations: The impact of domain differences in gendered expectations of appearance

    Prior research has demonstrated that women who appear congruent with their gender role (i.e., look feminine) are penalized for their appearance in business contexts. However, a separate body of research, predominantly centered on electoral outcomes, has put forth conflicting results demonstrating that facial femininity for women can be beneficial. In a series of experimental studies, I aim to resolve the conflict in the literature by proposing a domain-expectation matching hypothesis. I propose that, although both domains are associated with masculine characteristics, contexts within the political domain are associated with fewer masculine characteristics than contexts within the business domain, and as a result, perceivers prefer less masculine facial appearances for political leaders than for business leaders. The findings of the studies add to the gender bias literature that examines the impact of circumstances that make gender and professional roles discrepant to each other on consequential outcomes, such as hiring and electoral outcomes.

    May 11, 2017 Michèle Lamont - Harvard University
    May 4, 2017 Vanessa Conzon - MIT Sloan School


    Managing Experts: Reintegrative Shamingof Expert Contractors

    Using data from a 16-month ethnographic study of PRU, a research unit in a pharmaceutical company, I examine how managers successfully manage expert contractors. Although these expert scientists perform essential work in advancing PRU’s drug development projects, they often act in ways that impede project progress. The literature on expert control suggests that these challenges can be overcome by using management tactics such as socialization, instrumental rewards, and instrumental punishments. However, these tactics are difficult to implement when experts are employed outside of the firm. I show how managers can manage expert contractors through a process of reintegrative shaming, in which the manager first shames the expert professional for appearing to violate a shared scientific and occupational norm, and then provides the expert with an opportunity to correct his or her actions so that they align with the community’s expectations and the firm’s interests. By invoking publicly shared norms of scientific practice, reintegrative shaming enables the firm to control expert contractors.

    April 20, 2017 Klaus Weber - Kellogg School of Management


    Globalization in action: Technology entrepreneurship in Kenya

    April 13, 2017 Andrew Knight - Olin School of Business, Washington University


    Organizational Affective Tone: A Meso Perspective on the Origins and Effects of Consistent Affective Experiences in Organizations

    Grounded in an open systems perspective, we build and test new theory about how the kinds of industries in which an organization participates influences organizational affective tone and connects to workforce strain. We propose that the more an organization’s activities lie in consumer-centric industries (e.g., service, retail), the more positive and less negative the organization’s affective tone. We connect consumer-centric industry participation and affective tone by explaining how personnel policies and organizational structure generate and sustain consistent positive and negative affective experiences throughout an organization. Additionally, we examine the effects of organizational affective tone on workforce strain. The results of a survey-based study of 24,015 human resource managers, top management team members, and employees of 161 firms largely support our predictions. We discuss the implications of considering macro contextual factors for understanding affective dynamics in organizations.

    April 6, 2017 Beth Bechky - NYU Stern


    The specter of testifying: Forensic scientists as advocates for the evidence

    In this presentation, I describe forensic scientists’ feelings about testifying, which reflect the underlying tensions created as they navigated the worlds of science and criminal justice simultaneously.  While forensic scientists defined themselves as a scientific community, their work was evaluated with respect to its application in the criminal justice community. They struggled when confronted with the different norms of science and law, which led to some resentment of attorneys and ambivalence about their participation in the courtroom. More significantly, their identification as scientists (and with science) made them highly sensitive to the technical accuracy of their analysis, which often came into conflict with legal principles and practices for evidence.  Moreover, as partial members of the community of criminal justice, forensic scientists felt a sense of isolation and exclusion from the process of testifying.  Tracing how these tensions manifested in the specter of testifying helps us to understand the evaluation of expertise and the influence of emotion in institutional processes. 

    March 9, 2017 Leslie Perlow - Harvard Business School


    Untangling the Temporal Paradox:Shifting from an Individual to Collective Orientation to Time

    Knowledge professionals are caught in a temporal paradox: Being a professional means having autonomy and control while success in the knowledge economy means being responsive and fully committed to one’s work 24-7.  Drawing on a multi-year ethnographic study with an intervention component, this paper describes the social and temporal mechanisms that perpetuate the temporal paradox.  It further describes the possibility of untangling the temporal paradox: changing work practices, norms and values, and shifting from an individual to a collective orientation to time. The findings bring together a long history of research on temporal structures revolving around time as an individual resource with the notion of heedful interrelating (Weick and Roberts, 1993) conceptualizing both a collective temporal orientation and managing time as a shared resource.  The findings have theoretical and practical implications for improving individuals’ work lives and creating change in organizations.  

    February 23, 2017 Alexandra Michel - The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania


    How Organizations Produce Persons, Including Biologies: A 15-Year Ethnography of Wall Street Bankers

    The planned talk presents a 15-year ethnography, tracking four cohorts of investment bankers starting from entry into two Wall Street investment banks throughout their subsequent careers at other firms. 

    I discuss two interdependent innovations in ethnographic methods that this data set necessitated: (1) Multisite work, which was required to track bankers who diffused into different organizations when they left the banks, and (2) autoethnographic elements, designed to examine deep levels of cultural shaping, on which participants could not self-report, and add depth to the thinness of multisite research.

    I document the co-evolution of the bankers’ activities and human functioning, including psychology and embodiment: how what one does shapes who one is, “down” to the biological level. I focus on one particular trajectory in a subset of bankers, which showed the greatest contrast in work activity and therefore in human functioning, involving: (1) Extreme work schedules that bankers carried with them and reproduced in their new employers and that (2) lead to repeated and eventually incapacitating physical breakdowns in mid-life, forcing bankers to (3) experiment with innovative ways of living and working to accommodate their physical condition, which required them to leave organizations and (4) engage in physical activity to heal, culminating in participation inelite sports and a concomitant radical reshaping of psychology and biology, such as “aging backward,” that challenges our assumptions of whatis possible.

    Psychology focuses on fixity. It examines the universal principles of the human mind only, neglecting the body. In contrast, this data set affords analysis of human plasticity. It shows that and how under new cultural and historical conditions, basic psychological and biological functions can manifest in new ways. Even though biology is often viewed as the epitome of the fixed, the data shows that biologies are local. Knowledge-based organizations are where local biologies are produced because people are shaped by the work that they do and because these organizations involve participants in all-encompassing work schedules, cutting off other socializing influences.

    February 16, 2017 Eitan Naveh - Israel Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion

    Errors in organizations: An integrative approach

    Errors are a recurring fact of organizational life and can potentially yield either adverse or positive consequences. Although we have learned much about errors in specific research areas across specific organizational contexts, we know little about how multifaceted forces in organizations, especially when they contradict each other, might affect the pathways of errors in organizations. With this situation in mind, I will present an integrative approach to errors that summarizes conceptual foundations and empirical findings. I will focus on three dimensions,namely (1) level of analysis – the degree to which errors are attributed to the individual (e.g.,individual employee) or collective actors (e.g., teams, units); (2) temporal dynamism – the degree to which organizational emphasis is put before,during, and after an error occurs; and (3) priority – the degree to which conflicting priorities are assigned to error coping strategies. Elaborating on these dimensions, I will present my empirical research findings about the specific consequences to errors concerning the multilevel fit of individual traits and team climate, team composition, tensions between learning and error elimination climates, and standardization rigidity and discretion. I will discuss discrepancies, inconsistencies,and opportunities for research synthesis. 

    December 1, 2016 Ryann Manning- Harvard Business School


    All Hands are Needed: Emotion and Resilient Organizing by West African Diaspora Communities in Response to the 2014-2015 Ebola Outbreak

    Disasters are destructive and emotionally fraught events. Existing literature shows that emotions play a critical role in resilience at the individual level, but we know less about how emotion relates to resilience at a collective level. In this paper, I focus on what I call “resilient organizing,” the process by which groups of people work together to activate, combine, and recombine resources in order to respond and adapt successfully to adverse events. I examine the case of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, specifically the response to Ebola by the global diaspora communities of one of the worst affected countries: Sierra Leone. Using abductive analytic techniques, I combine retrospective interviews with real-time data from diaspora organizations, online public conversations, and my own participation in the response to Ebola. I find that shared emotional experiences helped connect members of the diaspora to the emerging crisis in Sierra Leone, and generated a sense of urgency and efficacy which convinced many to get involved in the response. I develop the concept of “emotional modulation” and show how activists sought to strategically shape their communities’ collective emotional landscape in order to generate a balance of emotions to facilitate resilient organizing. Based on these findings, I build a theoretical model in which emotional modulation and resilient organizing influence one another in a dynamic, recursive process, with the potential for positive or negative cycles of emotion and (in)action.

    November 17, 2016 Fabiana Silva- University of California, Berkeley

    The Strength of Whites’ Ties: How employers reward the referrals of black and whitejobseekers

    Sociologists commonly point to jobseekers' racially segregated networks and employers' discriminatory behavior to explain racial inequality in employment. Network scholars argue that, given segregated networks and black and white employees' unequal position in the labor market, employers' reliance on employee referrals reproduces black disadvantage. Scholars of discrimination focus instead on the consequences of employers' prejudice. Drawing on an original experiment with a sample of white individuals with hiring responsibilities, I seek to bridge these literatures by examining whether respondents' racial prejudice affects how they reward the employee referrals of black and white applicants, from black and white employees. I use a measure of implicit prejudice that is resistant to social desirability and that can capture biases among people who genuinely believe they are unbiased. Whether evaluated by low-prejudiced or high-prejudiced respondents, white applicants benefit greatly from same-race referrals. In contrast, black applicants do not benefit from same-race referrals, even when they are evaluated by low-prejudiced respondents. In fact, black applicants only benefit from having a referral when two conditions are met: the referring employee is white and they are evaluated by a relatively low-prejudiced respondent. These findings suggest that in addition to their disadvantage in access to employee referrals, black jobseekers suffer from a disadvantage in returns to these referrals.  

    November 10, 2016 Francesca Gino- Harvard Business School

    Green, P., Gino, F., & Staats, B. (2016). Shopping for confirmation: How threatening feedback leads people to reshape their social network.

    To improve and advance in their careers, employees must be able to identify their own deficiencies. But humans are notoriously self-deceptive in their self-appraisal efforts, consistently ignoring their flaws in an attempt tomaintain a positive self-concept. Aware of this fact, organizations commonly gather various forms of developmental feedback from others in the belief that it will be more honest than self-assessments and motivate self-improvement. We propose that these feedback processes are, in fact, often ineffective because they represent threats to recipients’ positive self-concept. Analyzing four years of peer feedback and social network data from a company in the agribusiness industry, we find that employees, in the face of feedback that is more negative than their own self-assessment in a given domain, reshape their social network in ways designed to eliminate or attenuate the threat brought about by the feedback, and that this behavior is detrimental to their performance. In two follow-up laboratory studies, we replicate these findings conceptually, showing that disconfirming feedback has such effects on one’s relationships and performance because it is perceived as threatening to one’s self-concept. 


    November 3, 2016 Devon Proudfoot- Duke University

    A Gender Bias in the Attribution of Creativity: Archival and ExperimentalEvidence for the Perceived Association Between Masculinity and CreativeThinking

    We propose that the propensity to think creatively tends to be associated with independence and self-direction—qualities generally ascribed to men—so that men are often perceived to be more creative than women. In two experiments, we found that “outside the box” creativity is more strongly associated with stereotypically masculine characteristics (e.g., daring and self-reliance) than with stereotypically feminine characteristics (e.g., cooperativeness and supportiveness; Study 1) and that a man is ascribed more creativity than a woman when they produce identical output (Study 2). Analyzing archival data, we found that men’s ideas are evaluated as more ingenious than women’s ideas (Study 3) and that female executives are stereotyped as less innovative than their male counterparts when evaluated by their supervisors (Study 4). Finally, we observed that stereotypically masculine behavior enhances a man’s perceived creativity, whereas identical behavior does not enhance a woman’s perceived creativity (Study 5). This boost in men’s perceived creativity is mediated by attributions of agency, not competence, and predicts perceptions of reward deservingness.

    October 27, 2016 Julia J. Lee- University of Michigan

    Relational Self-Affirmation: Changing the Stories that We Tell Ourselves 

    Working in teams often leads to productivity loss because theneed to feel accepted prevents individual members from making a unique contribution to the team in terms of the information or perspective they can offer. Drawing on self-affirmation theory, we propose that pre-team relational self-affirmation can prepare individuals to contribute to team creative performance more effectively. We theorize that relationally-affirming one’s self-views increases general feelings of being socially valued by others,leading to better information exchange and creative performance. In a first study, we found that teams in which members affirmed their bestselves prior to team formation (i.e., by soliciting and receiving narratives that highlight one’s positive impact on close others) outperformed teams that did not do so on a creative problem-solving task. In the second experiment, conducted using virtual teams, we show that pre-team relational self-affirmation leads to heightened feelings of social worth, which in turn explains the effect of the treatment on the team’s ability to exchange information.


    October 20, 2016 Valentina Assenova- Yale University

    Multiplexity as a Conduit and Sieve of Information in Embedded Markets

    This study uses a quasi-experiment in the introduction of information within themoney lending structures of 16,984 people in 43 villages in India to understand how multiplexity -- overlap in roles, exchanges, and affiliations -- with the social structures of the villages (e.g. kinship, home visits) affected microfinance enrollment over time. Findings show that multiplexity deterred enrollment among eligible participants (women from socially and economically disadvantaged groups), despite potential economic benefits associated with microfinance. Results are attributed to the effects of multiplexity on role conflict for informants. The article illuminates the consequences of multiplex information structures for individual behavior.

    October 13, 2016 Sharon Koppman- University of California, Irvine

    Glass Halls through Glass Walls: Why Men Get Core Jobs in Feminized Occupations

    In light of a large literature on occupational sex segregation, advertising stands apart.  Within this feminized occupation, women show high interest, aptitude, and qualifications for creative work, yet relatively few are employed in creative jobs.  I explain this empirical puzzle through an overlooked source of sex segregation: beliefs that circulate within occupations.  By analyzing in-depth interviews (N=54) with advertising practitioners, I reveal how beliefs that circulate within advertising—specifically, the male ideal ofthe emotional and independent creative person—inform individual decisions to stay in creative jobs or leave.  Through the use of primary survey data (N=351), I demonstrate that identification with this internal ideal patterns sex segregation. Together, this study suggests that, much like the “glass elevator” lifts men in feminized occupations into management, these occupational beliefs provide “glass halls” through which men stride into the jobs defined as most desirable within the occupation itself.

    September 29, 2016 Nelson Repenning- School of Management Distinguished Professor of System Dynamics and Organization Studies

    Synthesizing a Dynamic Theory of WorkDesign

    Catalyzed by the seminal contribution of Hackman and Oldham, work design was once apopular topic in work and organization studies and considered to be one of thefew theories that was both rigorously tested and practically relevant.  In the last two decades, interest in andstudies of work design have diminished, leaving existing theory increasinglyout of touch with contemporary practice. An inadequate understanding of work both leaves many organizationaltheories resting on a shaky foundation and restricts our ability to influencepractice.  In this talk, I will proposean updated approach to understanding the nature of effective and engagingwork.  I begin by revisiting the staticconception of work that underlies most existing theory and build an alternativeframework based on the notion that even the most routine work is not entirelypredictable and requires a continuing stream of local adjustments andaccommodations.  I then propose fourrelated mechanisms through which organizations can capitalize on thisunderlying dynamism to build both motivation and competitive advantage.  These mechanisms provide a path to unify avariety of seemingly disparate work design practices, including elements of thefamed Toyota Production System and agile software development practice.  Several examples from recent interventionprojects will show how these mechanisms can be used to generate more effective,engaging work.

    September 15, 2016 Christine Beckman - Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

    Rituals of Quantification: Creating a System of Control (with Melissa Mazmanian)

    In this paper we explore budgeting as a ritual ofquantification. Using qualitative data from a hotel management firm we observemanagers engaged in a process of creating a number that drives daily decisionsfor the subsequent year. We highlight the ritual characteristics of budgeting(intense engagement, moments of voice, bounded stages, annual reenactment, andquantified output). In describing how the complementary processes ofsocialization and commensuration undergird this ritual, we provide insight intoboth how it operates and the source of its power. In sum, we argue that theritual of quantification incorporates elements of behavioral, normative andoutput controls to create a robust system of organizational control. This workhas implications for theories of control and calculative practices inorganizations.

    September 8, 2016 Community Lunch
    Apr 21, 2016 Pam Tolbert - Cornell University

    Art and Audiences: Complex Identities in U.S. Art Museums

    Professor Shinwon Noh, Lubin School of Business, Pace University

    Pamela S. Tolbert, ILR School, Cornell University

    Abstract: Organizational studies have yielded conflicting answers to the question of whether having a narrowly-defined, clearer organizational identity, or a broader, more complex one leads to more favorable reactions by external audiences. This study seeks to reconcile apparently divergent results by focusing on the aims and importance of different audience segments. We distinguish between “market intermediaries” (individuals and groups with specialized expertise who provide evaluations and recommendations) and other consumers, arguing that intermediaries respond more negatively to organizations with complex identities than other consumers, who may actually prefer organizations with complex identities. We also argue that there are critical differences among consumers, between those who are relatively attentive to market mediators and those who are not, that are important in understanding the ultimate impact on organizations of having a more complex identity. Using longitudinal data from U.S. art museums, we find art museums with complex identities are less likely to have their exhibitions reviewed by art critics, but more likely to experience growth in attendance. Moreover, having an exhibit reviewed affects attendance differently for art museums with complex and simple identities. Thus, our study demonstrates the importance of differentiating among external audiences for understanding the organizational consequences of a complex identity.

    Apr 7, 2016 Cheryl Kaiser - University of Washington

    Organizational Diversity Initiatives and Perceptions of Fairness

    Abstract: How do organizational diversity initiatives shape how members of advantaged groups think about workplace fairness? This talk describes a program of experimental research revealing that among advantaged groups (Whites, men) the presence (vs. absence) of organizational diversity initiatives causes them to perceive the workplace as more fair for disadvantaged groups (even when the workplace favors advantaged groups). At the same time, these diversity initiatives cause advantaged group members to become sensitive to discrimination against their own group and to experience a physiological stress response when considering applying to organizations that profess pro-diversity values. This research has implications for understanding intergroup relations, organizational diversity, civil rights compliance, and legal decision making.

    Mar 10, 2016 Jennifer Petriglieri - INSEAD

    Secure Base Relationships as Drivers of Professional Identity Development in Dual Career Couples

    Abstract: Through a qualitative study of fifty dual career couples, we examine whether and how people in a dual career relationship shape each other’s professional identities and how they experience and interpret the interactions between them. We found that the extent to and way in which this occurred depended on the nature of a couple’s attachment relationship, in particular whether partners’ provided a secure base to each other—which occurred when they supported and encouraged the other’s exploratory behavior—and on whether this was reciprocated. At the individual level, people whose partner provided a secure base to them, engaged in professional identity exploration, actively endeavoring to actualize desired professional identities even when risky, and expanded their professional identity to incorporate attributes of their partner’s identity. At the dyadic level couples that had a unidirectional secure base structure experienced their professional identities as being in conflict, while couples that had a bidirectional secure base structure experienced their professional identities as enhancing each other. Building on these findings, we develop a model of professional identity co-crafting, that breaks new theoretical ground by exploring inter-personal identity relationships and the nature of the secure base structure between two people as underpinning these dynamics.

    Mar 1, 2016 JP Ferguson - Stanford Graduate School of Business Joint OS/IWER Seminar
    Feb 18, 2016 Sarah Brayne - Microsoft Research

    Joint OS/IWER Seminar

    The Promise of Prediction: Policing in the Age of Big Data

    Abstract: In the wake of 9/11, federal agencies provided considerable funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to collect, analyze, share and deploy a wide range of new data. Increasingly, local law enforcement agencies recognized these data could be useful for their own surveillance activities. The rise of “big data” raises a host questions about its implications for surveillance, organizations and inequality. In my research, I analyze the use of big data within the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). I draw on observational and interview data collected from fieldwork with various area and specialized divisions, a crime analysis center, a multi-agency intelligence center, and a software company in order to offer an on the ground account of how the police use big data. I analyze to what extent the adoption of new analytic technologies transforms police patrol, investigative, and analytic practices. I also examine how the police themselves respond to changes in organizational practice associated with big data analytics.

    Feb 4, 2016 Community Lunch
    Nov 19, 2015 Nancy Rothbard - The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania

    Mandatory Fun: Consent, Gamification and the Impact of Games at Work

    In an effort to create a positive experience at work, managers have deployed a wide range of initiatives and practices designed to improve the affective experience for workers. One such practice is gamification, introducing elements from games into the work environment with the purpose of improving employees’ affective experiences. Games have long been played at work, but they have emerged spontaneously from the employees themselves. Here, we examine whether managerially-imposed games provide the desired benefits for affect and performance predicted by prior studies on games at work or whether they are a form of “mandatory fun.” We highlight the role of consent (Burawoy 1979) as a response to mandatory fun, which moderates these relationships and, in a field experiment, find that games, when consented to, increase positive affect at work, but, when consent is lacking, decrease positive affect. In a follow up laboratory experiment, we also find that legitimation and a sense of individual agency are important sources of consent.

    Nov 5, 2015 Lauren Rivera - Northwestern Kellogg School of Management

    Class Advantage, Commitment Penalty: The Interplay of Social Class and Gender in an Elite Labor Market

    Abstract:Research on the mechanisms that produce social class advantages in the United States has focused primarily on formal schooling and paid less attention to labor market mechanisms, such as social class discrimination in employment. We conducted a résumé audit study to examine the effect of social class signals on entry into elite American law firms. We sent applications from fictitious students at selective but non-elite law schools to 316 large law firm offices in fourteen cities, randomly assigning indicators of social class background and gender to otherwise identical résumés. Results show that higher-class male applicants received significantly more callbacks than higher-class women, lower-class women, and lower-class men. A follow-up survey experiment exploring potential mechanisms suggests that, relative to lower-class applicants, higher-class candidates are seen as better fits with the elite culture and clientele of large law firms. But, while higher-class men receive a corresponding overall boost in evaluations, higher-class women do not because they face a competing, negative stereotype portraying them as less committed to full-time, intensive careers. This commitment penalty faced by higher-class women seems to offset class-based advantages these applicants may receive in evaluations. Our results highlight a powerful interplay between social class and gender in elite hiring.

    Oct 15, 2015 Tiziana Casciaro - Rotman School of Management

    Why Connect? Moral Consequences of Networking Motives

    Networks are a key source of social capital for achieving goals in professional and personal settings. Yet, despite the benefits of having an extensive network, individuals often shy away from the opportunity to create new connections, because engaging in instrumental networking makes them feel inauthentic and physically dirty. In this paper, we explore how the motives people have when engaging in networking can reduce these feelings and lead people to network more often, with beneficial effects on their performance. Using three laboratory studies and field data from a survey study of lawyers at a large North American business law firm, we examine how self-regulatory focus, in the form of promotion and prevention, affects people’s experience and outcomes when networking. Our findings show that promotion focus is beneficial to professional networking. People who are motivated to network professionally for the growth, advancement, and accomplishment networking can bring them (i.e., those with a promotion focus) experience decreased feelings of dirtiness as compared to those who are motivated to network to meet one’s professional duties and responsibilities (i.e., those with a prevention focus). As a result, networking with a promotion focus increases the frequency of instrumental networking as compared to networking with a prevention focus, with beneficial consequences for one’s performance.

    Sept 17, 2015 Nir Halevy - Stanford Graduate School of Business

    The Calculus of Peacemaking

    Third-parties have acted as peacemakers since the dawn of history. However, little is known about the causes and consequences of voluntary, informal third-party intervention in conflict. Eleven experiments investigated when, why, and how third-parties intervene in others’ conflicts, transform them, and promote cooperation. Overall, this program of research finds that: (a) The mere possibility of third-party intervention is sufficient to increase cooperation among disputants; (b) Third-parties’ willingness to intervene critically depends on their ability to secure gains and avoid costs to themselves; (c) The positive effects of introducing third-party intervention are evident even following a history of conflict; and (d) persist even after the third-party leaves; (e) higher-ranking group members are more likely to intervene in others’ conflicts, an effect mediated by power holders’ heightened approach tendencies. Taken together, these findings highlight the potential benefits of constructively engaging third-parties in conflict.

    May 7, 2015 Lori Yue - USC Marshall School of Business

    Community Constraints on the Efficacy of Elite Mobilization: The Issuance of Currency Substitutes During the Panic of 1907

    Abstract: Organizing collective action to secure support from local communities provides a source of power for elites to protect their interests, but community structures constrain the ability of elites to use this power. I argue that elites are not necessarily a dominant group that shapes the order of a field, but may be just one element in several larger fields. Elites’ power is not static or self-perpetuating but changing and dynamic. There are situations in which elites are forced into movement-like struggles to mobilize support from their community. The success of elites’ mobilization is affected by cultural and structural factors that shape the collective meaning of supporting elites’ actions and the identities that are formed in doing so. I find broad support for these propositions in a study of the issuances of small denomination currency substitutes in 145 U.S. cities during the Panic of 1907.Small denomination currency substitutes were more likely to be issued in places where elite cohesion was high, economic inequality was low, religious homogeneity was high, and more neighboring communities had adopted currency substitutes. I discuss the contributions of this paper to elite studies, the social movement literature, and the sociology of money.

    Apr 30, 2015 David Rand - Yale University

    Habits of Virtue and the Role of Social Heuristics in Human Cooperation

    Abstract: Why do people cooperate? A central explanation involves institutional structures that make cooperation long-run payoff maximizing (e.g. repeated interactions, reputation systems, institutional punishments, etc). But why do people cooperate even in one-shot anonymous interactions, where no such future consequences exist? As a theoretical framework for answering this question, I have proposed the “Social Heuristics Hypothesis,” which integrates theories of cultural evolution and norm internalization with dual process theories of decision making: I argue that people internalize typically successful behaviors as intuitive heuristics for social interaction. Deliberation can then shift our behavior toward what is most advantageous is the specific situation we face at any given time. Because most of our important interactions (e.g. those with our co-workers, friends, and family) are long-term rather than anonymous and one-shot, I argue that we intuitively apply a ‘future consequences’ heuristic: our intuitions support strategies which are payoff-maximizing in repeated interactions. In this talk, I will present this theoretical framework, and then test its predictions with a series of economic game experiments that use a dual process framework to investigate the cognitive basis of cooperation and punishment. In these experiments, we first immerse subjects in environments that do or do not support cooperation using repeated Prisoner’s Dilemmas. Afterwards, we measure their intrinsic prosociality in one-shot games. Subjects from environments that support cooperation are more prosocial, more likely to punish selfishness, and more generally trusting. Furthermore, these effects are most pronounced among subjects who use heuristics, suggesting that intuitive processes play a key role in the spillovers we observe. Our findings help to explain variation in one-shot anonymous cooperation, linking this intrinsically motivated prosociality to the externally imposed institutional rules experienced in other settings.

    Apr 23, 2015 Denise Lewin Loyd - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Unkind to Two of a Kind: Stereotyping of Duos in a Work Group

    Abstract: We examine stereotyping of members of minority social categories when there are one, two, or three of them in a group. Drawing on social cognitive theories of impression formation and entitativity, we propose that majority group members evaluate minority group members more stereotypically when there are two members of the minority than when there are one or three. Studies 1 and 2 were online experiments. In Study 1, men evaluated a female group member more stereotypically when she was one of two women in a group, compared to when she was the only woman or one of three. In Study 2, Whites evaluated a Black man more stereotypically when he was one of two Blacks in a group, compared to when he was the only Black. In Study 3, men in interacting groups evaluated their female peers more stereotypically (as exhibiting less leadership) when there were two women in their group than when there were one or three. The results shed light on duo status, being one of exactly two members of a minority social category in a group, and on critical mass, the smallest number of category members in a small group required to reduce stereotyping by the majority. 

    Apr 9, 2015 Maxim Sytch - Ross School of Business

    Caveat Emptor: Too Close to the Lawyers’ Den

    Abstract: In contrast to prior research that focused on the benefits of co-location with suppliers, this study explores how the spatial co-location of organizations and specialist suppliers can be an economic constraint. Specifically, I offer an account of lawyer-induced demand, one in which lawyers do not just follow the demand for legal services, but also help generate that demand and therefore increase the levels of companies’ litigiousness. Proximity is hypothesized to increase opportunities for formal and informal contact among lawyers and potential plaintiffs. Under substantial information asymmetries and discrepant incentives, this contact, in turn, increases both the frequency and length of lawsuits. Notably, the presence and involvement of proximate lawyers and the concomitant increase in companies’ litigiousness do not lead to legal success; instead, they frequently result in legal losses. The effect of lawyer influence is prevalent for companies located in more uncertain legal environments, where lawyers acquire greater expert control due to their abilities to mitigate high levels of legal uncertainty. This study’s context is the patterns of spatial distribution of 405 U.S. biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, the population of 365 intellectual property law firms, and the latter’s 2,255 U.S. regional offices. It relates these patterns to the companies’ involvement in patent infringement lawsuits from 1999 to2006. In addition, this study uses evidence from 43 semi-structured interviews with executives and legal practitioners.



    Apr 2, 2015 Paul Ingram - Columbia Business School

    The Cultural Contingency of Structure: Evidence from Entry to the Slave Trade in and Around the Abolition Movement

    Paul Ingram and Brian Silverman February 3, 2015

    Abstract: We argue that familiar economic effects of social structure are dependent on culture and that they must be understood in their cultural context. We demonstrate this fact with an analysis of the Liverpool slave trade. We compare structural effects in an era of “fragmented culture,” during which anti-slaving values were present but subordinate to others, to those in the heat of the abolition movement, during which anti-slaving sentiment was widely and strongly held. We show that network connections to both slavers and non-slavers mattered much more for predicting entry into the slave trade when abolitionist culture had taken hold compared to the fragmented cultural era. We also find that non-slavers are advantaged over slavers in terms of social influence during the abolition era compared to the fragmented era, a change we attribute to the cultural hole that the abolition movement creates between slavers and non-slavers. Similarly, the status of a potential slaver matters much more during the abolition era, as the emergent clarity of norms against slaving constrain high-status traders less than middle-status traders. We present advice to network and status theorists as to how they can reflect cultural contingency even in studies conducted in stable cultural contexts, thereby creating a more integrated and robust economic sociology. The case also allows us to examine an understudied aspect of social movement impact, affecting individuals through cultural change.

    Mar 12, 2015 Giacomo Negro - Goizueta Business School

    Observational and Experimental Evidence of Imbalance in Destigmatization

    Abstract: Stigma has broad reach in society – it directly affects people who are targeted, and harms even those who are merely associated. But stigma also can change. Some groups now have better standing than in years past (e.g., HIV patients, disabled persons, gays and lesbians). With destigmatization, those who were directly stigmatized ought to no longer experience disadvantages. However, the consequences for the stigmatized by association are less obvious. We suggest that the changes in perceptions linked to destigmatization are imbalanced: The once-stigmatized group is rehabilitated but the mere associates of the stigmatized will continue to experience the damage done by stigma. We find evidence of imbalance using data from observational and experimental studies. The observational study examines careers of film artists during and after the “Red Scare” in Hollywood. We find that in the post-blacklist period (compared to the blacklist period), blacklisted artists were more likely to work than their pre-stigma coworkers (the “mere associates”). The experimental study shows that being gay (vs. straight) had a stronger negative effect on current liking of a man’s randomly assigned college roommate than it did on the gay man himself. This suggests that the stigma associated with homosexuality has reduced while the stigma of associating with a gay person has not.

    Feb 26, 2015 George Loewenstein - Carnegie Mellon University

    Do Employees Make Sensible Health Plan Decisions? Evidence from a Menu with Dominated Options

    With Saurabh Bhargava and Justin Sydnor

    Abstract: The economic rationale underlying the recent expansion in health plan choice presumes that individuals rationally choose from the complicated options available. We test this presumption by assessing the quality of over 50,000 health insurance decisions from a U.S. Firm which permitted employees to “build” their own plans from a standardized menu that included a large share of financially dominated plan options. The menu offers a unique litmus test for evaluating choice in that no set of standard risk preferences or beliefs regarding future health can rationalize enrollment into these dominated plans. Our central finding is that a majority of employees choose dominated options, resulting in excess spending equivalent to an average of 42% of the annual plan premium. Employees fail to improve plan choice over time, and older workers, women, the chronically ill, and those earning low incomes were disproportionately likely to make costly errors in choice suggesting potentially large welfare transfers between enrollees. A series of hypothetical choice experiments indicate that while search and menu complexity may have modestly contributed to poor choice, most participants prefer dominated plans even with simple menus and a small set of options. The studies point to widespread deficits in health literacy and suggest that plan selection is consistent with a heuristic choice strategy whereby individuals sort into available plans based on the relative cost of plan premiums and beliefs about relative health, rather than a careful comparison of the financial value of such plans. The observed choices, and suggested mechanism, present a serious methodological critique to the standard practice of inferring risk from insurance choices, and raises doubts as to whether recent reform will deliver on its promised benefits.

    Feb 12, 2015 Gino Cattani – NYU Stern School of Business

    The Social Structure of Recognition: An Audience Perspective on Cultural Consecration

    Abstract: Building on sociological research that emphasizes the influence of social structural conditions on the allocation of symbolic capital, we argue that the consecration of cultural producers’ work in award ceremonies is a function of their social distance from the audience members who evaluate them. Specifically, we show how interpersonal relationships are a central mechanism in the allocation of symbolic capital. We hypothesize that social proximity is likely to elicit more favorable evaluations of cultural producers’ work. We further demonstrate that social proximity negatively moderates the effect of status on the likelihood of being consecrated. We find support for both effects within the context of the Norwegian advertising industry by looking at all advertising projects that competed in “The Silver Tag” – one of the main digital advertising competitions in Norway–during the period 2003-2010. These findings expose the economic conversion value of social proximity and uncover the interplay between social distance and status on the (mis)allocation of symbolic capital.


    Feb 5, 2015 Michelle Duguid - Olin Business School

    Consequences of Value Threat: The Influence of Helping Women on Female Solos’ Preference for Female Candidates.

    Abstract: There is an assumption that women into organizations’ high-status groups will be instrumental in the further diversification of their group. However, research has demonstrated that women, who are often sole representatives of their gender in high-status groups (solos), may discriminate against female candidates trying to gain membership. Therefore, management may look to female incumbents who have voluntarily helped other women in the past. However, female solos who help other women may actually choose to abdicate the opportunity to select female candidates. I show that female solos who chose to help another woman selected a male candidate over an equally-qualified female candidate more often than female solos who did not have the option to help other women. Moreover, regardless of volunteering or not having the option to help, male solos preferred a male candidate. Value threat (concerned about being seen as valuable members of their work group ) was shown to underlie female solos decision to abdicate the opportunity to select a female candidate. In contexts, however, where women experience less value threat such as when they were majority group members or when they did feel valued by their work group they were less likely to discriminate against a female candidate.

    Dec 4, 2014 Lisa Cohen Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior - McGill Desautels
    Nov 20, 2014 Erik Duhaime Ph.D. Candidate – MIT Sloan School of Management
    Nov 13, 2014 Amy Wrzesniewski Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior - Yale School of Management
    Nov 5, 2014 Lee Fleming (Joint Seminar with Economic Sociology - Wed 4:00 PM) Professor - Industrial Engineering and Operations Reserach, UC Berkeley
    Oct 30, 2014 Kim Elsbach Associate Dean and Professor of Organizational Behavior - UC Davis Graduate School of Management
    Oct 16, 2014 Paula Jarzabkowski Profesor in Strategic Management - Cass Business School, City University of London
    Oct 2, 2014 Noah Goldstein Associate Professor of Management and Organizations - UCLA Anderson School of Management
    Sep 25, 2014 Nicole M. Stephens, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Unseen Disadvantage: The American University Culture of Independence Undermines First-Generation College Students
    May 8, 2014 The Effects of Peripheral but Self-revealing Similarities on Improving and Sustaining Interracial Relationships Joe Magee, NYU Wagner
    April 10, 2014 The Decline of Whiteness and the Rise of the Tea Party Robb Willer, Stanford
    Mar 20, 2014 Fates of Cooperative and Mutual Enterprise Systems in the Neoliberal Era: Mutual Banks, Community and Conversions to Stock Corporations in the US Marc Schneiberg, Reed College
    Mar 6, 2014 The Work-Family Narrative as a Social Defense: Explaining the Persistence of Gender Inequality in Organizations Robin Ely, Harvard Business School
    Feb 13, 2014 Capability Erosion Dynamics Dr. Hazhir Rahmandad, Virginia Tech
    Dec 5, 2013 Emily Truelove, PhD Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Nov 21, 2013 Interdisciplinarity in Practice: A Case of a Nanotechnology Research Center Sarah Kaplan, Rotman School of Management
    Nov 14, 2013 Being Seen and Going Unnoticed: Reconceptualizing Workers as Actors of Surveillance Michel Anteby, Harvard Business School
    Nov 7, 2013 Trust Under Fire: The Social Construction of Trustworthiness Among Firefighters Michael Pratt, Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics; Boston College Carroll School of Management
    Oct 31, 2013 Stress and leadership: Studies of testosterone and cortisol in elite government and military leaders Jennifer S. Lerner, Harvard Kennedy School
    Oct 17, 2013 Standards Bearers: Engineers and the Industrial Standardization Movement 1900-Present JoAnne Yates, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Oct 3, 2013 Measuring the Pulse of an Organization Modupe Akinola, MLK Visiting Scholar, MIT Sloan School of Management; Columbia Business School
    Sep 19, 2013 Stretch Goals and Distribution of Performance John Sterman, MIT Sloan School of Management
    May 16, 2013 Ambiguity Squared: Growing a New Business in a Nascent Industry Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School
    Apr 11, 2013 Routines, Disruption and the Experience of Time - Martha Feldman, UC Irvine
    Mar 14, 2013 Organizational Culture and Performance in High-Technology Firms: The Effects of Culture Content and Strength Jenny Chatman, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business
    Mar 7, 2013 The Fund Manager – Value Revolution: How Institutional Investors Rewrote Shareholder Value Frank Dobbin, Harvard University
    Dec 6, 2012 Maja Tampe, PhD Candidate, OSG Group, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Nov 29, 2012 DNA Envy, Objectivity, and the Legitimacy of Forensic Science Work Beth Bechky, UC Davis, Graduate School of Management
    Nov 8, 2012 Breaking Them In or Revealing Their Best? Reframing Socialization Around Newcomer Self Expression Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School
    Nov 1, 2012 Institutionalized Skepticism and the Construction of Trustworthiness Carol Heimer, Northwestern University, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
    Nov 1, 2012 Broker Networks as a Market Valve: Network Dynamics Associated with Sell Pressure Faced by Trading Partners in Upstairs Stock Markets Ken Frank, Michigan State University
    Oct 11, 2012 A Cost of High Trust: Opportunistic (and Disproportionate) Deceit Toward Female Negotiators Laura Kray, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business
    Oct 4, 2012 Taken or Granted? Social Capital, Narcissism, and Agency Brian Rubineau, Cornell University, ILR School
    Sep 20, 2012 The Limits of Hierarchy: When Upward Lobbying Can Hurt Inter-Group Knowledge Acquisition in Organizations Henrik Bresman, INSEAD
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  • IWER Seminars
  • Date Event
    Dec 9, 2014 Jared Curhan (MIT)
    Dec 2, 2014 Lisa Cohen (McGill University) No seminar on Tuesday—special IWER/OSG Seminar on Thurs., Dec 4
    Nov 25, 2014 Ben Rissing (Brown University)
    Nov 18, 2014 John McCarthy (MIT & Rutgers University)
    Oct 28, 2014 Peter Turnbull (Cardiff University) Can Labor Arrest the ‘Sky Pirates’? International Trade Unionism in the European Civil Aviation Industry
    Oct 21, 2014 Eileen Appelbaum (Center for Economic and Policy Research) & Rosemary Batt (Cornell University) How Private Equity Firms Manage Labor and Employment Relations
    Oct 7, 2014 Nicholas Ashford (MIT) The Employment Crisis and Reconciliation with Environmental and Financial Sustainability
    Sep 30, 2014 Andrew Weaver (MIT) Skill Demands and Mismatch in U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence and Implications
    Sep 23, 2014 Mark Bray & Johanna MacNeil (The University of New Castle) Third-party Facilitators in Interest-based Negotiation: An Australian Case Study
    May 13, 2014 New Scars for the New Economy? Gender and the Consequences of Non-Standard Employment Histories David Pedula, Princeton
    May 6, 2014 Carl Vanhorn, Rutgers
    Apr 29, 2014 Including Outsiders: Social Policy Expansion in Latin America Candelaria Garay, Harvard Kennedy School
    Apr 15, 2014 Language and Prejudice: The “Invisible Hand” of Gender Bias in Modern Organizations, Special Guest, Eve Sage Gavin, Former Executive VP of HR for the Gap Hye Jin Rho, PhD Candidate, IWER Group, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Apr 8, 2014 Global Value Chains and Upgrading: New Challenges and Opportunities for Large and Small Developing Economies Gary Gereffi, Duke
    Apr 1, 2014 Changes in Adolescent Employment in the United States, 1870-2010 Eric Edmonds, Dartmouth
    Mar 11, 2014 The Jobless Trap Rand Ghayad, Northeastern
    Mar 4, 2014 Workers who organize in the public square: A comparison of Mexican and U.S. organizing models Chris Tilly, UCLA
    Feb 25, 2014 Putting Data to Work for Workers: The Role of Information Technology in U.S. Worker Protection Agencies Alison Morantz, Stanford
    Feb 11, 2014 Visible Hands: Government Regulation of Corporate Social Responsibility in Global Business Jete Knudson, University of Cophenhagen
    Feb 4, 2014 The Apostles of Development in Guatemala… and an extension to Nicaragua Alberto Fuentes, PhD Candidate, IWER Group, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Dec 10, 2013 Is there an Efficiency Case for International Labor Standards? Drusilla Brown, Tufts University
    Dec 3, 2013 Contract Professionals in Precarious Times: An Implicit Critique of the Standard Job Debra Osnowitz, Clark University
    Nov 26, 2013 Impact of Contracting on Occupational Injuries and Fatalities in Underground Coal Mining Marric Buessing, Boston University
    Nov 19, 2013 The State as Partner: Why and How International NGOs Bring the State Back In (and the Implications for Labor) Tamara Kay, Harvard University
    Nov 12, 2013 Slight Expectations: Working-Class Youth and the Transition to Adulthood? Jennifer Silva, Harvard Kennedy School
    Nov 5, 2013 The Exit Zero Project: A Transmedia Exploration of Deindustrialization and Social Class in Chicago. Christine Walley, MIT
    Oct 29, 2013 What Shapes the Gatekeepers? Evidence from Global Supply Chain Auditors Michael Toffel, Harvard Business School & Jodi Short, UC Hastings College of Law
    Oct 22, 2013 Assessing the Job Polarization Explanation of Growing Wage Inequality. Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
    Oct 8, 2013 A New Deal for China’s Workers? Reform in the Wake of Labor Unrest, and What It Tells Us About China and Its Future. Cynthia Estlund, New York University Law School
    Oct 1, 2013 Whose interests are being served? Owners, Employees, and the Fraying Employment Relationship Adam Cobb, University of Pennsylvania
    Sep 24, 2013 Skills and Skill Gaps in Manufacturing: Evidence and Implications. Andrew Weaver, PhD Candidate, IWER Group, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Sep 17, 2013 Choosing Meaning over Money? Evidence from a Field Audit Study with Handicraft Artisans in Southern India. Aruna Ranganathan, PhD Candidate, IWER Group, MIT Sloan School of Management
    May 7, 2013 Protective Regulation in Developing Countries: From Constraints to Possibilities Matt Amengual, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Apr 30, 2013 Why Do Racial Slurs Remain Prevalent in the Workplace? Integrating Theory on Intergroup Behavior Ashleigh Rosette, Duke University
    Apr 23, 2013 Backstage is Mainstage: The Emergence of Solidarity through Performances on the Picket Line Ruthanne Huising, McGill University
    Apr 9, 2013 The Effects of Opportunities and Founder Experience on New Firm Performance John C. Dencker, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Apr 2, 2013 Coming with Baggage: Past Rejections and Future Relationships in Executive Search Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, London Business School
    Mar 19, 2013 Susan Silbey, MIT
    Mar 12, 2013 The Value of Citizenship: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design Jens Jainmueller, MIT Political Science
    Mar 5, 2013 The Collapse of the American Corporation and the Challenges Ahead Jerry Davis, University of Michigan
    Feb 26, 2013 Identifying Effective Teaching using Performance on the Job Thomas Kane, Harvard University
    Dec 11, 2012 Bruce Western, Harvard University
    Dec 4, 2012 Your Paper Has Been Outsourced: How Academic Publishers Use Global Supply Chains to Streamline Science Jeff Sallaz, University of Arizona
    Nov 27, 2012 Economic Development and Sectorial Unions in China: The Cases of Guangdong and Zhejiang Eli Freidman, Cornell University
    Nov 20, 2012 Employer-Provided Retirement Plans and Employee Mobility Colleen Flaherty Manchester, University of Minnesota
    Nov 13, 2012 Is College Still Worth It? A California Story Frank Levy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Nov 6, 2012 Kathleen Thelen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Oct 30, 2012 Upgrading Under Volatility in Global Economy Hiram Samel, PhD Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Oct 23, 2012 Immigration, Inequality, and the State Benjamin Rissing, PhD Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Oct 16, 2012 Ezra Zuckerman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Oct 2, 2012 Why Don’t Managers Get What they Want?: The Dynamics of Racial Turnover in an Industrial Organization Laura Lopez-Sanders, University of California – Berkeley
    Sept 25, 2012 Changing Workplaces to Reduce Work-Family Conflict: Early Evidence from the Work, Family and Health Study Erin Kelly, University of Minnesota
    Sept 18, 2012 Alan Benson, PhD Candidate, MIT Sloan School of Management
    Sept 1, 2012 Welcome Back Round Table Session
    No events found.