Spring 2022

This sampling of recent research from Carroll School faculty includes papers appearing in leading academic journals across management disciplines. Among them: Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, Administrative Science, MIT Sloan Management Review, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, The Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. This page is part of the latest edition of Carroll Capital.

Faculty Research

How can professionals embody their own values when working with clients who have differing values? In “The Role of Discernment and Modulation in Enacting Occupational Values: How Career Advising Professionals Navigate Tensions with Clients,” published in the Academy of Management Journal, Assistant Professor of Management and Organization Curtis Chan studied how undergraduate business school career advisers discerned student values and then masked, moderated, or magnified their own values in response. The strategies allowed advisors to uphold their professional “jurisdictional control” when facing students who exhibit contrasting values, as well as those with unclear or congruent values. Luke Hedden, a Ph.D. candidate in Organization Studies at the Carroll School of Management, co-authored the paper.

Professor Jiří Chod

Professor of Business Analytics and Michael A. Gooch Family Faculty Fellow Jiří Chod

“Resource flexibility” is one of the best-known concepts in business operations, and yet, it’s “underappreciated.” Professor and Michael A. Gooch Family Faculty Fellow Jiří Chod (Business Analytics) and two co-authors reveal a previously unknown benefit in a paper titled “On the Learning Benefits of Resource Flexibility,” published in Management Science. “We establish that resource flexibility facilitates learning the demand when the latter is censored, which could, in turn, enable firms to make better-informed future operational decisions, thereby increasing profitability,” says the paper co-authored with Mihalis Markakis of IESE Business School and Nikolaos Trichakis of MIT Sloan School of Management.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many gig workers in low-paying, customer-facing jobs were expected to not only be available, but to also take on additional physical risk. Management and Organization Assistant Professor Vanessa Conzon, along with Lindsey Cameron from the University of Pennsylvania and Bobbi Thomason from Pepperdine University, examine how TaskRabbit workers in particular managed these expectations. The paper, “Risky business: Gig workers and the navigation of ideal worker expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” appears in the Journal of Applied Psychology. I/O At Work, in partnership with the Journal of Applied Psychology, and Knowledge@Wharton have also published articles highlighting and summarizing Conzon’s paper for a wider audience. “Willingness to take on physical risk during the pandemic became an important quality for gig workers,” I/O At Work noted, indicating that a hesitation to do so often led to unfavorable customer reviews, which may jeopardize the chances of finding future work.

Can art lend meaning to life? Associate Professor of Marketing Henrik Hagtvedt, and Kathleen Vohs from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, explored this question in the paper “Viewing challenging art lends meaning to life by stimulating integrative complexity” at The Journal of Positive Psychology. The authors studied low art (familiar objects presented in a simple way) and high art (the same objects presented in a more complex way). They found that viewing high art can elevate the sense of life’s meaningfulness, whereas viewing low art can boost the sense of life's happiness.

Senior Lecturer Drew Hession-Kunz (Finance) has contributed a chapter to a book on global intellectual property to be published this year by Wolters Kluwer on behalf of the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General. Practical Guide to Successful Intellectual Property Valuation and Transactions will include his chapter on financial methods and tools used in IP valuation.   

Associate Professor of Business Analytics and William S. McKiernan Family Faculty Fellow Tingliang Huang, along with Onesun Steve Yoo and Kenan Arifoğlu of University College London, examine the build-test-learn cycle of the Lean Start-up Method (LSM) in their paper “A Theoretical Analysis of the Lean Start-up Method” published in Marketing Science. The paper analyzes the ideal outcomes of an optimal test product and the market conditions for which the LSM is most effective.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Megan Hunter

Assistant Professor of Marketing Megan Hunter

Assistant Professor of Marketing Megan Hunter, along with Jessica Fong from the University of Michigan, explores how a consumer’s financial health is affected by their awareness of their own credit score. In their paper, “Can Facing the Truth Improve Outcomes? Effects of Information in Consumer Finance,” published in Marketing Science, the authors examined data from a consumer finance platform. They found that a decline in someone’s credit score lowers the chance that the person will view his or her credit report in the future. Additionally, among those highly likely to avoid the information, credit scores dropped further when they eventually viewed their credit report. The opposite was true for those less likely to avoid the information: their scores increased when they viewed information. (The opposite was true for those less likely to avoid the information: their scores increased when they viewed information.) The results of the study were “surprising,” Hunter said in recent coverage by BC News.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation for many organizations globally and brought with it the need for “digital heroes,” or leaders who can help drive this behavioral and cultural change. In the first installment of a research initiative that examines how organizations successfully implement digital transformation, Information Systems Professor Gerald Kane highlights traits such as tenacity, curiosity, and vision that these leaders must possess to successfully drive innovation. Additionally, Kane and his Information Systems colleague, Assistant Professor Mike Teodorescu, highlight the complexity of managing fairness in machine learning systems. They wrote that paper, “Do the Ends Justify the Means? Variation in the Distributive and Procedural Fairness of Machine Learning Algorithms,” for the Journal of Business Ethics, together with co-authors Lily Morse from West Virginia University and Yazeed Awwad from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Despite recent advances in machine learning methods to eliminate unfairness from algorithmic decision making (about such matters as who should be hired or given a loan), questions remain as to the fairness of these criteria and when organizations should use them.

Assistant Professor of Information Systems Zhuoxin (Allen) Li co-wrote the paper  “Matching Returning Donors to Projects on Philanthropic Crowdfunding Platforms” in Management Science with Yicheng Song from the University of Minnesota and Nachiketa Sahoo from Boston University. The authors propose a new approach to maximize funding on philanthropic crowdfunding platforms. Using data from DonorsChoose.org—the largest crowdfunding platform for K–12 education—the researchers find that when compared with popular personalized recommendation approaches, their proposed model more accurately identifies the projects that donors would like to support when they return in a future period. The model also helps identify how much they would donate.

Peter F. Drucker Chair in Management Sciences Alicia Munnell and co-author Anthony Webb estimate the impact of 401(k) and IRA “leakages” on wealth at retirement, in their recent paper published in the Journal of Retirement. The authors use two data sets—the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Survey of Income and Program Participation—to estimate the effect of these premature distributions on eventual retirement savings. Munnell is also the director of Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, where she has produced multiple working papers and issues briefings in recent months.

Diane Harkins Coughlin and Christopher J. Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor of Marketing Hristina Nikolova

Diane Harkins Coughlin and Christopher J. Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor of Marketing Hristina Nikolova

What happens after couples accomplish shared goals? Assistant Professor Hristina Nikolova and Associate Professor Gergana Nenkov, both in the Marketing Department, examine the question in their paper, "We Succeeded Together, Now What: Relationship Power and Sequential Decisions in Couples’ Joint Goal Pursuits," forthcoming from the Journal of Marketing Research. The professors conducted five experiments with both lab-created couples and married participants, while collecting financial data from a money management mobile app geared to couples. The outcomes demonstrated that after reaching a joint goal, couples with one member who has “higher relationship power” (that is, the upper hand in the relationship) are more likely to pursue their own individual goals. This compares to other couples who have roughly equal power and influence on decision making; they stay engaged with the joint pursuit. The authors also share two easily implementable solutions for couples when one of the two has higher relationship power. Nikolova is the Diane Harkins Coughlin and Christopher J. Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor.

Building on research that shows conservatives are less likely to complain about the products and services they consume, Associate Professor of Marketing and Hillenbrand Faculty Fellow Nailya Ordabayeva further examines how political identity influences customer satisfaction and the implications for customers and firms. Her paper, “How Political Identity Shapes Customer Satisfaction,” was published in the Journal of Marketing and co-authored  with Daniel Fernandes of the Catholic University of Portugal, Kyuhong Han of Korea University, Jihye Jung of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Vikas Mittal of Rice University. Also published in the Journal of Marketing was Ordabayeva’s paper “The Upside of Negative: Social Distance in Online Reviews of Identity-Relevant Brands”—written with Lisa A. Cavanaugh and Darren W. Dahl, both from the University of British Columbia. The authors explore how negative reviews of an identity-relevant brand can pose a threat to a customer’s identity, leading customers to actually strengthen their relationship with the brand. 

Artificial intelligence is a financial asset to many companies, but it can also be a key to team efficiency and organizational culture, according to the report, “The Cultural Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise,” whose lead author is Professor of Information Systems Sam Ransbotham. Published in MIT Sloan Management Review, the study analyzed the results of a global survey that included responses from nearly 2,200 managers and interviews with 18 executives. The authors found that AI benefited companies not only financially but also culturally by improving team morale and collaboration. Co-authoring the study with Ransbotham were Boston Consulting Group (BCG) senior partner and managing director François Candelon, MIT Sloan Management Review editorial director David Kiron, BCG senior partner and managing director Shervin Khodabandeh, and BCG partner and managing director Burt LaFountain.

A new book, Handbook of Research on Creativity and Innovation, co-edited by Management and Organization Associate Professor and Hillenbrand Family Faculty Fellow Bess Rouse, explores the connections between social interaction and innovation, and whether improved team culture can lead to more creativity. The book includes a chapter by Rouse and Michael Pratt, O'Connor Family Professor of Management and Organization, titled "Using qualitative methods to generate divergence in creativity theory,” which explores the ways in which qualitative research methodologies may benefit different types of creativity research.

Haub Family Professor of Finance Ronnie Sadka

Haub Family Professor of Finance Ronnie Sadka

How did Covid-19-related lockdowns influence the stock market? In their paper, "Flattening the Illiquidity Curve: Retail Trading During the COVID-19 Lockdown," forthcoming from the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Haub Family Professor of Finance Ronnie Sadka and colleagues detail a sharp increase in retail trading (partly related to COVID-19 media coverage), which improved stock liquidity around spring 2020. The authors cite fintech innovations on trading platforms and more free time as reasons for the increase in participation. Sadka wrote the paper with Gideon Ozik from the EDHEC Business School and Siyi Shen from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Assistant Professor of Finance Nancy R. Xu and co-authors have developed a new measure of time-varying risk aversion (relating to how much people are willing to pay to avoid risk). The paper, “The Time Variation in Risk Appetite and Uncertainty,” was published in Management Science and co-authored with Geert Bekaert from Columbia University and Eric Engstrom from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The model demonstrates that there are large fluctuations in U.S. investor risk aversion as revealed in capital markets. That aversion has peaked during bad economic times such as the 2007-2008 financial crisis, recent COVID outbreaks, and geopolitical tensions such as the current Russia-Ukraine crisis. A plot illustrating the point is available at Xu's website.

Associate Professor Tieying Yu

Management and Organization Associate Professor Tieying Yu

Using data from the U.S. domestic airline industry, Management and Organization Associate Professor Tieying Yu examines how strategic alliances between competitors affect competitive price wars. She conducted research on the subject with Javier Gimeno from INSEAD, as well as Wei Guo and Yu Zhang, both from the China Europe International Business School. Their paper, “Glue or Gasoline? The Role of Interorganizational Linkages in the Occurrence and Spillover of Competitive Wars,” in the Academy of Management Journal, aims to fill gaps in strategy literature (which has paid relatively little attention to competitive price wars).

In the News

Andy Boynton, the John and Linda Powers Family Dean of the Carroll School of Management, explores Stephen Spielberg’s recent film adaptation of West Side Story in Forbes. Boynton and co-author Bill Fischer, Senior Lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and Emeritus Professor of Innovation Management at IMD, discuss the lasting legacy of the beloved musical, looking at the “virtuoso team” that created the original show. They explain why, despite the new adaptation's limited financial success at the box office due to changing media consumption habits, Spielberg himself "deserves our admiration for not shying away from big challenges, and not reinterpreting the original West Side Story materials in ways that make it unfamiliar, or less complex.” 

Despite inflation woes and supply chain issues, big companies are posting record profits. While some corporations may be passing the rising costs of doing business—plus a premium—to consumers, Accounting Professor and Chairperson Mark Bradshaw offered another perspective on this trend for Marketplace. Expanding on his quoted comments, Bradshaw explains that some criticism of the current growth in corporate profits misses the fact that the benchmark year-over-year growth is biased upwards because of the lockdown effect on many companies' profits in the previous year. Further, the recent surge of positive earnings owes in part to the fact that companies “typically will try to walk analysts’ expectations down so that they can beat expectations.” Thus, growth rates can be misleading, and they don’t always tell the whole story.

Assistant Professor Curtis Chan

Management and Organization Assistant Professor Curtis Chan

Management and Organization Assistant Professor Curtis Chan’s paper, “Task Segregation as a Mechanism for Within-job Inequality: Women and Men of the Transportation Security Administration,” was selected for a virtual special issue presented by Administrative Science Quarterly for women’s history month (titled "Documenting Novel Mechanisms of Gender Inequality: A Decade of Exemplary Research on Gender”). Chan’s research on this subject was also referenced in the WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast episode “How to Bust Bias at Work.”

Business Analytics Professor and Michael A. Gooch Family Faculty Fellow Jiří Chod’s paper on resource flexibility was recently spotlighted in Forbes. “Resource flexibility typically benefits the bottom line and reduces the censoring, or opacity, of demand trends,” wrote his co-author Mihalis Markakis.

You may have noticed more people picking and keeping friends based on shared political beliefs. ProMarket, a publication by the Stigler Center for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, featured a paper co-written by Associate Professor of Finance Vyacheslav Fos that reports on similar trends among C-level executives in large, public US corporations. Fos and his co-authors combined data on the top five earning executives in US S&P 1500 firms with information on party affiliations gathered from voter registration records. The rise in partisanship is explained by both an increasing share of Republican executives and increased sorting by partisan executives into firms with like-minded individuals. Further, the authors find that executives whose political views do not match those of the team's majority have a higher probability of leaving the firm. The increase in partisanship is taking place despite executive teams becoming more diverse along the lines of gender and race.

“Men are starting to realize that being a much more engaged parent is important for them,” explained Brad Harrington, associate research professor and executive director of Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, in an interview with Marketplace regarding Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s decision to take paternity leave. 

When it comes to supporting communities through entrepreneurship, Assistant Professor of Management and Organization Suntae Kim explained the value of “scaling deep”—growing slowly and becoming part of the local economy. Rather than concentrating on “scale-up strategies,” Kim’s eight-year investigation of 27 Detroit-based ventures in various early stages of development shows the value in community-centric plans for growth that leverage existing resources. The research suggests that government agencies and venture capitalist investors should focus less on achieving rapid financial success, and instead look for opportunities that uplift local economies. Co-authored by Anna Kim of McGill University, the article appeared in Harvard Business Review.

Are delivery fee caps for food delivery services such as Uber and DoorDash helping or hurting restaurants? An article published by Chamber of Progress cites research conducted by Assistant Professor of Information Systems Zhuoxin (Allen) Li. He has found that after fee caps were implemented by cities (ostensibly to help local establishments), national restaurant chains saw an increase in orders and in revenue, while the independent restaurants saw a decrease. 

Alicia Munnell

Director of the Boston College Center for Retirement Research Center and Peter F. Drucker Chair of Management Sciences Alicia Munnell

“85 percent of those working at 62 can work to 67, which means that the prescription to work longer is still useful advice for much of the population,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Boston College Center for Retirement Research Center and Peter F. Drucker Chair of Management Sciences. She made the comments in a Q&A on PharmExec.com about how to improve your long-term financial health through career sustainability. Munnell was also quoted by Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Marketplace, in addition to her MarketWatch blogs on the subject of retirement.

Associate Professor and Hillenbrand Family Faculty Fellow Nailya Ordabayeva’s work has attracted the interest of various media. That includes her research on status pivoting—a move to highlight one’s achievements in another field when you feel threatened by someone’s higher level of success or status—cited in articles for the BBC and Canvas8. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems’ blog featured Ordabayeva’s research on social perceptions and whether individuals seek more outside validation when they are making an individual decision or a decision for another person (and if COVID-19 has influenced these perceptions). In Marketing News, Ordabayeva and her co-authors draw on their research as to how political identity shapes customer satisfaction, discussing whether companies should change their customer satisfaction strategies based on customers’ political beliefs. 

Divorces over the age of 50 and “the motherhood penalty” are two factors Matthew Rutledge, a research fellow at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, discussed in a New York Times interview. The article, soberingly titled “Why Older Women Face Greater Financial Hardship than Older Men,” focused on how American women face an especially difficult path to a financially secure retirement.

Information Systems Professor Sam Ransbotham

Information Systems Professor Sam Ransbotham

Can implementing artificial intelligence within company structure help employees collaborate more effectively? Fortune cites the 2021 MIT Sloan Management Review-Boston Consulting Group research report on artificial intelligence, authored by Information Systems Professor Sam Ransbotham together with François Candelon, David Kiron, Burt LaFountain, and Shevin Khodabandeh. The report showed that more than 75 percent of managers who reported that their artificial intelligence implementations improved their team's decision-making and efficiency, also saw improvements in collective learning, team morale, and collaboration. A raft of additional media outlets covered the report’s findings, among them CIO AxisZD NetYahoo! FinanceChina.comAI MagazineIIA AnalyticsCIO Dive, and Forbes (Russia).

Rather than relying on episodic data or data from specific events like a sale or a shipment, businesses need to leverage interactive data pulled from users on digital platforms. In the Harvard Business Review, Associate Professor of Management and Organization Mohan Subramaniam explores how harnessing this real-time interactive data is increasingly feasible and essential.

California’s biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, is out of federal probation after five years, despite documented negligence during that time. Galligan Chair of Strategy and Professor of Management Sandra Waddock commented for Marketplace on how U.S. law shields corporations from some consequences of wrongdoing. Waddock is also a Carroll School Scholar of Corporate Responsibility.

Associate Professor of Management and Organization Tieying Yu’s paper on how strategic alliances between competitors may affect price wars was featured in INSEAD Knowledge as well as Academy of Management Insights. Yu and her co-authors analyzed data from the U.S. airline industry to study how strategic alliances wound up hurting or helping these competitors when or before war broke out.

“All good things come with a price,” Associate Professor of Marketing Min Zhao notes in a Q&A on WalletHub.com on the pros and cons of credit cards that don’t require a credit check.

Awards, Appointments, and Distinctions

Assistant Professor of Management and Organization Curtis Chan was appointed to the editorial board of Administrative Science Quarterly. In addition, Chan was featured in a video interview detailing the outreach activities and strategies that earned him and Michel Anteby of Boston University the 2021 ONE-SIM Outreach Award for their paper “A Self-Fulfilling Cycle of Coercive Surveillance: Workers’ Invisibility Practices and Managerial Justification.” 

Professor of Accounting Jeff Cohen

Professor of Accounting Jeff Cohen

Professor of Accounting Jeff Cohen received the Distinguished Service in Auditing Award from the American Auditing Association at its mid-year meeting in January. The award recognizes exemplary service to the auditing profession and scholarly contributions to the field of auditing.

Finance Professor and Giuriceo Family Faculty Fellow Ran Duchin was named managing editor of the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

Assistant Professor of Information Systems Zhuoxin (Allen) Li received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. The award recognizes early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education, and who support their integration of research and teaching on digital platforms.

Associate Professor of Business Analytics Nan Liu received first prize in the Best Paper Competition sponsored by the Overseas Chinese Scholars Association in Management Science and Engineering, for his co-authored paper, “Treatment Planning of Victims with Heterogeneous Time-sensitivities in Mass Casualty Incidents.” 

Associate Professor of Marketing Gergana Nenkov

Associate Professor of Marketing Gergana Nenkov

Gergana Nenkov and Linda Court Salisbury, associate professors of marketing, have won coveted awards from the American Marketing Association. Nenkov received two of these AMA-EBSCO-RRBM Awards for Responsible Research in Marketing. Her paper, “Knowing What It Makes: How Product Transformation Salience Increases Recycling,” was named a Distinguished Winner. Additionally, the paper, “Improving Financial Inclusion through Communal Financial Orientation: How Financial Service Providers Can Better Engage Consumers in Banking Deserts,” co-written by Salisbury, was named a Winner. The awards recognize outstanding research that produces both credible and useful knowledge beneficial to society. Nenkov’s paper on recycling was also a Runner Up in the Financial Times Responsible Business Education Awards for Academic Research. Additionally, Nenkov and Associate Professor of Marketing and Hillenbrand Family Faculty Fellow Nailya Ordabayeva were both appointed as associate editors for the Journal of Marketing Research

Assistant Professor of Finance Nancy R. Xu will act as Consultant to the Directorate General Research of the European Central Bank through December 2023. 

Management and Organization Associate Professor Tieying Yu was named an associate editor of the Journal of Management.