Research Seminars

When Two Heads Are Worse than One: Understanding the Costs of Co-Leadership

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Frederic Godart

7 November 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room - From 10:45 am to 12:15 pm

The present research examined the effectiveness of co-leadership, a situation where two individuals jointly occupy the same formally assigned role at the top of a hierarchy. We integrate insights from the social hierarchy and leadership literatures to present the Social Hierarchy Model of Co-Leadership. This model proposes that co-leadership generally hurts team performance because co-led teams are more likely than solo-led teams to suffer from coordination and conflict problems. However, our model also proposes that when the co-leaders have a strong relationship, this underperformance will disappear. Four studies using qualitative, experimental, and archival data support this model. Our qualitative study established the prevalence of co-leadership configurations and how co-leaders affect team processes and performance. Our experiment established causality: teams randomly assigned to have co-leaders were less creative than solo-lead teams. Archival analyses of mountaineering expeditions replicated the negative effects of co-leadership: co-led teams were more likely to experience a fatality than solo-led teams. Additional archival analyses of high-end fashion design teams replicated the negative effects of co-leadership and found that co-leadership no longer hurt creativity when the co-leaders were co-founders of their firm. The current data and the Social Hierarchy Model of Co-Leadership offer numerous theoretical and practical implications.

What’s in a frame? An in-depth exploration of the role of framing in fostering collaboration in the context of two environmental non-profits

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Simona GIORGI
Carroll School of Management, Boston College

18 October 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room - From 10:45 am to 12:15 pm

This study examines the role of framing in fostering a collaborative agreement between two environmental non-profits in the U.S. that aimed at saving a particular type of natural ecosystems, wetlands. Building on 87 interviews, 17 months of participant observation, and extensive archival data, I show that framing can be a double-edged sword that can promote, but also hinder collaboration between seemingly compatible organizations. Unlike previous work that focused on instances of success and portrayed framing as a strategic tool for persuading others, my analysis documents how framing initially resonated with what the intended recipient valued, but over time revealed a deeper-seated cultural difference in how such value was constructed. More specifically, differences in orders of worth, or principles used to construct the value of nature – either as something worthy per se or for the exchange and use value of its services – prevented collaboration between the two organizations. These findings shed light on the underpinnings of framing resonance, highlighting the complex cultural basis of inter-organizational collaboration.

Performance Consequences of Pay Dispersion: It Depends on Type of Incentive Structure and Workplace Sex Composition

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Mahmut BAYAZIT
School of Management, Sabanci University

17 October 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room - From 11:15 am to 12:45 pm

Pay Dispersion, variance of the pay distribution within the organization, is continuing to attract a fair amount of public attention as the gap between the CEO pay and the average worker has widened over the years despite calls and rules to increase transparency in executive compensation practices. Recently, Shaw (2014) called for more research on pay dispersion to understand whether and when high or low levels of dispersion is effective as well as the behavioral processes that mediate its’ effect on organizational performance (Shaw, 2014). In the present study to respond to this call we propose type of incentive structure [i.e., the extent to which employees are covered by individual (e.g., bonus) and/or collective incentive (e.g., gainsharing) schemes] and workplace sex composition as joint contingencies on the performance effects of pay dispersion. In addition, we draw on the Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect (EVLN) framework (Hirschman, 1970) to examine the potential mediating mechanisms of dispersion-performance relationship. We analyze a unique employee-employer linked survey data collected in 2003 and 2004 from a sample of 3050 nationally representative for-profit organizations with more than 20 employees in Canada to test our hypotheses. Our analyses, consistent with our hypotheses, reveal that in workplaces with high individual but low collective incentive coverage, the marginal effect of pay dispersion on productivity was positive in male-dominated workplaces but negative in female-dominated workplace, suggesting that the competitive dynamics created by the combination of high pay dispersion and individual incentive coverage differ in their performance implications according to the sex composition of the workplace. In addition, the marginal effect of pay dispersion on productivity was negative in firms that utilized collective incentives regardless of the individual incentive coverage for both male- and female-dominated workplaces. Finally, voluntary turnover, employee training and absenteeism mediated this moderated relationship whereas labor actions did not. These findings offer valuable insights about dispersion-performance relationship and have important theoretical and practical implications.

Workplace courage: Turning good stories into good social science

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Jim Detert
Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, USA

12 October 2017 - Room Bernard Ramanantsoa - From 10:30 am to 12:00 pm

Courage is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous concepts in the world. It has been written about extensively in philosophy, religion, throughout the humanities and, more recently, in psychology. Despite this, our understanding of “workplace courage” remains quite limited. This is an important gap, as those who teach leadership know that students/practitioners are compelled by a lay belief that courage is linked to leader effectiveness and other important outcomes. But, whether this is true, or what we might do to help leaders develop their courage if it is true, cannot meaningfully be addressed until we answer more basic and fundamental questions about workplace courage as a social science construct. In this talk I will therefore quickly review my motivations for studying workplace courage, the limited extant literature, and then present results from several initial studies undertaken (using multiple methods and a total sample over 6,000) to begin shedding light on the construct of workplace courage and how this construct might be pursued in future research. I am particularly interested in discussing with you how we might address the “perspective problem” more directly and satisfactorily in future research on courage (and many other organizational constructs).

Trust in Leadership Across Organizational Levels: Implications for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Ashley Fulmer
Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa

9 October 2017 - T020 - From 10:45 am to 12:15 pm

Trust is credited as a key to success in a wide range of micro and macro arenas, from employee performance and team collaboration to leadership effectiveness and organizational competitiveness. Little research, however, has examined trust across these arenas. In this presentation, I will focus on trust in leadership and discuss empirical evidence to bridge some of these gaps as identified by my analyses, answering questions such as how to foster trust in organizational leaders from the interactions between employees and their supervisors and what leaders can do to build trust that is shared among team members. I will also outline avenues for future studies that will continue the integration of trust across the individual, team, and organization levels. Together, this research program has implications for a more realistic, nuanced, and complex understanding of the critical phenomenon of trust in organizations.

Holding myself together: Identity defense work in discontinuous mobility

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Sarah WITTMAN
INSEAD, France

5 October 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room - From 11:15 am to 12:45 pm

Voluntary leaves of absence from the workforce—instances of so-called discontinuous mobility or nonemployment—and the nonlinear career trajectories they engender are increasingly common. Yet although we have studied the structural and socioeconomic challenges that impede workforce reentry, we lack an understanding of the noneconomic push factors, like identity, that might motivate reengagement. Via a longitudinal study of professionals-cum-trailing spouses, individuals who left work to support their significant others’ career advancement, this paper examines identity defense work: tactics aimed at sustaining and fortifying established identities during professional uncertainty. Using an inductive qualitative approach, I find that during career discontinuity, identity defense work may include giving oneself permission to be non-normative; hanging onto one’s professional self by reinforcing professional self-conceptions; and distancing oneself from feared possible nonprofessional selves. Helping people sustain identities through liminal periods and, thus, motivating workplace reentry, identity defense work liberates them to explore new things; adjust their work-related self-concepts; and/or reaffirm the personal importance of work. These findings contribute to our knowledge on discontinuous mobility, the identity work that permits people to resist undesired changes to their professional selves during periods of uncertainty, and people’s efforts to balance their relationships and careers over their life course.

Trash-Talking: Competitive Incivility Motivates Rivalry, Performance, and Unethical Behavior

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Maurice Schweitzer
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA

2 June 2017 - T004 - From 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Trash-talking increases the psychological stakes of competition. Across two pilot studies and four experiments, we demonstrate that trash-talking motivates targets to outperform their opponents. Across, two pilot studies we show that (1) people readily recall instances of trash-talking in organizations and (2) people fail to forecast the motivational consequences of trash-talking. In Study 1, participants in a competition who were targets of trash-talking outperformed participants who faced the same economic incentives, but were not targets of trash talking. In Study 2, we replicate this finding and show that perceptions of rivalry mediate the relationship between trash-talking and performance. In Study 3, we find that targets of trash-talking are particularly motivated to see their opponents lose. In Study 4, we show that participants who were targets of trash talking were more likely to cheat in a competition that were participants who received a neutral message. Taken together, our findings reveal that trash talking is a common workplace behavior that can foster rivalry and motivate both constructive and unethical behavior.

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

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Nancy Rothbard
Chair, Management Department , Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

16 May 2017 - T201 - From 10:00 am to 11:30 am

In an effort to create a positive experience at work, managers have deployed a wide range of innovative initiatives and practices designed to improve the affective experience for workers. One such innovative 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.


Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Martin Kilduff
Professor , University College London, UK

4 May 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room, building V - From 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Workplace friendship obligations of openness and favoritism are likely to conflict with organizational norms of discretion and neutrality. This dilemma is especially apparent for Simmelian brokers, who divide time and attention across multiple otherwise disconnected friendship cliques. In two samples, we found support for the core idea that the fit between the requirements of the network role and the personality of the individual facilitates trust. Simmelian brokers are trusted by their friends if they exhibit a role-appropriate diplomatic personality style involving flexibility of self-presentation (high self-monitoring) and inhibition of verbal loquaciousness (low blirtatiousness). Of course, not everyone engages in Simmelian brokerage. Some individuals experience a strongly cohesive situation: a single friendship clique within which they are embedded. For these non-brokers, we hypothesized and found that the most appropriate trait combination likely to maintain the trust of a group of tightly-bound colleagues involved a forthright, be-true-to-yourself, loquacious personality style (i.e., low self-monitoring, high blirtatiousness). In introducing a personality-network fit perspective concerning whether Simmelian brokers are trusted by their colleagues, we help reconcile discrepancies in prior literature concerning whether or not these brokers are paralyzed into indecision by cross pressures. Brokers who flexibly and guardedly manage individuality facilitate interconnection across cliques.


Martin Kilduff (PhD Cornell, 1988) is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the UCL School of Management and former editor of Academy of Management Review (2006-08). His research focuses on the micro-foundations and consequences of individuals' social networks, with particular emphasis on the role of personality, cognition, and emotion in these processes. His recent work investigates: the career benefits and drawbacks of working under a high-reputation boss (AMJ, 2016); the relative effects of personality and network position on career outcomes (Organization Science, 2015); and the extent to which men and women leaders are evaluated by the social network contexts in which they work (Organization Science, 2015)

Bowing Before Dual Gods: How Structured Flexibility Sustains Organizational Hybridity

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Marya L. Besharov
Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior , Cornell University

22 March 2017 - T037 - From 10:00 am to 11:30 am

The increasing prevalence and variety of hybrid organizations challenges scholars and practitioners. How do these organizations successfully sustain seemingly incompatible missions and goals over time? Mounting research emphasizes either stable organizational features or dynamic processes. Our in-depth, 10-year study of a social enterprise in Southeast Asia highlights the critical role of both, unfolding how consistent organizational features and shifting enactment processes interact to sustain seemingly incompatible dual missions. We capture these findings in a model of structured flexibility. The model shows how ongoing processual shifts in meanings and practices create flexibility in how leaders enact dual missions. Such flexibility, however, depends on consistent, stable organizational features—in particular, dedicated structures, roles, and relationships that serve as guardrails holding leaders accountable to each mission, as well as leaders’ paradoxical cognitive frames that accommodate both contradictory and interdependent relationships between dual missions. By unpacking the interplay between stable and dynamic aspects of dual missions, our structured flexibility model offers new insight into how hybridity unfolds and is sustained over time.