PhD Dissertations

Julia VINCENT-PONROY, Management and Human Resources, 2016

Family Firms’ organizational identity and non-family employees, a case study

Advisor(s): Françoise CHEVALIER


This dissertation explores family firms’ organizational identity from a non-family member’s perspective. The family identity of these firms constitutes both an intangible asset, that is difficult to imitate – and a crucial stake as during their growth process, family firms incorporate external members who tend to progressively represent the majority of the payroll. This stake is even more salient as owning families aim at durably influencing their firms’ identity since the family’s and the firm’s history and reputation are interrelated. However, the role of non-family members’ in the family firm’s identity has not been directly investigated by researchers so far. My dissertation aims at filling in this gap, by investigating the way non-family members contribute to enacting the family identity of the firm. The case study I conducted in a French family firm leads me to formulate three main sets of results. First, the exploration of non-family members’ perceptions of the firm reveals that they associate what they consider to be the core attributes of the firm with the owning family. Secondly, I investigate the mechanisms leading to such perceptions and identify that the family’s image and values are “brought” into the organization through four mechanisms – embodiment, reminding, spreading and adaptation – that together constitute the overall process of “familization” of the firm. Lastly, I suggest a typology of non-family members depending on their motives for contributing to “familization” mechanisms. Two categories (the adopted and the converted) play a crucial role in these mechanisms. Moreover, I show that the top management is composed of adopted and converted, who use this specific family of owners as a managerial tool having a role-modeling function. They do it because they perceive this family as embodying an axiology that is symbolized by the Family – as a generic entity –, an axiology that they consider to be valuable in an organizational context. The theoretical and practical contributions of these results are discussed.

Mehdi NEZAMI, Marketing, 2016

Family Firms’ organizational identity and non-family employees, a case study

Advisor(s): Stefan WORM, Peter EBBES


In the face of increased product commoditization and growing global competition, many B2B firms transition to services to obtain competitive advantages and combat margin pressures. Yet despite their growing emphasis on services, many manufacturers still fail to understand the performance ramifications of adding service offerings to their portfolios. In three essays, I examine the performance effects of service transition strategies and investigate the reasons behind the increased relevance of B2B services and whether or not investing in these offerings is truly beneficial for B2B manufacturers over the long term. In particular, in the first essay, I test a comprehensive framework that disentangles the roles of sales growth, profitability, and earnings volatility in driving the effect of services on firm value over different stages of the transition. In the second essay, I examine the relationship between service transition strategies and the components of stock returns risk, including overall and downside systematic and idiosyncratic risk. I also explore the role of earnings volatility in delivering the effect of moving into services on firm’s risk. In the third essay, I investigate the performance effect of B2B service innovations through estimating the abnormal stock market returns to launch of new industrial services, while accounting for differences across types of services, stages of a firm’s service transition, and industry- and firm- level factors.

Ana BABIC ROSARIO, Marketing, 2016

Essays on Electronic Word of Mouth: A Multidisciplinary Review of Dimensions, Scholarly Communication, and Market Implications

Advisor(s): Kristine DE VALCK


This dissertation explores the construct, prior scientific inquiry, and market implications of electronic word of mouth (eWOM), and it is based upon one conceptual and two empirical papers. In the first essay, I provide conceptual clarity by dimensionalizing the construct according to five aspects (the Who, What, Where, When, and How of eWOM). In the second essay, the resulting organizing framework is followed up with a historical analysis of eWOM dimensions, aliases, theories, and methodologies used in prior research. Additionally, I employ citation network analysis in order to identify gaps in scholarly communication and facilitate progressive knowledge building in this area. Finally, in the third essay, I use meta-analysis to empirically test the moderating impact of four of the five eWOM dimensions on sales effectiveness. I find that eWOM is positively correlated with sales (.091), but its effectiveness differs across platform, product, and metric factors. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as avenues for further research are discussed.

Neslihan KARAKAYA, 2016

Essays in Banking and Growth

Advisor(s): Evren ORS


This dissertation is made ofthree distinct chapters. The first chapterexamines the causal link between banks’syndicated loan supply and non-financial firms’campaign contributions for US elections duringthe 2007-2008 financial crisis. The resultsindicate that a 10% decrease in loan supply of agiven firm by its pre-crisis relationship lendersduring the early crisis period leads to a 9%increase in firm’s campaign contributions in2008. Further, firms’ level of past campaigncontributions is positively associated withfavorable loan terms for the future. Thefindings lend support to the idea that campaigncontributions are an investment in politicalcapital rather than merely a form ofconsumption good.The second chapter identifies the effect ofbanks’ industry exposures prior to market-entryon the output growth of manufacturing sectorsthrough US bank-entry deregulations. Thefindings indicate that the larger the discrepancyin specialization in an industry between a statepair,the higher the impact of bankingintegration on the growth of that sector in thestate that is less-specialized. The last chapterexamines whether banking integration acrossregions has any impact on the market forcorporate control between them. The resultsshow that there are more M&As and divestituresacross state-pairs whose banking systems haveexperienced a higher integration, compared tostate-pairs with no such integration. The findingsin the last two chapters indicate a bankingchannel that shapes the states’ industriallandscape.

Jiulin TENG, Strategy and Business Policy, 2016

Cracking the Black Box: Connecting External and Internal Determinants of Firm Performance at the Point of Transaction

Advisor(s): Bertrand QUELIN, Tristan TOMALA


I integrate external and internal analyses in competitive strategy in a way that complements the micro-foundations movement. I am motivated by two hiatus in the literature that constitute a single literature gap: First, the field tends to look at either resource or positioning for competitive advantage with little integration. Second, the field has overlooked how heterogeneous resource and positioning form endogenous micro-environment and interact in transactions. I adopt a game-theoretic approach that harmonizes (a) heterogeneity in firms that echoes internal analysis, (b) strategic interaction among firms that captures external analysis, and (c) the endogenous micro-environment. Under this overarching theme, I have focused my attention on three scenarios, in three separate chapters, that share four common connections beyond the concerted effort to crack open the black box: (i) All three chapters are deeply rooted in transactions. (ii) I extract patterns that cumulatively impact the competitive advantage of firms. (iii) I focus on firm-level constructs. (iv) I simultaneously consider external and internal determinants. Specifically, Chapter 1 introduces the ex ante cost perspective which consummates ex post cost and ex ante incentive analyses. Chapter 2 presents the theoretical framework of evolutionary advantage through the lens of contracting strategy. Chapter 3 shows that firms’ behavioural difference in negotiation sustains an additional dimension of strategic manoeuvrability which ultimately affects value appropriation. Collectively, my dissertation contributes to the understanding of the dynamics surrounding transactions among firms. It sets a valuable precedent in integrating external and internal analyses while at the same time providing a complement to the micro-foundations movement.

Jonathan HAYES, Management and Human Resources, 2016

CEO Resilience: Conceptualization and Effects on Corporate Performance

Advisor(s): Charles-Henri BESSEYRE DES HORTS


Focusing on CEO resilience, this dissertation contributes to the upper echelons or strategic leadership research tradition and highlights a capacity, which is crucial in times of uncertainty, rapid change and pressure. Adopting a three essay format (two empirical and one theoretical pieces), it questions the influence of CEO resilience. The first chapter contextualises my work by reviewing previous "upper echelons" contributions pertaining to CEO characteristics and resilience literature. The first essay then investigates the impact of CEO resilience on firm performance and demonstrates the existence of a bell shape curvilinear relationship, relationship moderated by financial slack and industry complexity.The second essay confirms the existence of a U shape curvilinear relationship between CEO resilience and strategic dynamism and establishes the mediating role of strategic dynamism in the CEO resilience-company performance sequence. The third essay, which is conceptual, provides a model for internal andexternal diffusion of CEO resilience in times of crisis. Finally the concluding chapter of my thesis stresses some limitations, proposes future research avenues, and put forward some managerial implications.

Sébastien STENGER, Management and Human Resources, 2015

Why work in a Big Four audit firm? Functions of the « up or out» system: control, competition and social prestige

Advisor(s): Francoise CHEVALIER


This work proposes to focus on the "up or out" system in the 'Big Four' auditfirms through qualitative data, interviews and on site participant observation.The initial research question is to understand the logic of auditors’ involvementin a Big Four audit firm. We first show that careers in the Big Four firms aredemanding and uncertain since each auditor must act as an entrepreneur of hisreputation undergoing uncontrollable social logics (disproportion dynamic,virtuous and vicious cycles, homologies of pairing). We then show that behind anindividualistic rhetoric (career advancement, salary) practicing in such a firmhas a function of distinction and self-affirmation, which gives individuals thesense that they belong to a selective elite. The "up or out" system is presented asa theatrical argument for attributing differentiated prestige. Finally, we analyzethe effects of the "up or out" system on individuals’ moral careers. We show howthe relationship to work is reconfigured depending on whether the promisedcareer is confirmed or not and we distinguish three figures in this conversion:the integrated-detached, the looser and the withdrawing.

Shiva TAGHAVI, Management and Human Resources, 2015

When Your Culture Advocates You : The Effect of Cultural Work Values on Performance

Advisor(s): Michael SEGALLA, José ALLOUCHE


When Your Culture Advocates You : The Effect of Cultural Work Values on PerformanceCultural values and their impact on people’s attitudes and behavior have long been a place for debate. Globalization, migration and expatriation have contributed to the conflict caused by the interaction among multiple cultural identities, particularly when it comes to organizations with diverse workforce. Specifically, France is a unique case that provides a historically and culturally rich, yet very ambiguous context for studying this topic. The dominant culture in France emphasizes on egalitarianism and secularism. However, a great part of the population has adopted distinct cultural values with regard to their religious beliefs. Moreover, the perception about ‘equal opportunities’ provided by the society varies considerably across the cultures. The topic is specifically important at workplace, where individuals with diverse and sometimes divergent beliefs take part in collective activities. The objective of this dissertation is to discover the mechanisms by which cultural attributes predict work ethic and productivity- first, through their interaction with religious beliefs; and second through the implicit theories about the societal structure. The findings reveal that religious thoughts positively influence work ethic and level effort when a culture of religiosity is prominent and negatively when the laïc culture is salient. Furthermore, this research sheds light to the different perceptions about equal opportunities in the society. The meritocratic attitudes are directly influenced by the extent to which people perceive the social structure to be malleable vs. fixed. Across three essays, this dissertation addresses a particularly important issue as faced by employers and policy makers, specifically in France. It provides a compelling understanding about a number of antecedents of work ethic and work behavior; namely, the cultural and religious values, perceptions about malleability of the social structure, and mindsets.Keywords: Work Ethic, Religious Identity, Cultural Values, Secularism, Implicit Beliefs, Mindset, Social Mobility, Meritocracy

Yi LI, Marketing, 2015

Three Essays in Consumer Information Processing in the Context of Retailing

Advisor(s): Marc VANHUELE, Selin ATALAY


In this dissertation, I focus on consumer information processing in three different domains of retailing. In essay 1, I examine what drives consumer’s spending decisions under the self-selected price bundling promotion, i.e., the promotions where consumers can decide which products to include in the bundle. In essay 2, I study the attention bias, a phenomenon suggesting that consumers allocate more attention to the chosen option than the non-chosen options during their choice processes. I investigate when and how this attention bias emerges in consumer choice process. In essay 3, I examine the influence of denomination, i.e., the currency’s face value, on consumer’s purchase experience. More specifically, I investigate how the size of the denomination and the spending value jointly influence consumer’s pain of paying. The findings in these three essays contribute to our understanding on how the information presentation can influence consumers’ perception of the decision, choice of the decision strategy, and perception of value in the context of retailing.

Floriane JANIN, 2015

The Exposed Accounting: The Case of French Football. An Accounting between Domination and Emancipation

Advisor(s): Hélène LONING


This dissertation explores to what extent accounting can play a role in how actors publicly unveil and denounce a situation of domination, thereby contributing to a form of emancipation. Listening to the actors’ interpretations, this dissertation follows the liberal voices which unveil and denounce the domination of the discourses and principles on financial regulation and rationalization for French professional football. French football accounting is particularly exposed, due to the high media coverage and financialization of thesector. This dissertation builds on the “pragmatic sociology of critique” (through the work of Luc Boltanski), and sees actors as having critical and unveiling competences. In three essays, we show 1/ how clubs’ disclosed accounting numbers can be staged by actors debating in a radio talk-show, to promote a liberal or regulated vision of French football, 2/ how management accountants in a club use their critical competences to unveil and denounce the institutional domination of the French football financial regulatory body, and3/ how accountability practices of club’s managers undertaken to respond to public criticism, enable them to legitimize their organization by justifying its non-conformity. While accounting has often been described as serving dominant interests following the “critical sociology” tradition, our dissertation shows that accounting can also favor unveiling and emancipation.