Faculty Research Spotlight
Julia Bear, Professor, Organizational Behavior
Can Funny Women Get Ahead?
Understanding Gender Gaps at Work
January 25, 2023
In a recent paper entitled, “Think funny, think female: The benefits of humor for women’s influence in the digital age”, my co-authors and I analyzed data from 2,407 TED talks and found that using humor increases influence, especially for female speakers. We assessed influence in multiple ways, including number of views, how inspiring the talk was, and the perceived leadership qualities of the speaker. A deeper analysis of highly influential talks on social science topics (92 talks) revealed that the beneficial effects of humor stemmed from perceptions of speakers' warmth and competence but not from the type of humor used.
These findings are especially exciting because they challenge the commonly held stereotype that women aren’t funny and should be apprehensive about using humor in professional settings. This work also highlights how professional settings – in this case, the TED digital platform – play a role in whether and when gender differences emerge.
Miron-Spektor, E., Bear, J.B., & Eliav, E. (2022). Think funny, think female: The benefits of humor for women’s influence in the digital age. Academy of Management Discoveries,https://doi.org/10.5465/amd.2021.0112.
Julia Bear's focuses on the role of gender in negotiation processes and outcomes, as well as understanding gender gaps in organizations more broadly. I also study how people manage their various ambitions to achieve their goals both at work and in their personal lives. To this end, I recently developed a new construct called “caregiving ambition” and published a book about the implications of caregiving ambition for individuals, organizations, and society at large, The Caregiving Ambition: What It Is and Why It Matters at Home and Work (with T. Pittinsky, Oxford University Press)
Richard Chan, Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior; Strategy & Entrepreneurship
You've got yourself a deal! How entrepreneurs use narratives to increase their funding success.
May 15, 2023
One of my research streams delves into the important role that entrepreneurial narratives play in securing financial resources. Typically, scholars have examined various linguistic attributes from entrepreneurial narratives independently. However, as the field has progressed, there is a need for a more holistic approach to understanding the sophisticated role of entrepreneurial narratives.
For example, my recent study examines how different speech acts jointly influence funding success. Speech acts are essential aspects of language and communication, they refer to the actions of the speaker intended to evoke certain behavior. The actions can include asserting facts (assertive acts), expressing emotions (expressive acts), making promises (commissive acts) or requesting certain reactions from observers (directive acts). Instead of only relying on one type of speech act, entrepreneurs would use a combination of acts in a sequence of sentences, i.e., a “portfolio of speech acts.”
Drawing upon stimuli variation perspective and speech acts theory, we theorize and found that a greater variation in the use of speech acts can lead to greater crowdfunding success. Specifically, we consider two types of variation – diversity and change. Diversity refers to the use of a variety of different types of speech acts in a narrative, which can make the narrative more illuminating, persuasive, and helpful to potential funders, leading to a more positive attitude towards the funding campaign. Speech act change, on the other hand, refers to the frequency of alternating different types of speech acts within the narrative, which can introduce novelty and capture the audience's attention and interest, leading to a better chance to get funded. Furthermore, because speech act variation is important, excessive use of a single type of speech act can limit the use of other speech acts and reduce speech act variation, which can negatively affect funding outcomes.
Our findings offer two important implications for entrepreneurs in pursuit of funding. First, entrepreneurs should pay attention to their speech acts and use a more diverse and balanced set of speech acts when constructing a narrative for crowdfunding. Our findings suggest that an explicit attention to speech acts can help entrepreneurs check whether they are overusing assertive or commissive speech acts and missing the opportunity to sufficiently demonstrate their feelings or provide directions to potential funders. For example, the average entrepreneur in the technology category uses 66 % assertive acts, 24 % commissive acts, 4 % expressive acts, and 6 % directive acts. Compared with the average entrepreneur, our finding suggests that entrepreneurs in this category should use less assertive and commissive acts and more expressive or directive acts to achieve a greater funding success.
Second, entrepreneurs should strive to vary these acts from one sentence to the next whenever appropriate, rather than using the same speech act monotonously. For example, consider the two paragraphs below:
“We have been working on the product design for six months. Now we are so excited that we have a prototype. It is an animal bot that can run and speak. Please help us raise $5,000 so that the bot is ready for the market within the next 5 months.”
“We have been working on the product design for six months. Now we have a prototype. It is an animal bot that can run and speak. Making it ready for the market within the next 5 months needs $5,000.”
The first paragraph above switches between assertive, expressive, and directive acts, whereas the second paragraph keeps using the same speech act (the assertive act) on and on. Our study suggests that entrepreneurs use the first paragraph since it is considered more engaging and dynamic and less likely to lose the audience's attention than the second paragraph.
Oo, P. P., Jiang, L., Sahaym, A., Parhankangas, A., & Chan, R. (2023). Actions in words: How entrepreneurs use diversified and changing speech acts to achieve funding success. Journal of Business Venturing, 38(2), 106289.
Chan, C. R., Pethe, C., & Skiena, S. (2021). Natural language processing versus rule-based text analysis: Comparing BERT score and readability indices to predict crowdfunding outcomes. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 16, e00276.
Chan, C. R., Parhankangas, A., Sahaym, A., & Oo, P. (2020). Bellwether and the herd? Unpacking the u-shaped relationship between prior funding and subsequent contributions in reward-based crowdfunding. Journal of Business Venturing, 35(2), 105934.
Richard Chan's research domain is broadly situated at the intersection of psychology, technology, and entrepreneurial finance. Specifically, I investigate how entrepreneurs acquire, manage, and transfer financial resources. Empirically, I have used mixed method research by utilizing experiments, field surveys, archival data, and computational methods to tackle interesting and important questions.
Mohammad Delasay, Assistant Professor, Operations and Decision Analytics
Disease Transmission Risk In Service Facilities During A Pandemic
March 7, 2023
Limiting the transmission of infectious diseases during a pandemic is a public health priority essential for the well-being of individuals, the economy, and national security. In this line of research, we measure disease transmission risk in various settings o congestion-prone service facilities (e.g., grocery stores, transportation hubs, and entertainment venues) during a pandemic. We propose the “system-specific basic reproduction rate” metric to calculate the expected number of susceptible customers an infectious customer will infect during their visit to a service facility (assuming all other customers are susceptible).
We evaluate the efficiency of prevalent risk-mitigation interventions employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Limiting facility occupancy,
- Protecting high-risk customers through prioritization or dedicated time windows, and
- Limiting the duration of time customers spend inside service facilitates.
A couple of our main findings are:
- Limiting facility occupancy is more efficient (1) in more congested service facilities and (2) for diseases transmitted in shorter exposure times.
- Prioritizing the service of high-risk customers (for example, older individuals and those with specific comorbidities such as hypertension or diabetes) over low-risk customers during regular service hours is more efficient than dedicating specific time windows for high-risk customers (an intervention practiced vastly by retailers, such as Walmart and Whole Foods, during the COVID-19 pandemic).
The methods developed in our research supplement existing tools in assisting managers and policymakers in making informed decisions when designing and fine-tuning appropriate interventions for mitigating disease transmission in service facilities.
Kang, K., Doroudi, S., Delasay, M. and Wickeham, A., 2022. A queueing‐theoretic framework for evaluating transmission risks in service facilities during a pandemic. Production and Operations Management. https://doi.org/10.1111/poms.13675
Mohammad Delasay investigates timely real-world problems related to managing the operations of service and healthcare systems and improving their efficiency and performance. My past and current research aim to improve the operations of emergency medical services, emergency departments, organ transplant centers, continuing care facilities, and retail stores. I enjoy teaching courses related to supply chain management, operations management, and business analytics.
He covers various topics about supply chain management, including my students’ course projects, on the Youtube channel “Supply Chain Review,” available at https://youtube.com/@supply_chain_review.
Stacey Finkelstein, Professor and Area Head of Marketing
Behavioral Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy
In a series of recent papers, i’ve explored behavioral underpinnings of vaccine hesitancy. In a recently published paper (Pereira et al., 2021), we explore how messages conveying vaccine scarcity at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted vaccine acceptance. Our findings were counterintuitive: when vaccine doses were seen as scarce (vs. not), people were LESS likely to accept a vaccine, especially when they considered others who might be in greater need of a vaccine. We’ve recently explored how communication about the pace of vaccine development has impacted vaccine update. Generally speaking, when items are seen as developed quickly, their quality may be seen as questionable. For people who have a high need for cognition, communication about the pace of vaccine development increased vaccination intentions.
Pereira et al., 2021: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/mar.21629
Stacey Finkelstein's business expertise is in social media marketing, digital marketing, pandemic recovery, best practices for communicating with customers.
Her research expertise includes motivation, vaccine hesitancy, consumer behavior, judgment and decision making.
Matthew Wynter, Research Professor, Finance
A “Black Tax” costs US communities millions each year
March 31, 2023
In “Black Tax: Evidence of Racial Discrimination in Municipal Borrowing Costs” (Eldemire, Luchtenberg, and Wynter, 2022) we show that municipalities with higher percentages of Black residents pay higher borrowing costs to issue rated bonds as compared to other municipal issuers within their same state and year. We study 66,503 rated municipal offers issued across the United States from 1990 to 2019. With rated offers, one would expect municipal borrowing costs to reflect a communities credit risk, rather than racial composition. However, a one-percentage point increase in the total proportion of Black residents in a city or county is associated with a 0.44 basis point increase in total borrowing costs. To illustrate, in 2019 the municipalities in our study raised a total of $77 billion from rated municipal offers. Taking the product of the cost estimate (0.44 basis points), each municipality’s percentage of Black residents, and each offer’s issue amount and maturity, we find the Black Tax costs these communities $110 million in 2019 alone.
The costs are surprising, as municipalities in the sample that have higher percentages of Black residents tend to be larger, with higher income per capita, and lower unemployment – all of which economic theory predicts should lead to lower, rather than higher, borrowing costs. Consistent with racial bias leading to the pricing penalty, the Black Tax is 50 percent higher in states with higher levels of racial resentment, and also increases during presidential and gubernatorial election cycles in which racial resentment have been shown to increase.
Eldemire, A., K. Luchtenberg and M. Wynter. 2022. Black Tax: Evidence of Racial Discrimination in Municipal Borrowing Costs, working paper, Brookings.https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/WP81-Eldemire-Poindexter-et-al.pdf
Matthew Wynter is a financial economist that studies how social, behavioral, and political structures impact capital markets within communities and across countries. My work pays special attention to “Financial Inclusion and Economic Inequality,” “Behavioral Finance,” and “Political Economy”. My work often uses households’ life events, like buying a home or retiring, or major national events, like elections or natural disasters, to understand how investors, corporate managers, and households make financial decisions.
Matthew is available to discuss racial discrimination within financial markets, municipal bond markets, homeownership in low-income households, gender disparities within corporate management, political uncertainty, capital raising in private markets, the economic impact of natural disasters, and the financial impact of behavioral biases
Zhifeng Yang, Associate Professor, Accounting
Glass-Ceiling or Self-Selection: Why Female Representation among Audit Firms’ Partners and Executives is Low?
March 28, 2023
Female representation among audit firms’ partners and executives is disproportionately lower than the percentage of female accountants among all accountants. For example, in the United States, female partners account for only 17% of audit partners who audit public companies. A common view of low female representation among audit partners is that female auditors are discriminated against, i.e., they need to cross a higher bar to become audit partners than their male counterparts. Yet another view is that female auditors are “selecting out” of pursuing partner or management positions because of conditions such as excessive hours, uncontrollable schedules, unwieldy travel schedules, and lack of viable career paths that are compatible with other life activities.
According to the first view, female partners should have more human capital than their male counterparts. Because human capital is an important determinant of audit quality, this view predicts that the audit quality of audit engagements led by both female partners could be higher than that of audit engagements led by two partners of mixed genders or two male partners. However, our empirical results are not consistent with this prediction. Our empirical results show that the audit quality of audit engagements led by two partners of opposite genders is higher than that of audit engagements led by two female partners or two male partners. Moreover, the audit quality of audit engagements led by two female partners is not significantly different from that of audit engagements led by two male partners. Our interpretation of these findings is that female and male partners bring diverse perspectives to an audit due to their different socialization experiences, which results in higher professional skepticism and ultimately a higher likelihood of discovering accounting irregularities contained in audit clients’ financial statements.
Our findings are more consistent with the second view of low female representation among leadership positions in audit firms, that is, female accountants select out of pursuing such positions. Equally important, our findings suggest that partner gender diversity improves audit quality. Together, these findings strongly support the policymaker’s advocacy that audit firms find structural and organizational solutions to prevent discouraging female auditors from pursuing partner positions.
Zhifeng Yang's research is broadly related to corporate governance and auditing. I am interested in the research issues of how political, economic, and legal institutions such as state ownership, government intervention, political connections, social ties, and investor protection shape the incentives and behaviors of economics agents such as auditors, financial analysts, and corporate managers. I am also interested in studying the consequences of the recent regulatory reforms concerning accounting and auditing around the world such as the establishment of public oversight bodies for the audit profession and the mandatory requirements of disclosing the names of audit partners leading specific audit engagements and regularly rotating engagement partners. These topics should be of interest to the media.