The overarching goal of my research is to understand how social factors affect evaluative and entrepreneurial outcomes. In my current work, I have examine how social influence and gender affect the evaluations a professional receives, and how firm characteristics and social networks affect who becomes and entrepreneur and how they perform.
With Mabel Abraham
Recently covered by Rotman's Institute for Gender + the EconomyDespite lab-based evidence supporting the argument that double standards—by which one group is unfairly held to stricter standards than another—explain observed gender differences in evaluations, it remains unclear whether double standards also affect evaluations in organization and market contexts, where competitive pressures create a disincentive to discriminate. Using data from a field study of investment professionals sharing recommendations on an online platform, and drawing on status theory, we identify the conditions under which double standards in multistage evaluations contribute to unequal outcomes for men and women. We find that double standards disadvantaging women are most likely when evaluators face heightened search costs related to the number of candidates being compared or higher levels of uncertainty stemming from variation in the amount of pertinent information available. We rule out that systematic gender differences in the actions or characteristics of the investment professionals being evaluated are driving these results. By more carefully isolating the role of this status-based mechanism of discrimination for perpetuating gender inequality, this study identifies not only whether but also the conditions under which gender-based double standards lead to a female disadvantage, even when relevant and objective information about performance is readily available.
Forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly.
Winner, 2016 INFORMS Organization Science Dissertation Proposal Competition
A primary goal of opt-in evaluation processes is to triangulate on the expected quality of a given candidate, good, or service (offering). Although anecdotal evidence suggests that evaluators are only a small proportion of the larger audience who could have opted to rate an offering, it remains unclear what leads audience members to choose to rate. Understanding this process is critical given that the ratings produced by opt-in evaluation processes greatly influence an offering’s success. In this paper, I examine how social influence, stemming from the availability of ratings from previous evaluators, affects the likelihood that offerings receive subsequent ratings. I use unique data from an organization that provides a platform for investment professionals to share knowledge regarding investment recommendations. These data allow me to identify not only who rated a recommendation but also the entire audience of potential raters, or evaluators. Further, I leverage a natural experiment related to exposure of audience members to average ratings from previous evaluators to causally identify the effect of social influence. I show that while social influence affects the likelihood of subsequent ratings, this effect is heterogeneous with respect to the valence of available ratings, and that conformity is the driving mechanism.
Winner, 2015 Best Student Paper, Academy of Management (OMT Division)
Although knowledge sharing among competitors is seemingly paradoxical, scholars have found that competitors share knowledge with one another when they have a pre-existing relationship, expect direct reciprocity from one another, or operate in a slow-moving industry. However, there are prevalent examples of knowledge sharing among competitors that fall outside of these conditions. In this study, I propose that in markets where there are positive externalities from competitors coordinating around the same opportunity, knowledge sharing serves as a strategic response to high levels of market uncertainty, aimed at facilitating this coordination process. This is because entrepreneurs (individuals and firms who attempt to exploit opportunities) are regularly resource constrained, which increases their dependence on other resource holders coordinating around their opportunity in order to successfully exploit it. Using a unique dataset of knowledge sharing among investment professionals, on an online platform, this study leverages variation in the platform’s knowledge-sharing structure to test this theory.
We focus on the paradox of employer status with respect to entrepreneurial entry. On one hand, employer status may deter entry into entrepreneurship because status is highly valued, and giving it up imposes high opportunity cost on employees. On the other hand, employer status may motivate entrepreneurial entry, as employees at high-status firms have access to high-quality resources and strong quality signals. To resolve this paradox, we adopt a career perspective to analyze how employees make career choices. Using the context of mutual funds between 1979 and 2005, we find that employer status deters entry into entrepreneurship when entrepreneurial mobility is considered as alternative to remaining with one’s current employer. However, employer status motivates entry into entrepreneurship, when entrepreneurial mobility is considered as alternative to joining another firm. Finally, our evidence suggests that this status effect is primarily driven by lower performers, consistent with the notion that status is leveraged by those who benefit from such affiliation. Our results contribute to understanding entrepreneurship as a mobility process and to theories of status—in particular of how status affiliations influence the entrepreneurial entry.