Winner, 2015 Best Student Paper, Academy of Management (OMT Division)
Selected Media Coverage: Yale Insights
Although knowledge sharing among competitors is seemingly counterintuitive, scholars have found that competitors share knowledge under certain conditions: among actors who have a preexisting relationship and who expect direct reciprocity. However, there are examples of knowledge sharing among competitors that cannot fully be explained using these relational mechanisms. In this study, I propose that in markets where competitors are a set of key stakeholders, knowledge sharing is a strategic response to high levels of buy-in uncertainty related to a potential opportunity, namely, the likelihood that stakeholders will come to realize the value of a potential opportunity in a timely fashion. Using a unique data set of knowledge sharing among investment professionals on a digital platform, this study leverages variation in the platform’s knowledge-sharing structure to test this theory. I find that knowledge sharing among these competitors is most likely when buy-in uncertainty for a given opportunity is high and that this knowledge sharing does lead to subsequent buy-in.
With Mabel Abraham
Runner-up, 2018 Mark Granovetter Best Article Prize
With Melody Chang
Founding one’s own venture is often seen as desirable; however, most entrepreneurs must subsequently enter wage employment. Although a transition to wage employment is common, it remains unclear how founder experience affects an individual’s subsequent hiring outcomes. Extant theory can be used to make a strong case for founder experience as an asset as well as a liability. We first posit the advantages and disadvantages of founder experience for subsequent hiring outcomes in the labor market for wage employment. We then use a field experiment to adjudicate our theory. Specifically, we test how those who started their career as founders fare relative to those who started their career as wage employees at the initial stage of the hiring process: receiving a callback for an interview. We find that former founders receive fewer callbacks than non-founders; however, all founders are not disadvantaged similarly. Former founders of successful ventures receive even fewer callbacks than former founders of failed ventures. We propose that this founder discount is due to concerns from the hiring firm related to the applicant’s quality and their ability to fit into and remain committed to the wouldbe employer. We further unpack this result investigating three sources of heterogeneity: applicant gender, hiring firm age, and job location.
2017 Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management, (OMT Division)
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.
With David Waguespack and Jóhanna Birnir
Digital platforms help democratize processes previously restricted to a small set of individuals; however, if virtual forums replicate real-world evaluative biases, increased access is a problematic promise. To test for bias in evaluation resulting from the interaction of gender identity and stereotypical gender behavior, we leverage data from a large-scale digital platform where users are randomly assigned pseudonyms. The pseudonym, such as “Daniel” or “Haylee,” gives the user a gender identity signal that is independent of their unobservable real-world sex. Analysis of over 500,000 records shows that acting assertively, in a stereotypically male fashion, systematically biases evaluations of “women.” Women also disproportionately receive negative evaluations for stereotypically female emotive content with a negative tone. These findings highlight a lower bound of gender bias, and can inform more equitable evaluation processes.
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.