R E S E A R C H
The social construction of organizational misconduct: A social evaluations perspective (dissertation)
In my dissertation, I examine the role social evaluations play in stakeholders’ processing of organizational misconduct. In the first essay, I consider why only some transgressions are brought to the public forum and become scandals. I build on research showing that social evaluations create interpretive frames through which stakeholders make sense of firms’ behaviors, and propose a novel mechanism whereby the fit between the transgression-related information and the frames provided by the reputation and celebrity determine the transgressions’ newsworthiness, and thus the extent they are scandalized. In the second essay, I focus on a different aspect of stakeholders’ sensemaking: how a transgressions effects can spill over to competitors. While prior studies have generally theorized that bystander firms often suffer from others’ misconduct due to the generalization of culpability (i.e., have negative spillovers), recent findings suggest that competitors can also enjoy “positive” spillovers by serving as untainted substitutes for the perpetrators. Yet, current theorizing does not address when one type of spillover or the other will occur. I propose that perpetrators’ status and celebrity, in combination with their competitors’ status and celebrity, prime stakeholders to focus on the (dis)similarities between the perpetrators and the competitors to produce positive or negative spillovers. In both essays, I employ the context of data breaches which are emerging as a critical social issue. In summary, this dissertation seeks to contribute to our understanding of how social evaluations direct stakeholders’ sensemaking of misconduct and engender societal-level consequences—the creation of scandals and industry-wide spillovers.
Which of these things are not like the others? Comparing the rational, emotional and moral aspects of reputation, status, celebrity and stigma. Academy of Management Annals, 13(2): 444-478.
with Tim Pollock, Kisha Lashley, and Violina Rindova
In this review of the literature on reputation, status, celebrity and stigma we develop an overarching theoretical framework based on the rational, emotional and moral aspects of each construct’s unique sociocognitive content, and the mechanisms through which it affects audience evaluations. We use this framework to assess the construct definitions and empirical measures employed in current research, and offer our assessments of how well they reflect each construct’s sociocognitive content, distinguish the constructs from other constructs, and distinguish the constructs from their antecedents and consequences. We then articulate the implications of our framework and analyses for future research.
[Capability signals and investor reaction to corporate misconduct]
with Srikanth Paruchuri and Puneet Prakash
Research in signaling theory has recently begun to explore the consequences of incongruence across signals from a single source. However, the attention has been directed towards the incongruence across signals along a single dimension. Considering that audiences evaluate firms based on signals of different dimensions, we extend this theory to investigate the incongruence across these signals of different dimensions. Specifically, we theorize that the salience of positive capability signals at the time of the revelation of organizational misconduct, a negative integrity signal, causes interdimensional incongruity. We argue that audiences will face greater incongruence and react more negatively to the misconduct events to the extent that a firm’s positive capability signal was salient. Our findings using irregular financial restatements as the negative integrity signals that cause incongruence with alliance announcements, a positive capability signal, indicate that investors reacted more negatively to the restatements by firms that had higher salience of alliance announcements: firms that announced more frequently and firms that created more positive expectations from those announcements were penalized more. We also found that firm size and diversification weakened these negative effects. We contribute to research on signaling theory, organizational misconduct, and alliances.
Second revise-and-resubmit at Academy of Management Journal
*original title withheld to honor blind review process
[Behavioral outcomes of status inconsistency]
with Tim Pollock
We offer a theoretical basis for conceptualizing multiple status hierarchies, and examine how actors react to inconsistencies across their status positions in multiple hierarchies. We argue that pluralistic value systems create multiple status conferral mechanisms in different hierarchies, and accord unequal status to the hierarchies themselves. While we predict that status inconsistency, in general, increases the likelihood that actors engage in behavioral coping aimed at boosting their lagging status, the unequal statuses of the status hierarchies themselves will influence the magnitude, and even direction of actors’ responses to their status inconsistency. We further suggest that the suppressing effect of actors’ primary status and relational embeddedness on their reactions to status inconsistency is contingent on the status of the status hierarchies. Using the artistic and commercial status of Hollywood performers, we found that statusinconsistent performers were more likely to behaviorally cope and appear in films that could boost their lagging status when they possessed relatively higher artistic than commercial status. Moreover, being highstatus decreased the likelihood of behavioral coping only when they were high-status in the artistic status hierarchy, while embeddedness decreased the likelihood of behavioral coping only when their primary status hierarchy was commercial.
Under second review at Academy of Management Journal
*original title withheld to honor blind review process
Eyes wide shut: The competing effects of information availability and visibility enhancement on post-IPO media coverage
with Tim Pollock
Building on the literature on media behavior, we examine how visibility-enhancing factors—specifically dramatic events and prominent affiliations—affect the relationship between availability cascades and media attention and evaluations. We argue visibility-enhancing factors substitute for availability cascade dynamics due to their higher salience with the media. However, the salience of availability cascades is greater when it comes to evaluative judgments, and thus only dramatic events substitute for the effect of availability cascades on positive media coverage. Discrete-time logistic regressions on the post-IPO media coverage of 225 initial public offerings support our arguments.
Published in Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings 2019
Gulliver’s travels? Nation-level institutions and status effects in cross-border acquisitions
with Mooweon Rhee, Jooyoung Kwak, and Tim Pollock
We consider nation-level institutions as the contingency factors of investment banks’ status effects in cross-border acquisition deals. Development of formal institutions offsets the effect of advisor status by reducing clients’ uncertainty towards the quality of acquisition deals and advisory capability. On the other hand, informal institutions, as societal norms and beliefs rooted in cultural systems, function as interpretive frames of clients determining their receptivity towards advisor status. Our analyses using the cross-border acquisitions announced during 1995-2014 show that advisor status leads to early deal completion in countries with weak formal institutions and high vertical collectivism. Also, advisor status was effective only when both host and origin countries were high in vertical collectivism while the mere existence of voids sufficed for formal institutions.