Doctoral Student Research Support

The Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society is delighted to announce that funding is available each year to provide support towards the research efforts of three Gies College of Business doctoral students or faculty members. Doctoral students and faculty members may apply for up to $7,500 in funding. The amount awarded will depend on the assessed quality of the project and its overall fit with the Center's mission.

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2020 Faculty/Doctoral Student Award Winners:

2020 Research Funding Abstracts:

  • Social Impact Investing in Urban Environments: Developing and implementing funding models for social entrepreneurship

    The interdisciplinary effort [of this project] ultimately aims to attract “patient capital” to an investment fund. In turn, this fund will finance full-scale implementation of innovative projects which leverage broad networks, applied data analytics, and “best practices” in personal finance and social entrepreneurship.

    Workstreams include impactful research and various teaching components. They are ultimately designed to produce actionable ideas to be implemented in partnership with industry and well-established community organizations.

    This project combines research and development of several workstreams, each exploring the application of innovative funding mechanisms as potential solutions to intractable societal problems. The workstreams coordinate interdisciplinary teams to devise innovative tools for use in mission-driven initiatives such as financial wellness, social justice, youth development, unemployment, etc. Our goal is action-oriented, with the aim of establishing new teaching nodes, workplace education programs, and dynamic databases in the process.

    Guided by enumerated organizing principles, this project explores social impact investing, a nascent field of finance, as a bridge between philanthropy and private capital. Drawing on the very disciplined processes of private equity investing, we investigate ways to fund education and other socially desirable outcomes through approaches such as micro-lending, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, loan consolidation, and app-based financial platforms. Our work plumbs budding areas of financial innovation to unlock patient, yet responsible capital flows to these and other creative “best practice” solutions.

    We anticipate the creation of one or more entrepreneurial enterprises as part of a revenue model to fund further development of projects researched in the various workstreams. Our near-term objective is to secure working partnerships and operational design of each workstream during Spring, 2020. We are targeting Summer/Fall of 2020 for full implementation of project components.

    For additional information on Professor Brown and his work, please visit the following link: Learn More »

Ying Li

  • State of the art house: How mission-driven organizations stay true to their commitment

    Organizational authenticity, or the consistency between an organization’s internal values and espoused commitment, is a rising topic in management studies. However, in the daily operations of an organization, there are many factors, including both pressure and temptations, that can erode organizational authenticity and induce mission drift. Therefore, understanding how organizations maintain authenticity becomes an acute scholarly topic, especially considering that there are increasing findings of mission-driven organizations that aspire to put financial pursuit secondary but constantly find themselves struggling to sustain survival. Through a qualitative study of U.S. art house movie theaters whose mission is to enrich people’s cultural lives by offering socially engaging and intellectually stimulating movies as opposed to commercial films for pure entertainment purposes, I uncover the practices that art houses adopt to stay true to this commitment. One of my preliminary findings reveal that successful authenticity work is more generative than restrictive, which means that maintaining authenticity is more than conforming to the minimal requirement of belonging to a self-imposed niche market. Instead, art houses are creative. They transcend their identity as a simple film-showing space by developing a series of special events that inspire discussions of real community lives, such as inequality and education, and thus become a community institution.

Chenchen Di

  • Abstract:

    Most of the financial service firms, such as Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Vanguard personal advisor services, introduced robo advisors, who offer financial advises based on algorithm rather than human recommendations. Financial service firms strategically allocate the resources to different divisions: robo advisors and human advisors. Robo advisors can reduce information asymmetry and save costs for the firm. It does not have the flexibility to adjust the effort accordingly. Typically, it requires high volume to cover the large investment in the very beginning. Human advisors, on the other hand, can be incentivized by higher compensation rate. In this research, I am interested in why firms introduce robo advisors and how firms will set compensation rate and allocate resources for both human and robo advisors.

Hyewon Oh

  • Abstract:

    The current research investigates the paradoxes associated with engaging in prosocial behavior. Specifically, this research asks two questions to understand why individuals engage in prosocial behavior and what consequences prosocial behavior might have. First, on the bright side, we argue how feeling unique and different from others can, in fact, help one better understand others’ circumstances, thereby leading to higher motivation to engage in prosocial behavior. Second, on the dark side, we argue that belief in karma can induce self-serving altruism, which then while leading to seemingly higher prosocial behavior can, in fact, paradoxically encourage unethical behavior. The current work thus identifies factors that lead to paradoxical consequences associated with prosocial behavior and provides intriguing insights for professional responsibilities.

Deepika Chhillar

  • An eye for AI - Insights into governance of artificial intelligence and potential oversights

    In a rapidly transforming digital landscape, it is hard to deny that algorithms are all-pervasive. They impact us as consumers, employees, leaders and most importantly as citizens. While there is increasing use of big data technology in our personal and professional spheres, the implications of using such technology are not yet perfectly clear. Since data (aka, oil of the 21st century) is viewed by most B2C firms as a key invisible and renewable resource, we will need a keen eye and a deliberate effort by various stakeholders to prevent opportunistic behavior of this resource. We discuss what risks do AI technologies pose, for whom and how can enhanced corporate governance measures buffer such risks. We attempt to synthesize existing literature on opportunities and challenges of algorithms, artificial intelligence and big-data technologies in our society and offer a governance framework. The future of businesses and mankind may well depend on how humans of today lay guidelines to govern the machines of tomorrow.

Shiyu Yang

  • Cross cultural differences in lay theories about morality in leadership: A comparative study on United States and China

    Morality in leadership has long been recognized as a critical component in management. However, little is known about how much importance people ascribe to morality (vs. ability) when evaluating leaders. Moreover, there has been a paucity of attention to morality outside of the professional domain; whether people care about the (im)morality in a leader’s personal life remains largely underexplored. Drawing upon a culturally attuned perspective on leadership, we argue that compared to North American culture (i.e., U.S.), East Asian culture (i.e., China) is more likely to prioritize considerations of a leader’s morality (vs. ability). Also, we propose that concerns with morality in leadership are largely bounded in the professional domain in western culture, whereas in eastern culture they are more likely to also permeate the personal domain. We propose to identify the mechanisms underlying the differences by looking at the declarative and procedural cultural knowledge that shapes (1) how people view an organization and (2) how people think. More specifically, we propose that East Asians are more likely to adopt a relational (vs. transactional) view of an organization and think more holistically (vs. analytically). Each of the two cultural factors independently predicts how much people care about (private) morality in leadership. A series of studies are conducted test the proposed relationships (N = 2067).


2019 Research Funding Awards

  • Joseph T. Mahoney, Jiayue Ao, Eva Herbolzheimer, and Hyeonsuh Lee:

    The Comparative Assessment of Governance in the Context of Public and Private Prisons

    Several states as well as the federal government have outsourced correctional services with the goal of reducing cost. However, we know little about the effects that prison privatization has on quality outcomes and costs. Previous literature suggests that when capabilities critical to the public interest are controlled by private individuals, agents, or organizations, the public interest might not be pursued as a consummate goal. Furthermore, when quality is difficult to measure and contracts difficult to enforce – such as in our prison context – agents with high-powered incentives are likely to engage in quality shading, which increases probity hazards. The goal of this research study is to compare two different forms of organizing prisons (public and private) from a quality perspective to unravel contradicting findings concerning the efficacy of private prisons and provide evidence- based policy recommendations. In doing so, this study empirically examines governance modes of prisons in the United States and their effects on recidivism rates. This research study posits that the extant literature on public entrepreneurship and privatization needs to be more sensitive to contexts because there are differential probity hazards. Accountability, transparency, and probity are especially crucial in the prison context for serving the public interest.

  • Shiyu Yang:

    Culturally-attuned implicit theories of leadership morality: A comparative study on East Asia and North America

    The current research investigates cross-cultural differences in people’s implicit beliefs about morality in leadership. More specifically, the following themes are examined: (1) Cross-cultural variations in the interpretations and expectations of leaders’ morality. Do people from different cultures understand leadership morality differently? Do they emphasize the moral component to varying extents? (2) Cross-cultural variations in the reactions to leaders’ moral transgressions. How would people react to violated moral expectations? What explains the differential consequences ensuing from leaders’ moral failings? In addressing the above questions, special attention will be paid to understanding and contrasting leadership morality in the professional domain and the personal domain. In addition, mechanisms underlying concerns with leadership morality will be dissected into different levels, ranging from individual, to organization, to culture.

  • Nan Zhang:

    Competition Policy as an FDI Deterrent: U.S. Antitrust Enforcement and Inward-FDI Flows

    Motivated by the potential for competition policy to be used in a protectionist manner, we formulate the theoretical prior that the enforcement of competition policy deters inward-FDI activity. We test this prior by employing sector-level data on U.S. antitrust enforcement and FDI inflows over the 2002–2014 period. The U.S. represents a hard case to establish protectionism as it has been considered to be open to foreign investment and the paragon of exemplary competition policy. Our panel-data empirical results indicate U.S. antitrust enforcement deters inward-FDI activity.

  • Jihyeon Kim:

    Kim's research investigates biases that can work against selecting moral people during hiring processes. Using lab experiments, surveys, and field studies with multiple populations, Kim examines whether and why individuals fail to actively seek signs of morality in candidates, tend to reject particularly moral candidates, and tend to select morally compromised candidates. Identifying these issues provides new insights into how to support ethical organizations.