Management & Organization Theses and Dissertations

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    A Prosocial Contributor or Status Grabber? How and Why Newcomer Proactive Knowledge Sharing with Coworkers Impacts Inclusion Perceptions via Ambivalent Coworker Attributions
    (2023) Guan, Zhishuang; Liao, Hui HL; Business and Management: Management & Organization; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Newcomers are often referred to as the “new blood” because they represent a source of fresh, unique, task-relevant knowledge that potentially adds value to organizations. In this research, I focus on newcomer proactive knowledge sharing with coworkers and investigate how it impacts the transition of newcomers from outsiders to insiders. Integrating attribution theory and the status characteristics theory, I propose that newcomer proactive knowledge sharing with coworkers triggers coworkers’ ambivalent attributions (i.e., perceiving it to be driven simultaneously by newcomers’ prosocial and status-striving motives). Furthermore, the ambivalent attributions affect the extent to which coworkers provide socialization support and utilize the newcomer’s knowledge, eventually exerting different influences on the newcomer’s inclusion perceptions. The results of a multi-wave (i.e., four waves) and multi-source (i.e., survey data from newcomers and coworkers) longitudinal study based on 336 newcomers in a large technology company support the proposed serial mediating relationships between newcomer proactive knowledge sharing with coworkers and their inclusion perceptions via coworkers’ ambivalent attributions and behavioral reactions. The data also demonstrates that leader encouragement of learning is a viable leader strategy that makes coworkers more likely to interpret newcomer proactive knowledge sharing is driven by prosocial motives. This research has significant implications both theoretically and practically. From a theoretical perspective, it advances our understanding of newcomer socialization, knowledge sharing, and workplace inclusion. From a practical perspective, it helps newcomers better navigate the process of knowledge sharing by illuminating potential social consequences. Practitioners can leverage these insights to create more inclusive onboarding experiences for new employees.
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    (1986-05) Goktepe, Janet R.; Schneier, Craig Eric
    This field study used groups performing "sex-neutral" tasks over a six- to fifteen-week period to examine determinants of emergent leadership and leadership effectiveness. The study included 149 subjects in 35 task groups (28 mixed-sex groups, 4 all-male groups, and 3 all-female groups) working in conjunction with personnel management or business policy courses. Data were collected twice during the period for all measures used in predicting the identity and effectiveness of emergent leaders (based on follower perceptions of their sex, physical and interpersonal attractiveness, and the leader's selfdescribed sex-role identity, i.e., masculine, feminine, undifferentiated, or androgynous). The results showed that the leader chosen by group members did not change from Time 1 to Time 2 except in one group (an all-male group). Most of the results were similar between Time 1 and Time 2, and were consistent with predictions made based upon theoretical considerations and previous research. The hypotheses in this study were tested using a combination of statistical techniques. The results supported the major hypotheses of the study. In general, within the total sample, sex did not influence perceptions of an emergent leader. However, within groups, the probability of a female gaining leadership status was dependent upon the relative proportion of females in the group, i.e., at least half or more members had to be female. Female leaders were rated more physically attractive than male leaders. Male leaders received the lowest ratings of physical attractiveness, even lower than male nonleaders. Leaders were rated more interpersonally attractive than nonleaders. Emergent leaders with high ratings of physical and interpersonal attractiveness were also rated higher on effectiveness. Individuals with a self-described "masculine" sex role identity emer.ged as leaders more than undifferentiated, feminine, or androgynous types. There were no differences in leader effectiveness ratings among the four leader types.
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    Essays on Entrepreneurship: The Role of Complexity of Innovation and Efficient Hierarchies
    (2023) Ding, Yuheng; Braguinsky, Serguey; Agarwal, Rajshree; Business and Management: Management & Organization; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Entrepreneurial activities have been on the decline across a broad range of sectors in the U.S. during the past few decades. This decline (sometimes also called “declining business dynamism”) is reflected in the decreasing rate of new firm entry, the share of young firms (usually defined as those five years of age or less) in the total number of firms and/or the share of employment at young firms in total employment, and so on (e.g., Decker et al. 2014; Akcigit and Ates, 2021). All of the above have exhibited a secular decline, not just in the U.S. but in other advanced economies as well. The underlying causes of these trends, however, are not yet clear with a broad array of explanations suggested in the literature (Akcigit and Ates, 2019; 2021; Decker et al., 2016; Hopenhayn et al., 2018; Karahan et al., 2019; Andrews et al., 2016). There also appears to be a lot of heterogeneity in how strongly the decline in entrepreneurial activities (business dynamism) is pronounced in various industries and sectors of the economy. In particular, the evidence in Haltiwanger et al. (2014) suggests that high-tech industries could be affected more than other sectors of the economy. High-tech sectors have been the driving force of growth in recent decades, so uncovering the reasons for declining business dynamism in those sectors is a task of first-order importance. In the first chapter, I employ the restricted-use data on the science and engineering workforce in the U.S. to investigate whether the increasing burden of knowledge is a growing concern for science-based entrepreneurship. Results show that since 1997, the rate of startup formation has precipitously declined for firms operated by U.S. Ph.D. recipients in science and engineering. The decline in startup formation is accompanied by an earnings decline, increasing work complexity in R&D, and more administrative work for science-based founders. With limited access to efficient knowledge hierarchies, founders of science-based startups must shoulder the burden of knowledge by doing more tasks by themselves. Workers at established firms, on the other hand, could better mitigate the burden of knowledge by narrowing the span of control and increasing the depth of hierarchy. Moreover, less experienced founders were hit harder than more experienced founders as the increasing burden of knowledge led to increasing returns to labor experience. While in the first chapter I use individual-level work data, in the second chapter I utilize firm-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau to develop the analysis further. I adopt the abductive approach and leverage matched employee-employer Census data between 2000-2014 to investigate how a growing burden of knowledge (measured as knowledge interdependence) in the most innovative firms affects potential entrepreneurs’ decisions to start their own business ventures. I show that higher knowledge interdependence in incumbent firms is negatively associated with employee entrepreneurship, and the negative effect is pronounced even stronger among the highest-performing employees. Moreover, higher knowledge interdependence has a positive selection effect on the quality of “spinouts”, and this effect is significantly stronger if the startup is formed by individuals ranked highest in the human capital distribution. These results suggest that knowledge interdependence does not merely raise the barrier for entry into entrepreneurship by imposing higher costs of knowledge transfer. It also changes the functioning of the internal labor market inside the firms. In the third chapter, I further investigate the mechanism underlying the relationship between knowledge interdependence and employee entrepreneurship. I propose a formal theoretical framework that reconciles all empirical findings. The theory suggests firms that rely on higher knowledge interdependence should share “rent” with their employees by paying wage premia if the profit from higher knowledge interdependence is high enough. As a result, within-firm earning dispersion would always be larger in firms relying on higher knowledge interdependence. I find supporting evidence in the data for this alternative explanation. Overall, these findings have important implications for declining entrepreneurial activity, rising income inequality, and technological change in the U.S. economy. While the conventional wisdom might view the declining entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. as the demise of economic growth, it is possible that as innovation becomes more complex, large established firms start to substitute the role of start-ups in pushing forward the technological frontier and driving economic growth as the efficient knowledge hierarchy could better deal with complex knowledge needed in the production process (Garicano, 2000; Garicano and Rossi-Hansberg, 2004). If this is the case, the declining business dynamism might just be a reflection of technological change and efficient (re)allocation of resources but not necessarily detrimental to technological advancement and economic growth. Whether this is true remains an avenue for future research.
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    (2023) ALGHAREEB, ALI; Kirsch, David; Goldfarb, Brent; Business and Management: Management & Organization; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation uses an Inference to the Best Explanation approach for two essays on the evolution of the Lithium-ion battery industry (1991—2023). In the first essay, I consider an industry-level perspective and use quantitative and qualitative data to document the emergence and evolution of the Li-ion battery industry. The observations of multiple waves of new firm entry and more than one instance of sales takeoff highlight an empirical puzzle. Thus, I propose a conceptual framework of Market transformation (MT) that is qualitatively related to but distinct from the traditional frameworks of Industry Emergence and Disruption. By comparing the predictions of the Industry Emergence and Disruption approaches with those of the proposed MT framework, I argue that the proposed framework provides a better explanation for the observed evolutionary trajectory of the Li-ion battery industry. In the second essay, I consider the strategic choices of application markets and entrepreneurial strategies from a firm-level perspective to examine how did start-ups choose their entrepreneurial entry strategy when application markets are characterized by different sizes and levels of uncertainty. Assembling a dataset of 151 US-based battery start-ups founded in the Li-ion battery industry, I report on the start-ups’ choices of application markets and entrepreneurial strategies at entry across three distinct periods in the evolution of the Li-ion battery industry. The observation of only 16% of start-ups choosing a specialization-in-generality strategy while 84% of start-ups choosing alternative strategies during a period of increasing uncertainty (2006—2012) highlights an empirical puzzle. Thus, looking across the multi-decade history of the Li-ion battery industry, the uncertainty triggered by the successful commercialization of consumer electric vehicles (i.e., industry demand shock of the Tesla Roadster) spurred start-ups to enter with different strategic bets; it also triggered investors to support those bets. By elaborating and evaluating the list of possible explanations, I infer that the increasing levels of uncertainty associated with each application market generated uncertainty profiles that start-ups selected based on the preferences and beliefs of their entrepreneurs or their investors about the nature of uncertainty, resulting in different strategic bets, as the best explanation.
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    (2023) Park, Hyunsun; Tangirala, Subrahmaniam; Business and Management: Management & Organization; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Employees of lower social class origins can elicit ambivalent reactions when they make it into elite, high-status organizations. On the one hand, they can be seen as misfits and face discrimination in work outcomes, such as lower performance evaluations and job rewards. On the other hand, their achievements can be viewed as admirable and earn them higher than usual evaluations and rewards. Drawing on the ambivalence-amplification theory, I propose that such ambivalence toward employees of lower social class origins leads to especially amplified reactions to their behaviors. When they engage in behaviors that support the existing norms in the organization (such as being courteous and helpful), those behaviors are seen as role-congruent and rewarded more highly than similar behaviors of employees with higher social class origins. By contrast, when they engage in behaviors that challenge such norms (such as speaking up with ideas and concerns), those behaviors are seen as role-incongruent and receive more negative evaluations than similar behaviors of higher-class employees. Through a field study of working professionals and two experiments, I examine this idea in the context of social caste in India. I replicate these findings in the context of socioeconomic status in the U.S. using two experiments.