Melbourne Business School - Theses
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Evaluation bias and backlash: how unconscious gender bias hurts women's career progress and two interventions to improve outcomes
In this thesis I investigate the impacts of unconscious gender bias on women in the workplace from the pespective of two types of bias: evaluation bias and backlash. I define evaluation bias as cases in which women are evaluated less favourably than men due to their gender. Similar to this, backlash is when women who behave in counter-stereotypical ways are evaluated less favourably, especially in terms of how likeable they are and how likely they are to be hired (Rudman & Phelan, 2008). In order to best understand the current state of the literature and calculate an estimate for the overall effect of bias, a meta-analysis was conducted for these two biases. This meta-analysis sampled a total of 151 papers which contributed a total of 203 studies or 822 independent effect sizes and an overall sample size of 86,661. Across all studies a small but robust effect of bias was found (g =-.10 [95%CI -.15, -.04]). A multilevel meta-regression was conducted in order to identify moderators that contributed to larger effects of bias. Larger effects of bias were found when the evaluator was male; when the work context was male or gender neutral; if the counter-stereotypical behaviour of the target was dominant or aggressive; and if the target was being evaluated on dimensions of likeability, their likelihood of future career success, or how hireable they were. Notably the year of publication had no effect on the measure of bias, which shows that across all papers sampled in this analysis from 1970 to 2014, bias has not varied. Results from the meta-analysis were used to inform two subsequent intervention studies, which focused on a method to ameliorate the impact of bias that could be enacted from either the supply-side (the job candidate) or the demand-side (the evaluator). These interventions were designed to focus the evaluator’s attention on the match between the job candidate and the role that they were interviewing for. When manipulated from the supply-side this match was made salient by the candidate using exact terms and phrasing taken from the key criteria in the job advertisement; from the demand-side a structured note-taking based around the key criteria was used. Results shows that the supply-side manipulation was successful in increasing the likability and leader desirability of the female candidate compared to the male candidate. Conditional process modelling showed that the manipulation increased perceived communality of the female target, which lead to better outcomes in terms of likeability, leader desirability, hireability, and future career success. The intervention for the demand-side was not successful, however it contributed insights into why demand-side intervention takeup rates in organisations is low.
Rules bound: how institutional effects diffuse through and bind the market relations between firms
Institutions, in the sense of durable systems of behavioural rules, norms and beliefs, are generally limited in their scope. Collective rules and norms are developed for specific behaviours and enforced within delimited social domains. This dissertation examines how, in shaping the behaviour of firms, the effects of institutions diffuse from their original contexts to outside domains. It explores how firms’ market relations may serve as a conduit for this diffusion. Chapter One provides a context to, and overview of, the entire dissertation. A conceptual framework is introduced that distinguishes between four kinds of institutional effects on firm behaviour. Collective rules and norms can have direct effects, in promoting the adoption of behaviours in relation to which those rules and norms have developed. Institutions can also have diffuse effects, as when actors observe and react to how rules and norms are enforced on others. These direct and diffuse effects of institutions can unfold inside the domains in which they are established and enforced. Alternatively, the effects of an institution may be extra-jurisdictional, impinging on actors who are far from the institution’s original domain. A theoretical account of those effects that are at once diffuse and extra-jurisdictional is identified as a central contribution of this dissertation. Chapter Two presents the first of two empirical studies, entitled ‘Rules That Bound: How External Regulation and Partner Dependence Combine to Drive Practice Adoption.’ The study features a quantitative analysis of how regulation—explicit rules, administrative guidelines and laws (Scott, 1995)—affects the adoption of practices by the suppliers to a regulated industry. A novel dataset is utilised which tracks the adoption of green building design practices by a panel of 226 architecture studios in Australia from 2008-2015. In line with my theoretical predictions, I find that firms are influenced by regulations from jurisdictions where they do not operate but where their prospective clients do. In their responses to extra-jurisdictional regulation, firms are shown to vary to an extent that depends on a firm’s power relative to that of its clients. Chapter Three, entitled ‘Rules That Bind: The Observance of Norms in Early Stage Interorganisational Relations,’ explores how social norms—implicit behavioural rules which specify what is valued and what ought to be done (Scott, 1995)—function to draw firms into productive relations. This study involves a qualitative analysis of 22 early stage relationships between Australian design service firms and their clients. Using inductive multiple-case analysis, I identify a system of norms that influence the tendency of client firms to act cooperatively in new relations. Clients providing unilateral and weakly contingent benefits to their suppliers is found to have a positive effect on relationship development. I propose that this effect is mediated by a firm’s judgment of its client’s ‘character’ (i.e. the client’s underlying behavioural tendencies and values). In addition, this study suggests a previously unidentified contingency in the social judgment process by which corporate reputation forms: as a firm’s power increases relative to that of its client, the firm is more likely to impute positive character to the client for conduct that conforms to prevailing norms. Taken together, the findings from this research suggest that firms are receptive to how their prospective clients are operated upon by institutional forces, including by forces emanating from outside domains. The behavioural effects of institutions are found to diffuse, within and across contexts, through the market relations between firms. Consistent across the two studies presented, firms’ responses to institutional effects on their clients are found to vary to an extent that depends on a firm’s power relative to that of its clients. Following resource dependence theory, power is defined in terms of a firm’s control over vital resources and as a property of exchange relations (Emerson, 1962). This leads to the conclusion that as institutional effects diffuse through the relations between firms they are moderated by properties of those relations.
The dark side of groups: effects of entitlement and conflict
Despite the focus in the popular press about entitlement, there has been limited research on entitlement in the management literature. Through multiple studies, this thesis examines the effects of entitlement beliefs in the workplace in the context of groups. Incorporating various literatures, I theorise and find that: 1) entitled individuals are physiologically more likely to experience threat than less entitled individuals and also more likely to experience threat after encountering task conflict; 2) entitlement relates to conflict in several different ways such that the relationship is affected by the duration of the task – in short-term tasks, entitlement is likely to influence heightened perceptions of the types of conflict, but in long-term tasks, entitlement is curvilineally related to relationship conflict; and 3) entitlement influences the distribution of roles in the workgroup as both low- and high-entitlement is likely to lead to being selected as the leader. I utilise both laboratory and survey methods to capture and collect the data in this thesis. I also discuss the implications of my findings on theory and practice.
Copula models of serial dependence with applications to economic and financial time series forecasting
Almost all existing copula models use copula functions to capture cross-sectional dependence. Instead, this thesis explores using copula functions to capture serial dependence. The advantage of doing this, is that the parametric assumptions on the margins, employed to capture serial dependence, are no longer needed, making the margins fully flexible. This thesis consists of three related papers. The first paper in Chapter 4 studies the properties of copulas of heteroskedastic processes, by retrieving the implied copula of the ARCH and SV models via simulation. The results show that the implied copula densities have an unusual cross shape, with mass concentratedat all four corners of the unit square. A major contribution of this paper is that it demonstrates that these copulas can be accurately approximated by a mixture of bivariate copulas. This mixture copula, when combined with a flexible marginal distribution, can be employed to model a wide range of heteroskedastic time series. In addition, because existing measures of dependence prove inadequate when heteroskdasticity is present, new measures of dependence are proposed. The model is also extended to multiple time series settings, and applied to foreign exchange rate return data. The second paper in Chapter 5 focuses on extending the methods from Chapter 4 to discrete time series. This work contains two significant contributions. First, it employs a copula to capture cross-sectional and serial dependence for discrete and mixed time series data. This copula is initially employed for the single variable case, and then extended to the multivariate case with discrete and mixed data. Second, this paper proposes a new Variational Bayes estimation technique, applicable to all time series copula models with discrete or mixed data. This technique allows for faster estimation of the copula parameters compared to previous methods. The last paper in Chapter 6 proposes a new copula created by the inversion of a multivariate unobserved component stochastic volatility model, and shows how to estimate it using Bayesian methods. This non-closed form copula is an alternative to the mixture copulas proposed in Chapter 4. An advantage of this inversion copula is that it is fast and simple to simulate from, and measures of dependence, filtered distributions, predictive distributions and other inference can all be computed readily and accurately via simulation. To illustrate the potential of this new copula, it is applied to a real-time U.S macroeconomic dataset. Out-sample predictions of GDP growth, inflation and an interest rate demonstrate that the copula model can improve upon predictions of the widely used VARSV model.
Gift systems and the divine economy of the poor
Gift giving constitutes a significant phenomenon in consumer research. However, the current literature does not address gift giving within religious contexts. Yet more than half of the world’s consumers are religious and billions of dollars are donated annually to religious organizations. What factors drive such high and committed gifting to religious institutions and their members? Do religious gifting practices conform to the same gifting practices as more secular gift exchanges? Additionally, the gift giving literature in consumer research does not give much consideration to contexts of scarcity. There exists a gap in understanding pertaining to gift exchanges among low-income consumers and/or consumers in low-resource contexts. Do the same exchange practices, norms of reciprocity, and relations govern gift exchanges where resources are low (versus high), and hence the amount of personal sacrifice in a gifting situation is high (versus low)? This thesis addresses these questions by investigating gift giving to religious bodies within contexts of scarce economic resources. Specifically, I investigate the practice of monetary donations to churches among low-income consumers. The research question problematizes the practice of monetary donations by low-income consumers, which has significant economic implications for their livelihoods. Making monetary donations to the church infers sacrificing significant portions of income that would otherwise have been spent on food, health care, and clothing for these low-income consumers and their families. However, this practice remains widespread in very religious contexts despite the economic implications on the consumers’ livelihood. I therefore sought to understand the nature, meanings, and outcomes of church donations among low-income consumers. To investigate this agenda, I undertook a five-month ethnographic study of Salvation Baptist Church (SBC), a small Pentecostal/Charismatic Church (PCCs) in Ghana, whose members were mostly poor. I chose PCCs as my context because they advance a distinct Prosperity Gospel theology that encourages church donations in return for material prosperity. My findings revealed seventeen different donation funds within SBC, which had complex and intricate donation rituals and meaning. Building upon these seventeen donation funds and their practices in SBC, I theorize the divine economy of the poor. The divine economy presents a system of community, institutional, and divine gift systems overseen by the overarching hand of God, as understood in Pentecostal theology and ideology. In this divine economy, I trace various forms of consumer gift exchanges and rituals built around social solidarity, institutional impersonality, and religious sacrifice. However, the divine economy also produces church and personal moral obligations that often conflict. Due to their low incomes, informants sometimes struggle to give to the church and also provide for themselves and their families. In response, consumers in this divine economy adopt many tactics, afforded by the indeterminacy of Pentecostal theology, to negotiate these conflicts, without leaving the divine economy. This thesis contributes to the understanding of gift systems, and the role of religious ideology and poverty in gift exchanges and consumer resource circulation. Implications for consumer research, marketing practice, and church management are discussed.
Leadership behavior and organizational performance of social enterprises
Social Entrepreneurship is described as “using market based methods to solve social problems” (Miller, Grimes, McMillan, & Vogus, 2012, p.616). In three separate studies, this dissertation investigates the antecedents of social entrepreneurs, their leadership attributes and leadership styles that result in social performance of their social enterprises. Study 1 employed surveys in Australia and used Self-Determination Theory and Upper Echelon Theory to investigate nascent social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity. We find social entrepreneurs undertake the highest level of entrepreneurial activity when they possess a high desire for independence and recognition and are surrounded by a start-up team with a high level of business acumen. Study 2 uses semi-structured interviews of entrepreneurs in six countries and 14 industries to understand their leadership attributes. We find that shared leadership, adaptability and social networking were important drivers of a social enterprise’s social performance. There is also evidence of multiple performance measures and gender differences. Finally, Study 3 used surveys in Australia and Asia to research leadership of social entrepreneurs. We find servant leadership behaviors and the causation process (planned strategies) of their enterprises significantly predicted social performance.
Integrated Reporting <IR> and evolution of reporting approaches in the oil and gas industry (case study of oil and gas companies in Ecuador)
From investors’ insight, financial information is not sufficient to provide a holistic view of a given business. To offer a broader overview on the activity of an organisation, reporting approaches need to include both the common financial and non-financial part to deliver appropriate information on sustainable development and the impact of these activities in the long term. The main purpose of this study is to analyse integrated reporting approaches base on the reporting practices of three oil and gas companies – PetroSA (South Africa), Repsol Ecuador S.A and Petroamazonas EP (Ecuador). A cross-comparison of qualitative information obtained from their annual reports in 2012, 2013 and 2014 was examined. In terms of research methodology, the evaluation of the main sections in the reports was compared to the guiding principles provided by International Integrated Reporting Framework. Given that, there is the need to understand best reporting approaches, the level of disclosure and how such reporting practices are evolving to become more integrated over time.
Feeling misidentified: the consequences of internal identity asymmetries for individuals at work
People have an enduring interest and concern with how they are perceived by others, particularly when these others can influence key outcomes. For example, at work, factors like promotions, performance reviews, pay raises and coveted assignments are often tied to the perceptions and evaluations of one’s colleagues. Given this, individuals are likely to discern and monitor how their colleagues see them in the workplace. What happens, then, when individuals believe that their colleagues have an incorrect understanding of their identity? In this thesis, I define, unpack and examine this experience, internal identity asymmetry, the belief that one is misidentified by important others at work. I explore internal identity asymmetry through three papers, which together employ multiple methodologies and analysis techniques to develop insight into this important identity process in the workplace. My first paper (Chapter 2) links the identity, self-verification, and impression management literatures to conceptually introduce the concept of internal identity asymmetry. Drawing on the stress and coping literature, I suggest that cognitive appraisal processes moderate asymmetry’s positive or negative outcomes. Through field studies of over 300 working individuals, in my second paper (Chapter 3), I demonstrate the importance of internal identity asymmetry and its appraisal by examining its impacts on individuals’ attitudes and performance. Importantly, I show that while asymmetry may drive negative attitudes, at the same time it can positively impact an individual’s performance. Finally, incorporating the gender and leadership literatures, I explore the subjective experience of internal identity asymmetry through qualitative interviews of women leaders. I explore the types of asymmetry experienced by women, delve into the strategies they use to cope with and manage the experience, and uncover when they are most likely to experience it throughout their careers. Together these studies provide us with a greater understanding of an important intra-individual phenomenon - internal identity asymmetry - that has significant implications for individuals at work.
Investigating the Process of Ethical Decision-Making: How Moral Agency and Moral Identity Influence Moral Imagination.
In four experiments, I investigate how moral imagination is enhanced or inhibited by the personal attributes of the decision maker and the characteristics of the environment within which the ethical decision is made. Specifically, I examine how moral identity and four kinds of moral agency that are derived from external sources (role autonomy, ethical organizational culture) and internal sources (power, moral efficacy) affect the degree of moral imagination in response to an ethical dilemma. Moral imagination is a creative form of ethical decision-making that requires decision makers to generate multiple alternative and novel courses of action, to apply multiple moral reasoning strategies, and to consider the consequences for multiple stakeholders. Results show that people in an unethical organizational culture are more likely to generate a greater number of novel courses of actions than people in an ethical organizational culture; high power people are more likely to use a greater number of moral reasoning strategies to determine the least likely course of action, and to consider the consequences for a greater number of stakeholders than low power people; and high moral efficacy people are more likely to generate a greater number of initial actions, and to consider the consequences for a greater number of stakeholders than low moral efficacy people. Moral identity (symbolization) moderates the relationship between role autonomy and the number of moral reasoning strategies used to determine the most likely course of action; moral identity (internalization) moderates the relationship between an organizational culture and the number of novel actions generated and the number of stakeholders considered; and moral identity (internalization) moderates the relationship between moral efficacy and the number of initial actions generated in response to an ethical dilemma. The moderating effect of moral identity internalization and symbolization on the relationship between moral agency (role autonomy, organizational culture, moral efficacy) and some dimensions of moral imagination are stronger for low moral identity people than high moral identity people. I gained three overall insights into the individual and situational factors that shape the process of ethical decision-making. The first insight is that some, but not all sources of moral agency directly affect, or interact with moral identity to affect, the degree of moral imagination in response to an ethical dilemma. A potential boundary condition for the effect of moral agency on moral imagination is the extent to which moral agency provides information about moral standards (i.e., contains moral content), and provides information about the agent‘s behavior in relation to those moral standards (i.e., contains a feedback mechanism). The second insight is that the moderating effect of moral identity on the relationship between moral identity and moral imagination is stronger for people with low rather than high moral identity. In other words, the experience of moral agency (e.g., organizational culture and moral efficacy) is more effective at increasing the level of moral imagination for people who do not define themselves as moral (i.e., low moral identity) than people who already define themselves as moral (i.e., high moral identity). The third insight is that moral agency (e.g., organizational culture and moral efficacy) and moral identity have a greatest impact on the dimensions of moral imagination that require a person to generate multiple alternative and novel courses of action, and to consider the consequences for multiple stakeholders.
Group faultlines in strategic alliances
This dissertation progresses the notion of group faultlines by explaining how group processes and outcomes result from the interplay between group faultlines and group context, specifically in groups with members from different organizations. Group faultlines, which are alignments of multiple diversity attributes in groups, have been shown to strongly affect group functioning. In current research, a broad definition of faultlines and a main focus on the direct effects of faultlines has resulted in inconclusive findings with both positive and negative effects. While it is widely recognized that the effects of faultlines are contingent on the “group’s task context”, these contingencies are rarely included in group faultline theory. I aim to facilitate more precise assertions by segregating context from the conceptualization of faultlines and reposition context in the faultline framework to account for its effects. To this end, I decontextualize the concept of faultlines, and propose that context can be captured by distinguishing between subgroup activators and deactivators. In an experiment study I address the role of subgroup formation from faultline in relation to conflicts and outcomes and furthermore introduce and test the notion of cascading faultlines, to explain how faultlines in one team can activate faultlines and subgroups in another team. Where previous alliance research mostly resides on the macro-level, I next construct an alliance multiteam system (AMTS) framework in order to provide researchers with a meso-level approach to strategic alliances and a collaborative platform for future research. Extending from this AMTS platform I conduct a case study to investigate faultlines and their effects on alliance instability in order to conceptualize faultlines on the AMTS level and get insights on their activation and deactivation. My conceptual studies, experiment, and case study indicate that team contextual elements, such as goal and mental model asymmetries, can trigger processes within and between teams that can lead teams and even networks of teams to break along their faultlines, where other elements can strengthen team internal structures. Key contributions to the faultline literature are a more profound view on the conditions under which faultlines affect group processes and outcomes within and between teams, a more profound understanding of group faultlines in multiteam systems and the performance of strategic alliances as a result of within and between team faultlines.
Liquidity of German covered bonds before and during the financial crisis
Following the 2008 financial crisis, covered bonds (bank-issued debt instruments with credit enhancements such as dual-recourse and dynamic cover pool) have been discussed as an alternative to mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) because of their potential of adding stability to the banking system. While being liquid is a key feature of the MBS market, the liquidity of covered bonds remains less well-understood by investors and academics. To better understand covered bonds, this project measures the liquidity of German covered bonds using transactional data and several common proxies. Results show that German covered bond liquidity is resilient: German covered bonds became less liquid after the Lehman Brothers default and recovered to the pre-crisis level in only one year. Surprisingly, jumbo covered bonds (a conventionally more liquid covered bond market) have lost their liquidity advantage since the onset of the fi nancial crisis. Furthermore, although the covered bond market remained relatively liquid after the Lehman shock, the illiquidity risk premium has become larger post-Lehman compared to pre-Lehman, implying that investors require a higher compensation for holding illiquid covered bonds. The result of this study may have implications for countries that are new to covered bonds to emphasize on managing the liquidity of this market.