By Vibhuti Giltrap

Conversations with Ken: Career Advice from NYT’s Adam Bryant

October 16th, 2012 in Conversations with Ken, Dean Freeman, News

Career advice from New York Times editor Adam Bryant

Adam Bryant, New York Times Senior Features Editor, spoke at Boston University School of Management about the patterns, themes, and lessons shared with him by CEOs of companies like Foursquare, Hill Holiday, Panera Bread, and Pfizer.

The Association of Hospital Characteristics and Quality Improvement Activities in Veterans Administration Inpatient Medical Services

July 16th, 2012 in Applications to Firms, Sectors, and Industries, Research Day

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Joseph Restuccia

Operations and Technology Management

Authors: Joseph D. Restuccia, David Mohr, Mark Meterko, Kelly Stolzmann, and Peter Kaboli

Despite considerable recent attention to hospital quality improvement, relatively little is known about the extent hospitals are engaging in quality improvement activities (QIAs) and the hospital characteristics associated with QIAs. We developed and in 2011 administered a survey to Chiefs of Medicine (COMs) at the 124 Veterans Administration with inpatient medical services asking about the extent of use of 27 QIAs on a 5 point Likert scale, anchored by 0 = strongly disagree and 4 = strongly agree. We used multi-trait analysis to group QIAs into 3 scales which we characterized as prevention (e.g. prevention of adverse drug events), information gathering (e.g. benchmarking with other hospitals), and infrastructure (e.g. evidence-based guidelines). We also developed a scale about alignment of goals between senior leaders and the inpatient medicine service. We regressed each QI activity scale and total QIAs on use of hospitalists (physicians who practice only inpatient medicine), use of nurse practitioners or physician assistants, and alignment. Covariates included operating beds, occupancy rate, years of operation, region of country, urban/non-urban, and teaching status. After exclusion of surveys with missing data, we obtained an 84 percent response rate. The most frequently used QIAs were those related to prevention with a mean of 3.38 (with Information gathering = 2.27 and infrastructure = 2.25). Two factors were consistent statistically significant predictors of QIAs, the presence of hospitalists and alignment of senior management and the inpatient medical service. Goal alignment and use of physicians specializing in provision of inpatient medicine appear to enable implementation of QIAs.

Sustainability Babel Fish

July 16th, 2012 in Applications to Firms, Sectors, and Industries

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Nalin Kulatilaka


Authors: Ory Zik and Nalin Kulatilaka

This paper proposes a quantitative measure of sustainability. Using primary energy as a metric, it enables decisions to be made across different activities such as electricity, fuel and water use. By relying on bill data, we eliminate the need for new measurements and readily connect to economics through market prices. We choose the energy content of a gallon of gasoline as the basic unit, which turns out to be the right size and appeals to common intuition. We highlight that there are no ‘one size fits all’ rules governing sustainability decisions. Rather, the appropriate choices depend on location, time, and personal attributes.

Boundary Labeling During Field Emergence: Inclusion and Exclusion in Nanotechnology

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Stine Grodal

Strategy and Innovation

Author: Stine Grodal

Field emergence is a pivotal question in organizational theory. Yet, how the boundaries of organizational fields emerge has received little attention. In the literature examples occur of both boundary contraction and expansion during field emergence, but the mechanisms that facilitate this change are still uninvestigated. I address this gap in the literature through an in-depth longitudinal study of the emerging nanotechnology field. I show that boundary labeling plays a pivotal role in field emergence. In particular I show that the oscillation between expansion and contraction within nanotechnology happened through two boundary processes, which relate to the symbolic and social boundary respectively: amending the definition and conferring membership. I identify the mechanism underlying these two boundary processes to account for the change in the boundaries of nanotechnology over time. Lastly, I discuss how the boundary labeling mechanisms place the locus of institutional change both within the mundane everyday actions of regular field participants and dedicated institutional entrepreneurs.

Liminality as Cultural Process for Cultural Change

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Karen Golden-Biddle

Organizational Behavior

Authors: Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Karen Golden-Biddle, Jenn Irwin, and Jina Mao

This paper offers a revised understanding of intentional cultural change. In contrast to prevailing accounts, we suggest that such change can take place in the absence of initiating jolts, may be infused in everyday organizational life, and led by insiders who need not hold hierarchical power. Drawing on data from field studies and in-depth interviews, we develop a model of cultural change in which everyday occurrences such as meetings or workshops are constructed symbolically as ‘liminal’ phenomena, bracketed from yet connected to everyday action in the organization. The construction of these occurrences as liminal illuminates the symbolic realm, creating possibilities for people to experiment with new cultural resources and invite different interpretations that hold potential for altering the cultural order. Our analyses contribute to the literature on culture by developing liminality, a process that brings forward the symbolic and invites recombination, as a cultural explanation of cultural change, to complement prevailing political or social structural explanations. We discuss implications and boundary conditions for this type of intentional cultural change.

Does Fraud Pay in China?

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Yanbo Wang

Strategy and Innovation

Author:Yanbo Wang

This paper documents the extent of fraudulent reporting in a sample of 148 Chinese SMEs. We compare the financial statements of companies that simultaneously apply for grants from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and that file statements with the local Bureau of Industry and Commerce (BIC), which is a municipal authority. MOST grants, for which the submission of audited financial statements is a requirement, are similar to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in the US. We document a systematic gap in profitability in the two sets of financial statements. We find: (i) only 25% of the companies in the sample report the same level of profitability across the two sets of books; the remaining 75% of companies misrepresent their profitability, most likely by over-reporting their profits in their MOST grant applications; (ii) there is strong evidence of an insider effect in fraudulent reporting: companies led by individuals with close ties to the government are far more likely to commit fraud, and (iii) it pays to cheat; net of ties to the government, we estimate that companies which file discrepant books because they (most likely) exaggerate their profitability in the MOST grant applications have at least 50% higher odds of being awarded a MOST grant.
Boston University School of Management

Innovation, Openness and Platform Control

May 14th, 2012 in Digital Technologies, Research Day

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Marshall Van Alstyne

Information Systems

Authors: Marshall Van Alstyne and Geoffrey Parker

We develop an analytic model to examine the optimal level of openness and the optimal duration of property rights in a platform ecosystem such as that of Apple, Google, Facebook, or Microsoft. The model accounts for two periods of sequential innovation and the subsidies that the platform owner provides to developers in order to increase innovation for that platform. Intuitions are also shaped by dozens of hours with executives at platform firms. This is a working paper.

Attention Allocation in Information-Rich Environments: The Case of News Aggregators

May 14th, 2012 in Digital Technologies, Research Day

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Chris Dellarocas

Information Systems

Authors: Mihai Calin, Chris Dellarocas, Elia Palme, and Juliana Sutanto

News aggregators have emerged as an important component of digital content ecosystems, attracting traffic by hosting collections of links to third party content, but also causing conflict with content producers. Aggregators provide titles and short summaries of articles they link to. Content producers claim that their presence deprives them of traffic that would otherwise flow to their sites. In light of this controversy, we conduct a series of field experiments whose objective is to provide insight with respect to how readers allocate their attention between a news aggregator and the original articles it links to. Our experiments are based on manipulating elements of the user interface of a Swiss mobile news aggregator. We examine how key design parameters, such as the length of the text snippet that an aggregator provides about articles, the presence of associated photos as well as of other related articles on the same story, affect (a) a reader’s propensity to click on an article, (b) the amount of time that the reader spends on that article after clicking, and (c) the amount of time the reader spends on the aggregator. We hope that our results can help aggregators and content creators optimize their relationship for the benefit of both parties.

All Up in Your Facebook: The Legal and Management Implications of Screening Applicants with Social Media

May 14th, 2012 in Digital Technologies, Research Day

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Kabrina Chang

Markets, Public Policy and Law

Author: Kabrina Krebel Chang

You can be fired for off-duty posts to social networking sites. But now you can be hired in just the same way. The new Facebook Score and a Social Networking Report allow employers to use your social networking activity to make hiring decisions. While more than 50% of responding employers in a recent study reported looking at and basing decisions on an applicant’s social networking activity, a newly-devised “Facebook Score” offers employers a five-characteristic checklist for determining suitable employees. Employers can even outsource this task to companies like Social Intelligence, which generate Social Networking Reports similar to traditional credit reports. Are employers crossing a legal line in an attempt to hire the best candidate?

The Hierarchy of Effects (HOE) Meets Paid, Earned, and Owned (POE): How Do Internet Media Work to Drive Brand Sales?

May 14th, 2012 in Digital Technologies, Research Day

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Shuba Srinivasan


Authors: Shuba Srinivasan, Koen Pauwels, Randy Bucklin, and Oliver Rutz

The Internet offers marketers new ways to talk to consumers and helps create a space for one’s brand that consumers can easily access and interact with. It also enables firms to monitor consumers’ conversations, attitudes and much more towards a brand. Within this context, we follow industry nomenclature of paid (search and display), owned (websites) and earned (social) media or “POE.” POE media is an important complement to previously relied upon survey-based metrics (i.e., mindset metrics). The new activity-based metrics are behavior-based data in terms of what consumers actually do and offers potentially lower tracking costs and an opportunity for earlier warning. A critical question is how the POE media elements interact with each other and with traditional marketing mix actions such as price, distribution and offline advertising. Our study, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to investigate paid, owned and earned media in an integrated framework that accounts for a hierarchy of effects or “HOE” on brand performance for a fast-moving consumer good. We show to what extent these media contribute to explaining sales as compared to the traditional marketing mix actions of price, distribution, and advertising. We also establish causal relations among traditional and new media metrics and quantify the long-term differential impact of each element of POE media on brand performance. We find that POE metrics can be leading indicators of brand sales and can be used as early warning signals to fine-tune marketing messages before actual declines in sales occur. Overall, our study should help strengthen marketers’ case for building share in customers’ hearts and minds, as measured through customer online engagement. We conclude with implications for academics and brand managers.