World Futures Review September Special Issue: How to Teach Foresight?


wfra_10_3_coverWorld Futures Review features a special issue for September entitled, Foresight Education! How should business schools incorporate foresight education and other topics are addressed.  Several abstracts are featured below. Please note that the full articles will be free to read for a limited time.



“Why All Business Schools Should Teach Foresight: Perspectives from More Than a Decade at the University of Notre Dame”


This article advocates that business schools include a formalized foresight educational experience more widely in their curriculums. As a group charged with educating business leaders of tomorrow, the cultivation of the skill-set and mind-set necessary for anticipating change and positioning organizations for future success and survival should no longer be left to chance. For the past decade, the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame has required all undergraduate students to take a course titled Foresight in Business and Society. During this time, the Mendoza foresight faculty team has gained perspective on the design and value of a futures research learning experience for our students. Five underlying design principles are presented that have shaped the delivery and execution of the course these revolve around: developing great leaders, confronting ambiguous questions, experiential understanding, rigorous exploration, and anticipation as a force for good. As with any design-based perspective, the article concludes with challenges and pitfalls in recognition that the process is not always linear or smooth. But to other educators on this journey, the challenges are manageable and the promise and prospects for students makes it worthwhile.


Most fields of study have introductory textbooks with the word “principles” in the title: “Principles of Economics,” “Principles of Ecology,” and many others. The principles explained in these textbooks are the core unifying and ordering concepts for their respective fields. They provide a frame of reference for students who are new to the field and taking the first steps toward mastering it. The abundance of “principles” textbooks and long history of the use of core principles in education suggest that a clear set of unifying principles may be a useful way to teach students how to productively think about and understand complex topics. This article identifies and describes a set of core principles for thinking about the future based on a review of more than 50 years of published futures research literature. The ten principles are as follows: The future is (1) plural; (2) possible, plausible, probable, and preferable; (3) open; (4) fuzzy; (5) surprising; (6) not surprising; (7) fast; (8) slow; (9) archetypal; and (10) inbound and outbound. The principles are described and their potential educational use is discussed. Core futures principles may be useful for introducing students of all ages to thinking about and preparing for the future.

“School-Wide Foresight Education: All Together Now!”

Textbooks Desks Tables Classroom GuiyangSchools are better when futures studies are included in the curriculum. This is not common today but can become common with creative and persistent effort. A plan is offered for systematic and sustained promotion in the nation’s K–12 school system. Examples are provided of projects for age appropriate employ throughout K–12 schooling.

World Futures Review (WFR) seeks to encourage and facilitate communication researchers and practitioners in all related fields. WFR relies on its readers to provide the necessary balance through their responses to controversial or one-sided material.

To submit your work to this journal, check out these guidelines!

Future photo attributed to Free Photos

Notre Dame logo attributed to Free Photos.

Idea photo attributed to Free Photos.

Classroom photo attributed to Free Photos.





Local Banking Development and the Use of Debt Financing by New Firms


[Professor Marc Deloof of the University of Antwerp, Maurizio La Rocca of the Universita degli Studi della Calabria, and Tom Vanacker of Ghent University recently wrote an article in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice entitled “Local banking development and the use of debt financing by new firms.” It is available for free through this link. Below,  Dr. Deloof explains the inspiration behind this research and reveals additional findings not included in the final publication.

ETP_72ppiRGB_powerpointBank debt represents a critical source of external financing for new firms. At the same time, attracting bank debt remains a major challenge for many new firms. In this study, we ask the following question: How does local banking development—taking into account the presence of different types of banks—affect the use of debt by new firms? We use a unique dataset covering data on 274,271 Italian new firms founded between 2007 and 2013. Italy provides an ideal setting to address this question as it is characterized by significant differences in local banking development, and all Italian firms, including new firms, are required to report detailed financial accounts.

Our results suggest that new firms have a better access to debt in provinces where there are more bank branches. Additionally, the cost of debt for new firms is lower in those provinces. Thus, more bank branches in a province not only make debt more accessible but also cheaper for new firms. Debt financing is also associated with a greater or similar likelihood of survival in provinces with high branch density, compared to provinces with low branch density. This result is inconsistent with the argument that firms receiving loans in provinces with a higher branch density tend to be of poorer quality.

However, we also find that the presence of more foreign banks in a province reduces access to bank debt for new firms. This finding offers an important counter to the often acclaimed beneficial effects of internationalization in banking sectors. Foreign banks “cream skim” whereby they lend only to the most profitable and established local firms. Foreign banks thus make it harder for domestic banks to lend to new firms if the foreign banks consistently take away more profitable business from the domestic banks.

Our results carry important practical implications for entrepreneurs and policy-makers. Particularly entrepreneurs that are setting up new firms that are highly dependent on external debt financing may benefit from selecting locations that are rich in terms of local and national banks. Policy-makers have often been concerned with the consolidation of the local banking system and its impact on the financing of informationally opaque firms, such as new firms. On the one hand, our results are encouraging, in that both branches of local banks and branches of national banks increase the availability of debt financing for new firms. However, when consolidation involves a general reduction in branch density of domestic (local and national) banks this is problematic for new firms. Moreover, our study suggests that a particular concern for policy-makers may be the increasing globalization in the banking industry, particularly in Europe where an increasing integration of financial markets at the E.U. level is actively promoted.

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Banker photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

Do Family Firms Have a Trust Advantage?


[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Susanne Beck of LBG Open Innovation in Science Center and Dr. Reinhard Prügl of the University Friedrichshafen, who recently published an article in Family Business Review entitled, “Family Firm Reputation and Humanization: Consumers and the Trust Advantage of Family Firms Under Different Conditions of Brand Familiarity,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the significance of the article.

fbra_30_2.coverWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

Authors: Observing an increasing number of publications using fictitious brands, we were asked by family entrepreneurs if the discovered trust advantage of family firms holds true for brands consumers are already familiar with. As we did not have an answer for this question and did not find any literature talking to that question we started this research project.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

Authors: As already mentioned above, this research was primarily triggered by extensive discussions with different family entrepreneurs. Furthermore, as family firms are the dominant organizational form in almost all economies around the world, and as we do not fully understand yet how the perception of this governance structure affects major stakeholder groups, we decided to contribute to explore and better understand the underlying dynamics.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Authors: It was a really challenge to find companies willing to let us use their real brands for our studies. Furthermore, it was not easy to integrate four studies into one single paper. Nevertheless, we received great guidance throughout the process from our Editor Allison Pearson which finally made it possible to solve the riddle successfully. The biggest surprise on our side was two-folded: a) that the trust advantage and its consequences on purchase intention remain for real and familiar brands, and b) the discovery of a stronger “humanization” of the brand as a major underlying reason for the existence of the trust advantage of family firms.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Authors: We think that we are able to contribute by a) finding evidence for the trust advantage of family firms even if stakeholders (in our case consumers) are already familiar with the brand, and b) by discovering “humanization” of the brand as a central mechanism explaining the trust advantage ascribed to family firms. By that we hope to bring forward the interesting field of family business branding, furthering our understanding of its antecedents and consequences based on theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

Authors: In the end and thanks to great guidance from the editorial side we were able to include all four studies into a mixed-methods design. This was challenging but the result is very satisfying.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Authors: Join in! There are lot of things to discover in the field of family business brands. As a start there are several review papers we would recommend: Beck, 2016; Binz Astrachan, Botero, Astrachan, & Prügl, 2018; and Sageder, Mitter, & Feldbauer-Durstmüller, 2018 are great starting points to quickly dive into the topic. Furthermore: just e-mail us, we are ready to discuss upcoming questions with you

What is the most important/ influential piece of scholarship you’ve read in the last year?

Authors: That is a VERY difficult question as there are so many interesting pieces out there. What we definitely would recommend: reading literature from different and seemingly unrelated areas, for example in the topic of this paper it helped us a lot to read the literature from of course family business, but also marketing, management, psychology, economics, or experimental methods.

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Handshake Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

How Should Paradox Be Studied?

[We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Gail T. Fairhurst of  the University of Cincinnati and Linda L. Putnam of the University of California, Santa Barbara. They recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled, “An Integrative Methodology for Organizational Oppositions: Aligning Grounded Theory and Discourse Analysis,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Fairhurst reflects on the methodology and significance of this research:]


Does the study of organizational paradox require its own unique methods?

As scholarship on paradox weaves itself ever more strongly into the fabric of the organizational sciences, we take the unusual position in our article that the answer is “yes.” Grounded theory methods have certainly done yeoman’s work in explaining this concept but, like all methods, it has its limitations. There is also a complexity to paradox due to its embeddedness in the daily actions and interactions of organizational life that are hard to capture. This complexity may explain the rampant definitional confusion in the literature over such related concepts as tensions, contradictions, and dialectics. It may explain the relative lack of attention to power dynamics in paradox research and the underutilized data from exhaustive interview or mixed method studies that could tell us something more about the origins of paradox and how it organizes life in organizations.

Our article offers paradox researchers a more refined method in the hopes of addressing some of these concerns. We propose an integrative methodology for studying paradox (and related oppositional phenomena) by aligning grounded theory techniques with the little “d” and big “D” orientations of organizational discourse analysis. This integrative methodology not only aids in identifying and determining various types of organizational oppositions and responses to them, but also fosters assessment of their potential power effects and micro organizing dynamics.

We should hasten to add that we provide an extended example explaining our methodology for the adventurous paradox researcher wishing to give it a try. We also conclude with a discussion of some possible new directions for using this approach, including the study of disorder and disequilibrium in organizations—and moving beyond just the study of paradox. We believe that grounded theory and organizational discourse analysis have some natural compatibilities that could serve other research areas as well. We very much hope to inspire paradox researchers to give this new methodology a try!

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Read the September Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly!

asqa_63_3_coverWe are pleased to announce that the September Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available to read for a limited time.

Check out the editorial which discusses the ASQ Scholarly Award for Scholarly Contribution which was awarded to  Adam M. Kleinbaum for his article, “Organizational Misfits and the Origins of Brokerage in Intrafirm Networks.”

In the research article, “The Structural Origins of Unearned Status: How Arbitrary Changes in Categories Affect Status Position and Market Impact,” included in this issue, the relationship among status, actors’ quality, and market outcomes are discussed. You can find the abstract below.

customer-experience-3024488__340.jpgFocusing on the categorical nature of many status orderings, we examine the relationship among status, actors’ quality, and market outcomes. As markets evolve, the number of categories that structure them can increase, creating opportunities for new actors to be bestowed status, or it can decrease, dethroning certain actors from their superior standing. In both cases, gains and losses of status may occur without changes in actors’ quality. Because audiences rely on status signals to infer the value of market actors, these exogenously generated status shifts can translate into changes in how audiences perceive actors, resulting in benefits for unearned status gains and costs for unearned status losses. We find support for our hypotheses in a sample of equity analysts at U.S. brokerage firms. Using data on the coveted Institutional Investor magazine All-Star award, we find that analysts whose status increases because of a category addition see corresponding increases in the stock market’s response to their earnings estimates, while those who lose status see corresponding reductions. Our results suggest that the greater weight accorded to high-status actors may be misguided if that status occurs for structural reasons such as category changes rather than because of an actor’s own quality.

This intriguing study, “Anchored Personalization in Managing Goal Conflict between Professional Groups: The Case of U.S. Army Mental Health Care” delves into conflict between groups that pursue different goals. You can find the abstract below:

Mental-health-2313426_640Organizational life is rife with conflict between groups that pursue different goals, particularly when groups have strong commitments to professional identities developed outside the organization. I use data from a 30-month comparative ethnographic field study of four U.S. Army combat brigades to examine conflict between commanders who had a goal of fielding a mission-ready force and mental health providers who had a goal of providing rehabilitative mental health care to soldiers. All commanders and providers faced goal and identity conflict and had access to similar integrative mechanisms. Yet only those associated with two brigades addressed these conflicts in ways that accomplished the army’s superordinate goal of having both mission-ready and mentally healthy soldiers. Both successful brigades used what I call “anchored personalization” practices, which included developing personalized relations across groups, anchoring members in their home group identity, and co-constructing integrative solutions to conflict. These practices were supported by an organizational structure in which professionals were assigned to work with specific members of the other group, while remaining embedded within their home group. In contrast, an organizational structure promoting only anchoring in one’s home group identity led to failure when each group pursued its own goals at the expense of the other group’s goals. A structure promoting only personalization across groups without anchoring in one’s home group identity led to failure from cooptation by the dominant group. This study contributes to our understanding of how groups with strong professional identities can work together in service of their organization’s superordinate goals when traditional mechanisms fail.

To listen to the latest ASQ podcast click here.

Ranking photo attributed to Free Photos.

Mental Health photo attributed to Free Photos.

SGR Best Paper Award

We are pleased to congratulate Dr. Wei Zheng from the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Jun Wei from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, China for winning the Small Group Research 2017-2018 Best Paper Award.  The abstract of the article, “Linking Ethnic Composition and Performance: Information Integration Between Majority and Minority Members,” is below and the article will be free to read for a limited time.

sgrd_49_4_coverOften labeled a double-edged sword, diversity can not only trigger social categorization that dampens group cohesion and performance, but it can also increase available information resources and enhance group performance. The ways in which a group integrates information from diverse members play a central role in determining whether and how it can reap benefits from diversity. Guided by research in team diversity and relational demography, we take a diversity-as-disparity approach and focus on the extent of information integration between majority- and minority-status members in a group. Specifically, drawing from social network research, we examine whether majority–minority information brokerage equality mediates the impact of ethnic composition on group performance. Based on data from 540 employees in 34 work groups from a Chinese organization, we find that majority–minority information brokerage equality mediates the impact of ethnic composition on performance but only when group climate is high. We also discuss theoretical and practical implications.

Have research on important group and team research literature? Check out the submission guidelines for the 2021 Review Issue!

Do higher education systems promote an entrepreneurial intention among college students?

JOE 25-1 (2016)—PressExplore this article from The Journal of Entrepreneurship entitled, “Examining Entrepreneurial Intention in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study of College Students in India” free for a limited time.

The societal significance of entrepreneurship goes undisputed in the contemporary world because entrepreneurship is strongly tied with the economic and social progress within a nation state. Through the creation of new activities, entrepreneurs assist a country in acquiring a position in the progressive global market by providing an edge with innovation and international collaborative initiatives. Recently, the Government of India has promoted several programmes for the development of entrepreneurship, the two notable programmes being the ‘Startup & Stand up India Initiatives’ that were launched in 2015. Though these initiatives are applauded, there is still a dearth of programmes implemented for encouraging increased entrepreneurial activity among college students, which would promote and accelerate the growth of new entrepreneurs across a variety of disciplines. In relation to this entrepreneurship education programmes, it is hoped that college students must have motivation and confidence to be proactive, creative as well as capable of facilitating the start-up business ventures for themselves.


It has been noted that the need for entrepreneurship education becomes critical because such an education will directly affect the decision-making capabilities of the students when they become managers, which in turn will lead to the reduction in the risk of failure and increasing the benefits for all. It is believed entrepreneurial education entails those activities that involve the development of skill-based knowledge, approaches, attitudes and qualities.

With the recognition of entrepreneurship as an independent discipline with definite teachable hard skills, Entrepreneurship Education has increasingly gained popularity among academics all around the world. This has stimulated the introduction of various programmes for participants from elementary to higher education. Governments have enthusiastically started developing the entrepreneurial capacity of college graduates through a range of training and awareness programmes that assist in fostering entrepreneurial behaviour as well as passion and spirit among the youth, so that they can succeed in their endeavour. Such programmes need to be speedily included and internalised in higher education curricula and teaching methodology so that interested students can be equipped with necessary potential to start business based on the disciplines that they have studied or are interested in as a practical career alternative. During the education process, the focus must be on the skill sets that are required to be imparted in accordance with the age and development of the student concerned.

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