About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

What Motivates Board Members of Founder-Owned Companies?

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Alexander Libman of Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Tatiana Dolgopyatov of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, and Andrei Yakovlev the National Research University Higher School of Economics. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “‘Board Empowerment: What Motivates Board Members of Founder-Owned Companies?” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivations of this research:]


Our study emerged from a puzzling observation we made looking at the development of Russian (and, more generally, emerging markets) companies after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The crisis reduced the benefits of having an advanced and transparent corporate governance structure: international investors (who in many cases demanded better governance practices in the first place) became cautious and unwilling to engage even the most transparent companies. Since maintaining a well-functioning formal corporate governance system is costly, we would expect emerging market companies to abandon it in favor of informal management mechanisms. AFK Sistema – the company we study in our paper – did exactly the opposite. After the crisis, it invested substantial effort into improving the corporate governance, including empowering the board of directors, going well beyond the Russian standards in this respect.

Our paper, therefore, was an attempt to understand how does the company benefit from improving its corporate governance, even if it is created not for investor’s sake? It appears that empowering boards of directors could have another, equally important function: it can increase the motivation of board members, making them eager to invest their time and effort in advancing the cause of the company. This, in turn, opens new business opportunities and new possibilities for growth. These opportunities can be challenged by changes in external environment: after 2014, for example, AFK Sistema faced challenges in Russia related to Bashneft case, which could also influence the further pathway the company will follow in terms of developing the corporate governance. But fundamentally, the approach of empowering boards to improve motivation appears to be sound and beneficial for achieving long-term business growth.

Our argument applies even to companies with concentrated ownership, which traditionally pay less attention to transfer real authorities to the board of directors. In the AFK Sistema, it was the founder, who controls more than 60% of the company’s stock, who triggered and consistently implemented the change towards a more transparent and better organized corporate governance structure.

From this case study, two conclusions follow. First, we show how important it is to go beyond the simple generalizations and to look at more nuanced factors explaining the choices made by individual companies. In some cases, personality and convictions of the key decision-makers can push the company in a new direction, creating avenues from achieving success. Capturing these nuanced factors was, in fact, the main challenge of our research: we had to gain insight into the motivation and the perceptions of the highest echelons of the AFK Sistema (which is one of the biggest Russian companies). It was not enough that the managers and the board members agreed to talk to us to verify facts and to respond to specific questions – we needed to gain insights in their view of how the company develops and why certain decisions are made, without biasing the respondents by our own preconceptions and ideas.

Second, the case of AFK Sistema also shows that the business experience of emerging markets can be used to draw valuable lessons for companies operating elsewhere – the logic of board empowerment as a tool for increasing motivation of directors could be of value for companies in mature markets as well. Emerging markets are not only about hostile business environment – they are (potentially) about managerial innovations with broader relevance

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Examining Experience Portfolios of Subsidiary Executives in Multinational Firms

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Marketa Rickley of the University of Iowa. Dr. Rickley recently published an article in Journal of Management entitled “Cultural Generalists and Cultural Specialists: Examining Experience Portfolios of Subsidiary Executives in Multinational Firms,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Rickley reveals the inspiration for conducting this research:]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

How multinational companies (MNCs) allocate executives to manage foreign subsidiaries located in diverse and challenging markets has long fascinated researchers. However, the emphasis of this research stream has largely been on the antecedents and consequences of selecting expatriates versus local managers. Based on the observations that both expatriate and local managers often have substantial international experiences to draw on to manage a foreign subsidiary, this study sought to move away from placing foreign subsidiary executives into just two distinct categories, which are often insufficient and may be potentially misleading in characterizing these individuals’ experiential backgrounds. This study instead analyzed the depth and breadth of foreign subsidiary executives’ previous international experiences relative to the institutional distance between the MNC headquarters country and the foreign subsidiary country.

In some cases, the MNC headquarters country and the foreign subsidiary country are quite similar. In other cases, the foreign country is quite different along economic, political, and cultural dimensions, making the market presumably more difficult to manage from the perspective of MNC headquarters. The main focus of this research was to determine whether in these more “institutionally distant” foreign subsidiary markets MNCs select executives with (i) a broader or (ii) a more relevant set of previous international experiences. In other words, do they select cultural generalists or cultural specialists to manage more distant foreign markets

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

The answers provided by this study to the research questions above were quite surprising to me personally. I expected that MNCs would select executives whose previous international experiences matched the specific challenge at hand. But instead, the results showed that MNCs reach for cultural generalists – that is, for individuals with a broad set of previous cultural experiences that are not necessarily relevant to the headquarters—subsidiary country pair. Interestingly, this finding is true in both the expatriate and local manager sub-sample.

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

Apart from digging deeper into the experiential backgrounds of expatriates and local managers, this study is innovative in the way that it measures generality and specificity of previous international experience. Generality is measured as the cultural distance between the country where the experience was earned, and the executive’s country of origin. Specificity is measured as the cultural distance between the country where the experience was earned, and the “other” country in the headquarters—subsidiary country pair. That is, for a French-owned foreign subsidiary in Romania, its Romanian executive’s specificity international experience would be measured against France – which is the “other” country in the headquarters—subsidiary country pair. The same Romanian executive’s generality of international experience would be measured against Romania – his/her country of origin. Particularly novel about this approach is the fact that each international experience is time-weighted by the number of years the individual spent abroad. Few other studies have been able to analyze international experience at this fine-grained level of detail.

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The Effect of Linguistic Style in an MD&A on Stock Market Reaction

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Mohamed M. Tailab and Dr. Marshall J. Burak of Lincoln University. They recently published an article in International Journal of Business Communication entitled “Examining the Effect of Linguistic Style in an MD&A on Stock Market Reaction,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discuss this research:]


Language as the currency of most human social processes can be converted to words. Investors and market participants attach very different connotations to the words, rely more on intuition than hard data, and react more to the verbal tone. Quantitative information contained in financial annual reports in general and in an MD&A in particular does not provide a complete picture to the investors about the expected firm value. So, the need arises to analyze the effect of narrative disclosures on market reaction as well. In addition, analyzing narrative disclosures is more easily understood than quantitative data, but at the same time it offers a different perspective. This initiated our research interests and concerns to explore in depth the impact of linguistic style in narrative disclosures on decision makers.Therefore, we decided to investigate the effect of language used in the MD&A between the speaker (management) and the listeners (investors), which in turn influences market reaction. We had hypothesized that the stock market (return and risk) has a significant response to the linguistic tone contained in the MD&A. Even though the initial hypotheses have never been proven, this study proves principles about the usefulness of an MD&A to investors.

This work expands on the understanding of the business communication literature by using an interdisciplinary approach. This approach has emerged the narrative disclosures with applied linguistic and market reaction. To this end, this paper is the first to use the partial least squares – structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) approach and contributes to the existing body of knowledge in several ways including (a) a new approach to strengths, (b) evaluation of MD&A content, (c) proof that MD&A length does not play a strong role in market reaction, and (d) findings that capital assets pricing model (CAPM) or Farm-French models are more reliable than the realized volatility.

The study indicates that the average of negative tone is greater than the average of positive words in the MD&A. This may be because the study period started in 2010, there is a possibility that the financial crisis still has an effect on the verbal tone of MD&A reports, and allows the management writers to be more conservative. One interesting observation is that the linguistic content in an MD&A was not consistent with financial performance. It can be concluded that that management most likely does not use its financial performance as a guide for writing the MD&A, or maybe it has another criterion for delivering its message to the investors.
A challenging aspect of this work is that using dictionaries built by researchers in other fields (e.g., psychology) may not be appropriate for a content analysis of financial reports. We have limited our research by neglecting the investors’ types and their preferences. So, it would be better if future researches studied the investors’ preferences, what information investors need to find in the MD&A before making their decisions.The study recommends conducting a more efficient analysis of the narrative disclosures to investigate whether management writers communicate truthful information to investors by offering relevant data about financial performance.

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Does Collective Pay for Performance Work?

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Anthony J. Nyberg, Mark A. Maltarich, Dhuha “Dee” Abdulsalam, Spenser M. Essman, and Ormonde Cragun of the University of South Carolina. They recently published an article in Journal of Management entitled “Collective Pay-For-Performance (PFP): A Cross-Disciplinary Review and Meta-Analysis,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Watch the video abstract the authors have created!

Below, they reveal the inspiration for conducting this research:]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

We investigated collective pay for performance (PFP) – pay that is contingent on collective outcomes – for two reasons: First, collective pay is becoming increasingly important and common among organizations. Second, there appear to be discrepancies between the empirical evidence and theoretical explanations for some of these widely used compensation practices.
Organizations are increasingly using collective PFP to motivate interdependent units; however, research on the topic is dispersed across multiple literature streams, and even findings within literature streams, are often contradictory. For instance, some theoretical perspectives suggest that collective PFP should decrease motivation, particularly among higher performers, resulting in lower unit performance; however, collective PFP is generally positively associated with unit performance. Consequently, we integrated multi-disciplinary research fields to try to reconcile disparate findings and improve our understanding of the relationship between collective PFP and unit performance, and to direct future research towards unanswered collective PFP questions.
In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

In conducting this review, we were able to consolidate research from multiple fields (i.e. organizational behavior/psychology, strategic management, economics, and human resources) and multiple pay types (e.g. profit sharing, stock options, team pay), which allowed us to identify where our knowledge was well developed and where research is still needed. We were able to empirically confirm, through the use of meta-analytic techniques, that collective PFP is positively associated with unit performance. Theoretically, we identified inconsistencies across fields and developed an agenda for future research. It is our hope that other researchers can use this review as a guide to help address important unanswered questions regarding collective PFP.

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

The large body of research on collective PFP required substantial time and space to summarize key lessons. Because of this, our manuscript was able to identify but not answer many suggestions for future research. This means that that there remains a need for additional theoretical insights about how collective PFP functions. Specifically, explicating the sorting versus incentive effects and the temporal aspects of collective PFP remain important future topics to be addressed. Additionally, future research should consider examining the effects of collective PFP on alternative outcomes (e.g. competitive advantage) and how collective PFP operates in the context of larger compensation and HR systems.

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Do Gen X and Millennials Learn Differently?

visa_22_1_cover.pngResearch has shown that the current generation in higher education has significantly different learning characteristics than its predecessors.

It is essential to understand this generation’s learning attributes so that educators have useful guidance in designing teaching pedagogies for this generation. It has been found that Millennials do not prefer traditional lecture mode of teaching, traditional communication standards and have zero tolerance to delays.

Findings also suggest that Millennials have a collaborative learning style and enjoy working and learning in groups and teams. They like the use of technology, entertainment and excitement. They prefer structure and experimental activities and learn immediately from their mistakes.

The research in this article published in the journal ‘Vision’ also suggests that there are certain issues of concern with this generation that are particularly worrying such as Millennials demonstrating a lack of drive, motivation and accountability. This generation likes to choose what they learn, how they learn it and when they learn it. Researchers have also pointed out laxity towards their research sources, predisposition to believe peer opinion and public consensus and the absence of original ideas.

The findings also indicate that this generation significantly differs from the previous generation on the attributes of trust and competition. Millennials are found to be more competitive and less trusting than Gen X. This article ‘Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy’ addresses various other learning characteristics exhibited by this generation that are significantly different than those of its predecessor generations.

Click here to read Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy for free from Vision.

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Identity, Mental Health and Work

[We’re pleased to welcome author Hadar Elraz of Cardiff University. Hadar Elraz recently published an article in the Human Relations entitled “Identity, mental health and work: How employees with mental health conditions recount stigma and the pejorative discourse of mental illness,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Hadar Elraz summarises the findings of his study:]

Experiences of mental health in the workplace

huma_71_2.coverThis article examines how identity is constructed for individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace. The study found that people with mental health conditions use their experiences to perform more effectively in the workplace. The same strategies that individuals put in place to manage their mental health can also be applied to prioritize workload effectively, promote mental health awareness and achieve work‒life balance.

In a series of 60 interviews, the study reveals how people with mental health conditions overcome stigma, judgement and discrimination to stay in employment and, in many cases, prosper in the contemporary workplace. Those who have experienced mental ill health have knowledge and expertise about the interface between work and their condition and ways to address them.

The findings shows how the individual sensitivity to these issues addresses all kinds of strategies to manage their mental health and working lives more effectively. The interviews revealed the following coping strategies used by the study participants to manage their mental health conditions:

Maintaining silence

Some respondents recalled how they would maintain silence, coping on their own against all the odds without requesting support. While anti-stigma campaigns and awareness training are not uncommon in many contemporary workplaces, interviewees still felt looked down upon and discriminated against. Non-disclosure might be one response to this type of hostile environment.
One respondent recalled how they “didn’t think people associated mental illness with people who are functioning in high-status jobs. [Instead,] people associate mental illness with people who can’t work.”

Sheer hard work

Others developed strategies to manage their mental health effectively alongside their responsibilities at work, to stay, cope and thrive in employment.

Doubling their efforts in this way led many respondents to reflect on how they have grown more resilient than their colleagues who have not experienced mental ill health.

One respondent said: “I am a strong character. [But,] I don’t think people realise how strong a character you are. They don’t have any reference, because they never suffered from it [mental health condition] themselves.”

Another referred to this as “sheer hard work”, adding: “I just absolutely feel like I’m working twice as hard as anyone else in the place to achieve the same level of output.”

Taking control

Study participants used self-taught and reflexive techniques as well as self-medicating to take control of their health and performance at work. Combining both soft skills and medical insight into their condition made many of the participants experts on managing their mental health conditions within and beyond the working environment.

One respondent said: “I have been doing that for years. I self-manage myself by taking mood stabilisers, anti-depressants […] finding one that works to get you up to a level where you can function.”

Public disclosure

While concealing mental ill health in the workplace was a key concern for many interview participants, some spoke of the positive outcomes associated with public disclosure.
Significantly, the interviewees that were more confident about the security of their employment found public disclosure raised awareness and improved mental health management. Motivated by a desire to share their experiences of mental ill health to encourage broader cultural change, these participants expressed eagerness to assist both employee wellbeing and organisational performance by openly disclosing their mental health experiences at work.

One respondent said: “I think it’s part of me. Why should I hide away? If I see other people, I think if I gave them a bit of insight and knowledge, maybe that’d save them from going through some of the things.”

Allaying their fear of stigma and discrimination, public disclosure represented a legitimisation of mental ill health within the working environment.

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When Leadership Powers Team Learning: A Meta-Analysis

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Mieke Koeslag-Kreunen of Zuyd Hogeschool, Heerlen, Piet Van den Bossche of the University of Antwerp, Michael Hoven of Maastricht University, Marcel Van der Klink of Zuyd Hogeschool, Heerlen, and Wim Gijselaers of Maastricht University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “When Leadership Powers Team Learning: A Meta-Analysis,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discuss some of the findings of this research:]


What motivated you to pursue this research?

We are fascinated why some leaders succeed and others don’t in getting the most out of their teams. Knowing that team processes determine team effectiveness we wanted to know how leadership makes a difference in teams. Keeping in mind that one of the fundamental team processes is sharing knowledge and discussing what is shared to build advanced or new knowledge that enable developing the necessary solutions as a team. We were intrigued by the question how team leaders can facilitate this process of team learning without over-structuring it and leaving no space for team members to exhibit the necessary behaviors themselves. Many different leadership behaviors can be effective, but team leaders simply cannot display all necessary behaviors by themselves. Moreover, what can you do as a team leader when your team faces a task that is unstructured or for which you also do not have the answers? What is the best advice for these team leaders? In answering this question, we wanted to identify when leadership propels teams in building new or advanced knowledge.

In what ways is your research innovative and can it impact the field?

After synthesizing the 2000+ scientific hits on the topic, we showed that encouraging, structuring and sharing team leadership behaviors all support team learning. Interestingly, we also found new evidence that the type of team task determines which leadership behaviors can best be displayed to support teams in building new or advanced knowledge. As a consequence, the advice for team leaders is to vary their behavior depending on the team task and to ascertain the specific team situation in their choice. If pioneering ideas and new products of teams are aimed for, team leaders should mainly invest in building trust, creativity and enthusiasm, and not inhibit teams from learning by putting too much emphasis on the task. If advancing existing knowledge and adaptation of the products is enough to reach team success, team leaders who focus on the task, methods and outcomes are beneficial because such behaviors reinforces using known protocols.

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

It would be interesting to dig into the reciprocal effect of the team process and leadership behavior, as well as how leadership behavior may shift in style and source over time. We mainly found cross-sectional studies that covered just one or two types of team leadership behavior and examines its influence on team learning behavior. Experimental and longitudinal studies on this topic may bring new perspectives on how team leaders can vary their behavior, what kind of effect that has on team learning, and what team leaders can do to use that information in future team interactions, subsequently.

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