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.

Top Management Team Diversity, Equality and Innovation in the Health Care Industry

[We’re pleased to welcome A. Erin Bass of the University of Nebraska Omaha. She recently published an article in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Top Management Team Diversity, Equality, and Innovation: A Multilevel Investigation of the Health Care Industry,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, she writes about her research.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

I was motivated to pursue this research because I have always been interested in inequality issues, and equality is important in every aspect of organizations–from hiring to promotions to compensation. In this article, I examine equality issues in healthcare–an industry in which this issue is becoming more and more of a headline. When I speak to my female colleagues in healthcare, they all agree that equality issues are something they deal with on a daily basis. I wanted to see if equality matters for a key organizational outcome–innovation. The article indicates important relationships between female representation and compensation and innovation. I hope this angle can be used to encourage more equality in healthcare.

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

I was unaware of what a great presence female medical professionals have on social media and beyond! For example, my colleague, Dr. Sasha Shillcutt, is not only an anesthesiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she is also an entrepreneur, creating a huge online community, https://www.becomebraveenough.com/, to support equality issues for females in healthcare. In speaking to her and others, I realized this is a huge issue and one that I wanted to contribute to. By linking equality to an important organizational outcome, innovation, I demonstrate how equality is not just a feel-good motive–it has important organizational implications as well!

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

I hope this research will make healthcare organizations realize the value of equality in top management teams, and how having females represented and equally compensated will actually drive innovation for the organization. In an era with rapid innovation and hyper-competition, what organization wouldn’t want to promote equality to help drive new technologies and solutions?!?

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Introduction to the Special Issue on “Social Movements and Private Environmental Governance”

[We’re pleased to welcome author Thomas P. Lyon of the University of Michigan. He recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Introduction to the Special Issue on ‘Social Movements and Private Environmental Governance’,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Lyons reflects on the research published in this issue:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

From a practical perspective, private environmental governance is of crucial importance to solving pressing environmental problems. Laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act produced enormous benefits, but in recent years political gridlock has often blocked further progress. The failure of the US Congress to address climate change is the most egregious example. As a result, attention has shifted to what can be accomplished by social movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working directly with business.

From an intellectual perspective, the study of social movements and private environmental governance is a rich area of inquiry, but one that is being pursued in intellectual “siloes” in economics, political science, sociology, management, and law. There is a need for true interdisciplinary research bringing together the insights from these disparate research fields.

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

The papers in this Special Issue represent a bold attempt to bridge the gaps between disciplines and spark new research that combines their insights. They emerged from a workshop I organized in May, 2016, with financial and logistical support from the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Its purpose was to help build an international, interdisciplinary research community interested in social movements, NGO activism, private governance, and information disclosure.

Of the five papers in the Special Issue, two were papers I commissioned from specific authors. I asked Anthony Heyes and Brayden King—leading scholars in economics and sociology, respectively—to collaborate on a survey of research frontiers in the organization of environmental activism. Seldom do economists and sociologists write together, but these two produced a first-rate paper that I believe will shape the next generation of research in this area.

I also asked Graham Bullock and Hamish van der Ven—two exciting young political scientists–to collaborate on a paper about the role of consumers in ratings, certifications and eco-labels. Both have new books on information disclosure programs, and I felt that a paper combining their insights on the role of consumers would be of broad interest. They graciously accepted the challenge and produced a first-rate paper that reconciles paradoxical findings in the literature and offers a pathway forward for future research.

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

Read the papers in the Special Issue! Although much has been learned about private environmental governance, much remains to be understood. Many of the most interesting questions lie at the boundaries between disciplines. Answering them will require a new generation of interdisciplinary research that builds on existing insights and fills in the many gaps that remain. Finally, as President of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS), I encourage interested researchers to join ARCS! Our annual conference, held each year in late spring, gets great papers and provides tough but constructive feedback in a friendly atmosphere.

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Is Facebook today’s Compuserve? How Libra could hasten its demise

Will Libra be Facebook’s downfall? (Shutterstock)

Marc-David L. Seidel, University of British Columbia

When Mark Zuckerberg was five years old in 1989, two dominant players in telecommunications made a big announcement.

Compuserve (the first major commercial online service provider) and MCI Mail (one of the first commercial e-mail service providers) introduced commercial e-mail relays to the public internet. These relays connected their centralized networks to the public, outside of their direct control.

Facebook’s announcement of entering the distributed trust era with Libra, a new cryptocurrency, is the modern-day equivalent.

And it’s likely to have the same result.

Private precursor to public internet

Launched in 1969, Compuserve was an innovator in shared computing. In 1979, it launched Micronet, the first consumer e-mail system. This was quickly followed in 1980 with CB Simulator, the first real-time online chat service.

Novation CAT Acoustic Coupler, used in the late 70s and early 80s to connect computers via telephone lines. Wikimedia Commons

Compuserve quickly added a wide range of consumer information services such as weather, stock quotes and discussion forums. It tied people together globally through its its centrally owned worldwide network.

By 1991, Compuserve had more than 500,000 simultaneous online users. In 1995, it was the largest online service with over three million users.

It has since been called the “Google of the ‘80s.

But the big difference is that its network was private and centrally controlled. It was not an open network like the public internet.

Publicizing the commercial internet

Early coverage of Compuserve and MCI’s gateways described the relatively unknown internet as a worldwide research network of government agencies, universities and commercial firms.

This started to legitimize commercial uses of the internet for the general public, but was not without its controversies at the time.

Overall, the relays announcement helped give legitimacy and publicity to the emerging public commercial internet. It started the path to weakening the centralized power of Compuserve and MCI.

At first, the cutting-edge announcement by Compuserve and MCI gave them an advantage. It also gave them the opportunity to shape some of the initial public conceptions of the public internet.

Traditional industries started coming online, giving further legitimacy to internet commerce.

But these organizations were designed in a time of centralized control. Their model of charging consumers was based on usage. Compuserve stuck with that old model and as late as 1994 they still charged 15 cents per Internet e-mail received — including for spam.

Power shifts

The shift to more distributed production models, where content was produced by people outside of the organization, was a new world. Many, including Compuserve and MCI, eventually lost power to be replaced by new organizations designed for this new content production model. In 1994, a New York Times piece suggested “…it makes more economic sense to forget Compuserve and get an Internet account, where mail is free.”

This eventually led to the growth of many modern-day platform companies such as Facebook (created in 2003) and Uber (founded in 2009). Such organizations became dominant powerful companies very quickly, disrupting every major industry.

Historical Internet users by world region since 1990. Max Roser

Silicon Valley model

The transition to the Information Age created new distributed business models.

Modern platform organizations operate with a business model focused on dominating a central, powerful matchmaking role. The Facebook platform matches advertisers with eyeballs, for example. The Uber model matches riders with drivers.

Read more: EU case against Google shows need for new publishing models in the information age

The power of critical mass and the legitimacy of enabling trusted transactions are two keys to the success of platforms. And so the venture capital funding model focuses on building rapid, sustainable growth of these trusted middlemen.

Much of the modern Silicon Valley success story is built around this simple logic.

This evolutionary process parallels the recent emergence of what are known as distributed trust technologies such as blockchain.

The public internet shifted from central control to a shared infrastructure with distributed production.

Now centralized trust is shifting to a shared infrastructure with distributed trust. Distributed trust technologies displace middlemen in transactions, and make us question the role of centralized organizations. Instead of trusting central organizations, people place their trust in the technology itself.

Read more: Beyond Bitcoin: The power struggle over trust-based technology

The previous disruptors are being disrupted themselves.

Facebook’s Libra partners (including Uber, Ebay, Paypal, Spotify, Visa, and Mastercard) read like a Who’s Who of middlemen organizations that are being threatened with disruption by distributed trust.

Old dogs

Organizational theory shows that when market conditions change drastically, organizational inertia can give an advantage to new companies or institutions.

It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, including in the tech sector. Pixabay, CC BY-NC-ND

Old dogs have a hard time learning new tricks.

So it’s no surprise that Libra is entering the space with a “permissioned” model of trust. Such models centralize decision power with a select few — the initial Libra partners.

They are not truly distributed trust models. They are closer to the distributed production models so familiar to major dominant platforms of the last technological wave. On top of that, Facebook will separately offer a proprietary centrally controlled wallet, Calibra, to facilitate Libra transactions.

Read more: Facebook claims Libra offers economic empowerment to billions – an economist is skeptical

The Libra white paper promises an eventual relaxing of that centralized control to a “permissionless” model. But it offers no realistic path or requirement to do so.

It asks participants to “trust us” that a truly distributed trust model will come in the future.


History suggests Facebook’s introduction of Libra will ultimately help legitimize distributed trust technologies. Major players endorsing Libra adds legitimacy to distributed trust technologies.

The initial actions of Compuserve and MCI Mail led to government legislation. The increased focus on distributed trust generated by Libra will too.

Part of this is due to past breaches of trust by Facebook. In fact, there are already calls for regulation in the United States, Europe and Australia. Regulations and public discourse will help to bring further legitimacy to distributed trust models.

Regulators should be cautious about biasing legislation to favour incumbents, however, and ensure an open evolution of the true capabilities of distributed trust.


Such legitimacy reduces the major barriers to new business models built on a shared, distributed trust infrastructure. This creates a major opportunity for new forms of organizing designed without the burdens of past organizational inertia.

There is a good chance that Libra’s partners will gain short-term power with this move. Technology diffusion processes can reward first movers.

But those companies were not initially designed to survive in such distributed trust models, and are plagued by organizational inertia.

So the creation of Libra, and the legitimacy it will give to the underlying technologies, paradoxically will ultimately speed the demise of the very same organizations. Bitcoin’s price, for example, has soared since the Libra announcement, even though Bitcoin itself is likely to be eventually disrupted by others.

The stars of the modern, platform-based internet are likely to eventually join the ranks of Compuserve and MCI Mail. They will be replaced with the next generation of organizing designed for these new models of distributed trust — and not burdened by the inertia of the centrally controlled past.

Perhaps Facebook is the Compuserve of 2019.

Marc-David L. Seidel, RBC Financial Group Professor of Entrepreneurship & Associate Professor, OBHR Division, University of British Columbia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Is Your Team Functioning Well?

[We’re pleased to welcome John E. Mathieu of the University of Connecticut, Margaret M. Luciano Arizona State University, Lauren D’Innocenzo of Drexel University, Elizabeth A. Klock of the University of Connecticut, Jeffery A. LePine of Arizona State University. They recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled, “The Development and Construct Validity of a Team Processes Survey Measure,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on  this research:]


Teams are how many, if not most, current organizations deploy their human resources for competitive advantage. But it is difficult to know how well those teams are functioning. We develop reliable and valid measures of team processes and share them freely for noncommercial use. We provide 50-, 30-, and 10-item versions of the measures suitable for different applications.

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The Relationship between Tattoos and Employee Workplace Deviance

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Michael J. Tews of Pennsylvania State University and Kathryn Stafford of Ohio State University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research entitled “The Relationship Between Tattoos and Employee Workplace Deviance,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the motivations and innovations of this research.]

Whereas tattoos were once characterized as a deviant art form, tattoos are now in the mainstream in today’s society. Despite some employers being more open to tattoos on employees, research generally finds that individuals adorned with tattoos are perceived as less suitable for employment than those without. The motivation for the present study was to explore whether there is any justification for such an anti-tattoo bias, or if such bias is purely discriminatory. In other words, do employees with tattoos behave differently from those without them? Could their behavior harm their employer or their fellow workers? Given the unprecedented number of tattoos on individuals today, examining this issue was timely and warranted.

This research examined the relationship between tattoos and organizational and interpersonal deviance, with a sample of 518 employees working in the hospitality industry. Examples of organizational deviance include coming to work late without permission and using illegal drugs on the job; while examples of interpersonal deviance include making fun of someone and embarrassing someone at work. Although previous research signals that tattoos are a marker for deviant behavior in general, the relationship between tattoos and deviance has not been examined in the context of the workplace.

Whether or not an employee was merely tattooed did not factor into deviant behavior, but number and type of tattoo did. As the number of tattoos increased, so did organizational deviance. In addition, being adorned with ‘darker’ tattoos was related to both types of deviance, although the effects were not large. Darker tattoos encompass gothic images, symbols reflecting death or violence, and science fiction, among others. These effects held even after controlling for employee personality characteristics.

The primary practical implication is that there may be merit in managers attending to tattoos and restricting them in the workplace. At the same time, they should not overestimate their relevance, as the relationship between tattoos and deviance was not large. Those in the position of hiring should be prepared to articulate the potential benefits and drawbacks of considering tattoo status in hiring decisions. On one hand, hiring managers may wish to not discriminate against those with tattoos due to tight labor markets and perceived unfairness by applicants. While on the other hand, hiring managers may wish to consider tattoos when making employment policies and decisions, given the potential for employee behavior that runs counter to employer interests.

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Work Group Inclusion

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Beth G. Chung of San Diego State University, Karen H. Ehrhart of the University of Central Florida, Lynn M. Shore of Colorado State University, Amy E. Randel of San Diego State University, Michelle A. Dean of San Diego State University, and Uma Kedharnath of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. They recently published an article in Group and Organization Management entitled “Work Group Inclusion: Test of a Scale and Model” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they recount the motivations and challenges of this research:]

We decided to pursue this research because of the momentum the concept of inclusion has gained in both the academic and business world. Part of this momentum was generated by a conceptual paper (Shore et al., 2011) we wrote that clearly defined the concept of inclusion in the literature. According to our conceptual paper, inclusion is feeling like you belong and are accepted for your uniqueness in a group. The conceptual paper also forwarded a theoretical model to be tested. The current paper does just that. We test a measure of inclusion that contains both uniqueness and belongingness and we test a complete model of the predictors and outcomes of work group inclusion.

One of the most challenging aspects of doing work on inclusion and diversity is that companies are sometimes weary of providing data regarding these topics. Although the information provided by our research can only help organizations improve, the tendency is to shy away from research that might reveal unbecoming information. However, with persistence and tenacity, we were able to collect the data and validate a measure that is greatly needed to practically assess inclusion in organizations. It is a short measure (10-items) that can help an organization assess whether their employees feel inclusion within their workgroups. We are able to show that these feelings of inclusion have important consequences such as improved performance, creativity, and increased helping behavior. We believe that this article will be useful to both academics and practitioners alike.

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When Customers Push Back: The Dangers of Service Divestment and How to Avoid Them

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Christina M. Haenel of the University of Goettingen, Hauke A. Wetzel of Massey University, and Maik Hammerschmidt of the University of Goettingen. They recently published an article in Journal of Service Research entitled “The Perils of Service Contract Divestment: When and Why Customers Seek Revenge and How It Can Be Attenuated,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on this research:]

Divesting from unprofitable customers is a widely-established practice in many service industries. Service providers often demote (i.e., they cut back services) or terminate customer service contracts (i.e, they end service provision). The idea is that investing less in unprofitable customer relationships saves costs and enhances firm profitability.

Our recent study forthcoming in Journal of Service Research shows, however, that such practices may severely harm future business. In particular, service contract demotion and termination trigger customer revenge, including aggressive behaviors towards employees, negative word-of-mouth, and third-party complaining for negative publicity.

The good news for service providers who rely on divestment practices is that customer revenge depends on the divestment practice and the targeted customers. Customer revenge is much less likely if customers implicitly agree with the service provider’s initiative. Unsatisfied customers are less likely to become angry and take revenge when their contracts are terminated than when they are demoted. For satisfied customers it is the other way around. Thus, when service providers wish to divest from specific relationships, they should terminate unsatisfied customers’ contracts but they should demote satisfied customers’ contracts.
For many service providers our findings may come as a surprise as terminating service contracts is generally viewed as a last resort. Drawing an analogy to romantic relationships (that many of us may have experienced themselves) helps to understand the findings: It can be very relieving if an unhappy relationship is ended, whereas we prefer to get a second chance if we value a relationship.

Our study offers another counterintuitive finding. Offering financial compensation or an apology turn out to be double-edged swords that can serve to remedy customer revenge after experiencing service divestment—or reinforce it. It is best to offer financial compensation or apology only to “turn around” customers who implicitly disagree with the service provider’s divestment choice and are likely to take revenge (i.e., if satisfied customers’ relationships are terminated or if unsatisfied customers’ relationships are demoted). It does not make a difference whether financial compensation or an apology are offered. This is an interesting finding in itself as offering an apology is a much cheaper option.

Overall, we contend that for service divestment initiatives to minimize customer revenge, the customer’s perspective on the relationship should be accounted for. If the firm’s chosen divestment approach aligns with the customer’s take on the relationship, service providers may well adopt service divestment practices without fueling customer rage.

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