Considering Corruption Involved in Postpublication Oversight

[We’re pleased to welcome author Richard Arend of the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled, “Conflicts of Interest as Corrupting the Checks and Balances in the Postpublication Oversight of Academic Business Journals.” Below, Dr. Arend shares highlights of his research and how it will impact the field of management research. Please note that this opinion is wholly Dr. Arend’s and he does not speak for SAGE.]

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWhat motivated you to pursue this research? I was stunned at the failures of post-publication oversight that I confronted as I tried to address articles that were published by others that contained significant misrepresentations that could cause harm. I was under the naive impression that academic peers, editors and publishers would understand ethical issues, and put the interests of readers and students above more personally beneficial interests. I was shocking to see how few institutions actually care about doing the right thing. It makes one wonder just how much bad research has yet to be exposed and retracted, and how much unnecessary harm it is doing.

In what ways is your research innovative? I believe that this is the first real case describing five levels of failed post-publication oversight and, further, one that proves a straightforward solution could have worked. When an external party did the necessary independent investigation, it quickly exposed the misrepresentations that should have made the articles unpublishable. Such an investigation even revealed that peers did exist who would have done the right thing. And, bringing theory to such a new case provided a new way to think about conflicts of interest – that they can become viral in a chain of oversight and corrupt it.

How do you think it will impact the field? I do hope it will cause our oversight levels to reconsider their current practices and policies. I hope it will lead to the replacement of superficial ethical oversight organizations like COPE, AACSB and others – organizations that espouse high standards but have either never investigated issues or never enforced their standards. One of the best ways to stop bad behavior is to show it will be discovered and punished, and that just isn’t very credible with the current players. If we as business academics are going to teach ethics, then the least we can do is show we can implement a working system of ethical oversight for our research. While I don’t think changes will happen soon, I am hoping that cases and articles like this one will at least lead to fruitful discussions on how to improve the standards in our field.

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Leading through Crisis Management

Preparation for crisis management is often overlooked.  While it is always important to prepare for the unknown, it is essential in recent times when uncertainty is especially prevalent. According to a study by the ODM Group, 79 percent of decision makers believe that they are about a year away from a potential crisis—however, only 54 percent of companies have a crisis plan in place.

How can we improve crisis management in the workplace? Can we expect the unexpected? What can we learn from those facing extreme crises on a regular basis? This month’s edition of the SAGE Business Bulletin looks closely at this issue.


Business Bulletin_June2017

Click to read and access this unique selection of resources.

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Who’s Afraid Of Responsibility? The Aftermath Of The Financial Bank Crisis

[We’re pleased to welcome Rolf Brühl, Chair of Management Control at ECSP Europe School of Business. Brühl co-authored an article with Max Kury in the International Journal of Business Commujob.gifnication entitled “Rhetorical Tactics to Influence Responsibility Judgments: Account Giving in Banks Presidents’ Letters During the Financial Market Crisis.” Notes from Brühl:]

Reading the following quote from a leading bank, “We believe we have an affirmative responsibility to play an even bigger role in helping solve the economic, social and environmental challenges of the day” (JPMorgan Chase & Co., 2012), should make us curious about its sincerity. It is hard to find a bank website and not to read sentences like this introductory quotation. We seem to live in the era of corporate social responsibility, and to take responsibility is said to be an important cornerstone of a modern, ethical corporation.

However, do corporations really take full responsibility for their actions? Content analysis of presidents’ letters in the annual financial reports shows accounts as a rhetoric device directed to influence stakeholders in their responsibility judgment. Our results indicate that bank managers in the financial market crisis primarily use accounts which do not directly address responsibility.

This may inspire future research to have a closer look on account giving in the communication of companies if different layers of the responsibility pyramid are concerned (Carroll, 1991): economic, legal, moral responsibilities.


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The Normalization of Corruption and Wells Fargo’s 2 Million False Accounts

14040090880_7ba42ec582_z[We’re pleased to welcome J.S. Nelson, Senior Fellow at the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at Wharton, and an Advisor in the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Nelson recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “The Normalization of Corruption.” From Nelson:]

My paper in the Journal of Management Inquiry’s upcoming special issue on corruption describes how corruption becomes a new norm across individuals, companies, and then industries. Entitled “The Normalization of Corruption,” the paper relies on findings from law, organizational behavior, and surveys of the workplace to describe the norm in terms of behavioral ethics, how it reproduces, and how it grows.

The discussion focuses on how the normalization of corruption is built by individuals, spreads to companies, and then to industries. It further describes how the very normalization of the corruption protects individuals singled out for their misconduct from punishment by the legal system.

The specific examples in the paper are taken from the financial industry and the 2015-16 Volkswagen emissions scandal. This week’s headlines about widespread fraud at Wells Fargo follow the same patterns: cheating became the norm at Wells Fargo because of intense pressure from top executives; those top executives deny personal responsibility; and the legal system gives us few options to prosecute them for behavior that is otherwise widespread. Systemic fraud ensues.  Wells Fargo created over 2 million unauthorized accounts for customers, charged at least $1.5 million in unwarranted fees for those sham accounts, and over 5,300 employees were involved.

Similar to the social pressures that fueled the 2007-08 financial crisis, managers inside Wells Fargo pushed their employees to lie, cheat, steal, and to bend the rules in any imaginable way to satisfy sales goals and make profit. Employees were told to sign up their mothers, siblings, and friends; instructed to hunt for sales at bus stops and retirement homes;and often targeted elderly clients and people who did not speak English well.When employees protested that “This doesn’t make sense” and “Where are you getting these sales goals?”managers would answer, “No, you can do it”or “You’re negative”or “Oh, you’re not a team player.”Ethical employees who reported to hotlines and through the chain of command were fired for insubordination. Wells Fargo human resources personnel admit that the bank had a playbook for watching any employees who reported and then finding ways to fire them for another reason.

Now the bank faces the growing threat of a private class action lawsuit by ethical employees who were fired, and two top executives will have parts of their pay clawed back by the company’s disgraced board. But the rest of the legal system appears paralyzed to effectively enforce consequences on key individuals.

How did we arrive at this point of broadly corrupt norms? And more importantly, how do we turn around a system that has normalized corruption? The “Normalization of Corruption” JMI paper delves into these questions with immediate application for today.

[Please look for the follow-up entry this week on the origin of the paper, “The Normalization of Corruption.”]

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*Wells Fargo Image attributed to Mike Mozart (CC).

How Important is Self-Managing Leadership for Crisis Management?

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing a crisis. The article “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” explores the role of self-managing leadership in crisis management. The topic is particularly pertinent because many crisis management blunders can be attributed to leadership failures, and in the context of business, lack of effective crisis management has led to downfall of many businesses.

IIM Journal CoverCrises can be generalized along a spectrum—on one end, you have individual crises, and on the other end, you have global crises. However, in all cases, it is individuals who have to provide leadership, whether it be for individual crises, organizational crises, or global crises.

In rapidly changing times, the challenge to an organization is to provide a framework for people to understand their journey through change so they can contribute their best work to the organization. In order to act as a leader or an agent of change within an organization, employees must be able to bring about significant change within their organization. The rate of external environmental change is inexplicably linked to self-management—as changes increase, self-management becomes more important. Because it is hardly possible to control the external environment, emphasis has shifted towards managing the inner environment and harnessing resources within an organization. The future of an organization rests on the autonomy, maturity and confidence of the people. Many employees are trained with particular technical and functional-oriented skills, and later promoted on the basis of those skills. However,sign-success-and-failure-1133804-m those skills primarily prepare employees to work in a relatively stable environment, not in a rapidly changing and at times chaotic environment. Thus, the skills necessary for employees now are those that help employees lead through a never-ending process of change.

The abstract:

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing the crises. The role of self-managing leadership in crisis management is explored in this article. An empirical study is conducted to understand the effectiveness of the ancient self-management technique called Rajayoga. It is based on a sample survey among two groups—one group not practicing Rajayoga and the other group practicing Rajayoga. It is found that the inner powers and innate values have a positive correlation with crises management capabilities. Further, these capabilities and correlations are found to be stronger in a group of people practicing Rajayoga for self-empowerment. The relationship between inner powers and innate values, the interactivity and proactivity among the inner powers, the relationship between the ‘doing’ powers and the ‘being’ powers are also confirmed through the study.

You can read “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Using Social Marketing in China to Reduce the Spread of Cysticerosis

tap-1564536[We’re pleased to welcome Mary Dickey of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Dickey recently published “Program Evaluation of a Sanitation Marketing Campaign Among the Bai in China: A Strategy for Cysticercosis Reduction” with Robert John, Helene Carabin, and Xiao-Nong Zhou in Social Marketing Quarterly.]

I saw first-hand the problems with sanitation through my involvement in community development work in rural China. Although emphasis is often placed on new technology in sanitation, I observed that promoting behavioral change was the real challenge. Poor sanitation causes many diseases and one that was of special interest to me was cysticercosis. Cysticercosis is a leading cause of epilepsy among the Bai minority group in Yunnan, China.

I found that many among the Bai already understood the relationship between sanitation and disease but F1.mediumthat understanding did not seem to affect toilet construction and use. Since health education alone did not seem to be an answer, we researched the use of sanitation marketing among the Bai. This research reveals how formative data was collected to help researchers understand not only the sanitation situation but also the thoughts and opinions of the Bai related to toilet use. This data was used to design a social marketing campaign to promote toilets with the specific goal of reducing cysticercosis. The results of the campaign in two intervention villages are compared with the results of a more conventional government promotion in two comparison villages. This is the first report of the use of social marketing of toilets in China. Although more research is needed, this program evaluation indicates that sanitation marketing in rural China is an appropriate approach to increase sanitation coverage.

You can read “Program Evaluation of a Sanitation Marketing Campaign Among the Bai in China: A Strategy for Cysticercosis Reduction” from Social Marketing Quarterly for free by clicking here. Don’t forget to sign up for e-alerts and get all the latest news and research from Social Marketing Quarterly sent directly to your inbox!

Are Young Mothers in India Deprived of Maternal Health Care Services?

life-10-weeks-1439841Young women are at a higher risk of poor birth outcomes. Studies have found increased risk of preterm delivery, intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight among adolescents (Amini et al. 1996; Fraser et al. 1995; Satin et al. 1994). Additionally, the risk of maternal death is higher among teenagers compared to older women (Gupta et al. 2010; Midhet et al. 1998; Neto et al. 2009). According to Reynolds et al. (2006), in South Asia there is a lack of decision-making power due to the effects of gender inequality, which ultimately results in a lower use of health services. They also found a strong correlation between maternal age and the use of maternal and child health care services in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia.

A recent study published in Journal of Health Management entitled “Are Young Mothers in India Deprived of Maternal Health Care Services? A Comparative Study of Urban and Rural Areas” explores the vulnerability of young mothers to poor pregnancy outcomes and their utilization of health care services. The study results clearly establishes that efforts should be made to strengthen the reproductive health programs for adolescent women. Young women may not have enough knowledge on pregnancy, reproductive health issues and adoption of health services for these issues. Mass campaigns to educate women on the symptoms of pregnancy and its complications would help women to use maternal health care services effectively.

The abstract:

This article attempts to study the effect of age of women at birth on the use of maternal health care F1.mediumservices separately for urban and rural areas using data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3, 2005–2006, India. The indicators of use of maternal health care services used in this study are use of antenatal care services recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (includes three or more antenatal check-ups during the first trimester, two or more tetanus toxoid (TT) injections and taking 100 iron and folic acid tablets during pregnancy), place of delivery, assistance at delivery and use of postnatal care services. At first, the percentage of births that utilized various maternal health care services are discussed separately for urban and rural areas, followed by difference in utilization of maternal health care services between adolescent and adult mothers. Finally, logistic and multinomial regressions are used to examine the influence of age of women at birth on the use of maternal health care services for controlling for other factors. Multivariate results revealed that women who gave birth during adolescence are less likely to use antenatal, natal and postnatal care services in both urban and rural areas. Therefore, efforts should be made to educate parents and other family members on the consequences of early marriage and early pregnancy and also the importance of delaying marriage.

Click here to read “Are Young Mothers in India Deprived of Maternal Health Care Services? A Comparative Study of Urban and Rural Areas” for free from Journal of Health Management!

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