Enhancing Student Learning Through Scaffolded Client Projects

[We’re pleased to welcome author Elizabeth Tomlinson of West Virginia University. Tomlinnson recently published an article in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly entitled “Enhancing Student Learning Through Scaffolded Client Projects.” Below, Tomlinson outlines the inspiration for this study:]

As a Teaching Assistant Professor, much of my research tends to focus on advancing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (STL). I want to ensure that the pedagogical practices I’m using are meeting my students’ needs, as well as advancing pedagogy within the disciplinBPCQ_v77n1_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpge. Simultaneously, I want to ensure that the clients who graciously allow my students to work with them have a great experience and receive worthwhile materials that they can actually use. I am not an instructor who is comfortable with the status quo— as a business school professor, I’m continually looking for ways to enhance student readiness for the workforce while improving students’ experiences in my courses. This impetus led to my systematic investigation into what ways client projects (CP) are currently being used across the business communication course, as well as the best practices in place to teach those types of projects. The survey data from other instructors pointed to a need for a model for teaching CP, which the article demonstrates.

I was first introduced to the CP concept in conversations with Gerry Winter, one of my mentors at Kent State. She explained how she had used the projects in the past, and also provided some advice on how to fit these types of projects within the framework of technical and business communication courses.

Regarding the findings for this project, one of the surprises to me was the differences between the actual problems instructors using CP face and the problems instructors not currently using CP fear. I hope that the article speaks to both of these audiences. In the future, we should continue to critically examine our pedagogical practices—it’s important to bring our knowledge of good research practices into the classroom to examine how we plan and deliver our courses, while continually assessing how to teach more effectively.

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Elephant or Donkey? How Board Political Ideology Impacts CEO Pay

6261650491_0cd6c701bb_zHow much does directors’ political ideologies impact CEO compensation? Perhaps more than you might think–according to a recent paper published in Administrative Science Quarterlyentitled “The Elephant (or Donkey) in the Boardroom: How Board Political Ideology Affects CEO Pay” from authors Abhinav Gupta and Adam J. Wowak, conservative and liberal boards differ in not only how much they pay CEOs, but how they adjust CEO compensation based upon company performance. The abstract for the paper:

We examine how directors’ political ideologies, specifically the board-level average of how conservative or liberal directors are, influence boards’ decisions about CEO compensation. Integrating research on corporate governance and political psychology, we theorize that conservative and liberal boards will differ in their prevailing beliefs about the appropriate amounts CEOs should be paid and, relatedly, the extent to which CEOs should be rewarded or penalized for recent firm performance. Using a donation-based index to measure the political ideologies of Current Issue Coverdirectors serving on S&P 1500 company boards, we test our ideas on a sample of over 4,000 CEOs from 1998 to 2013. Consistent with our predictions, we show that conservative boards pay CEOs more than liberal boards and that the relationship between recent firm performance and CEO pay is stronger for conservative boards than for liberal boards. We further demonstrate that these relationships are more pronounced when focusing specifically on the directors most heavily involved in designing CEO pay plans—members of compensation committees. By showing that board ideology manifests in CEO pay, we offer an initial demonstration of the potentially wide-ranging implications of political ideology for how corporations are governed.

You can read “The Elephant (or Donkey) in the Boardroom: How Board Political Ideology Affects CEO Pay” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay up to date on all of the latest research published by Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to DonkeyHotey (CC)

Happy Election Day from Management INK! Did you vote yet?

Does the Birth Order of Descendant CEO Sons Impact Family Firm Performance?

3486432433_413fe29886_zFor most family businesses, the transition of leadership from one generation to the next can be a complex period to navigate. For family business researchers, generational transitions present a multi-faceted research subject with a clear impact on family firm performance. In a recent paper published by Family Business Review entitled “Not All Created Equal: Examining the Impact of Birth Order and Role Identity Among Descendant CEO Sons on Family Firm Performance”, authors Mark T. Schenkel, Sean Sehyun Yoo, and Jaemin Kim explore how seemingly small factor, namely the birth order of a descendant CEO, can have a noticeable effect on family firm performance. The abstract for the paper:

This study extends the family firm performance literature by focusing on birth order differences among descendant CEOs. Data collected from a sample of Korean family firms yield three insights. First, descendant birth order is directly associated with differences in the distribution of control through ownership, leadership (i.e., CEO), and the incorporation of outside board participation and governance. Second, descendant birth order also moderates the relationship between outside block Current Issue Coverholdings and firm performance. Third, we find evidence suggesting that because of firm performance differences, first-son descendant CEOs may find themselves more often replaced over time.

You can read “Not All Created Equal: Examining the Impact of Birth Order and Role Identity Among Descendant CEO Sons on Family Firm Performance” from Family Business Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Koreatown image attributed to 2ndeye (CC)

ILR Review Special Issue: Work and Employment Relations in Health Care

8639003804_2bd2b5f140_zThe August special issue of ILR Review is now available and open to access for the next 30 days! Included in the special issue on Work and Employment Relations in Health Care are papers that discuss the relationship between nurse unions and patient outcomes, the effect of electronic health record adoption on physician productivity, and the impact nurse staffing strategies have on patient satisfaction. In the introductory editorial essay, Ariel C. Avgar, Adrienne E. Eaton, Rebecca Kolins Givan, and Adam Seth Litwin outline the problems inherent in US health care, most notably the fact that despite outspending other countries on health care costs per capita, the US demonstrates above-average rates of medical errors and below-average life expectancies. As the health care system moves toward reform, the authors argue for careful consideration of how workplace dynamics impact the outcomes for everyone involved in health care. The editorial thus highlights the importance of research on work and employment relations in the health care industry:

This special issue of the ILR Review is designed to showcase the central role that work organization and employment relations play in shaping important outcomes such as the quality of care and organizational performance. Each of the articles included in this special issue makes an important contribution to our understanding of the large and rapidly changing health care sector. Specifically, these articles provide novel Current Issue Coverempirical evidence about the relationship between organizations, institutions, and work practices and a wide array of central outcomes across different levels of analysis. This breadth is especially important because the health care literature has largely neglected employment-related factors in explaining organizational and worker outcomes in this industry. Individually, these articles shed new light on the role that health information technologies play in affecting patient care and productivity (see Hitt and Tambe; Meyerhoefer et al.); the relationship between work practices and organizational reliability (Vogus and Iacobucci); staffing practices, processes, and outcomes (Kramer and Son; Hockenberry and Becker; Kossek et al.); health care unions’ effects on the quality of patient care (Arindrajit, Kaplan, and Thompson); and the relationship between the quality of jobs and the quality of care (Burns, Hyde, and Killet). Below, we position the articles in this special issue against the backdrop of the pressures and challenges facing the industry and the organizations operating within it. We highlight the implications that organizational responses to industry pressures have had for organizations, the patients they care for, and the employees who deliver this care.

You can read the special issue of ILR Review free for the next 30 days by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Nurse image attributed to COD Newsroom (CC)

How Does a Management-to-Worker Wage Gap Impact Employee Performance?

The wage gap between the highest and lowest levels of an organization can serve as incentive for employees to work toward promotion, but does this motivation last in the long term? A new paper published in Journal of Managemententitled “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” from authors Brian L. Connelly, Katalin Takacs Haynes, Laszlo Tihanyi, Daniel L. Gamache, and Cynthia E. Devers delves into the performance implications of pay dispersion in an organization.

The abstract for the paper:

Management researchers have long been concerned with the antecedents and consequences of managerial compensation. More recently, scholarly and popular attention has turned to the gap in pay between workers at the highest and lowest levels of the organization, or “pay dispersion.” This study investigates the performance implications of pay dispersion on a longitudinal (10-year) sample of Current Issue Coverpublicly traded firms from multiple industries. We combine explanations based on tournament theory and equity theory to develop a model wherein pay dispersion has opposing effects on a firm’s short-term performance and their trend in performance over time. We also show that ownership is a key antecedent of pay dispersion. Specifically, transient institutional investors (who have short time horizons and equity stakes in a wide variety of firms) positively influence pay dispersion whereas dedicated institutional investors (who have longer investment time horizons and equity stakes in fewer firms) negatively influence pay dispersion. We discuss the wide-ranging implications of these findings for scholars, managers, and policy makers alike.

You can read “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

Do Reputation Rankings Influence the Perception of Firms?

9671129839_5dd00509e9_z[We’re pleased to welcome Michael Barnett of Rutgers University. Michael recently published an article in Business & Society with co-author Shovi Leih entitled “Sorry to (Not) Burst Your Bubble: The Influence of Reputation Rankings on Perceptions of Firms.”]

I became interested in the topic of how reputation rankings affect individual perceptions of firms when I noticed all the efforts that business schools put into their rankings and the effects that these rankings have on their stakeholders. Potential students, faculty, staff, and alumni can’t really tell what goes on across business schools on a day-to-day basis, and so they must rely on these reputation rankings for insights. Yet, the corporate reputation literature assumes that what one thinks of a particular organization is based on the actions of that organization — even though most of us most of the time have no clue. As a result, in many if not most schools, rankings now drive actions, perhaps more so than actions drive rankings.

Relative to corporations, what information do people rely on to form their views? Reputation rankings  from BAS CoverBusinessweek, the Financial Times, Fortune, US News & World Report, and other such sources have proliferated. Researchers have voiced concerns about reputation rankings; particularly the methodologies used to determine them. In this article, though, we are concerned not with the methods but with the influence of reputation rankings. How do people use rankings when forming their views of a firm? Do rankings affect or overshadow other information that one may have about a firm?

We isolate the effects of reputation rankings on individuals’ perceptions of a firm. Indeed, we find that perceptions are influenced by reputation rankings, particularly when these rankings are negative and congruent with other information about the firm. These findings suggest the need to develop a richer perspective on reputation. Corporate reputation has long been conceptualized as an aggregation of individual perceptions, but it also needs to be understood as a driver of individual perceptions. Greater focus on this latter aspect may help to explain loose linkages between a firm’s characteristics and its reputation. As a result of the influence of reputation rankings, a firm’s reputation may change even if its characteristics remain constant and, conversely, changes in a firm’s characteristics may be slow to produce change in its reputation. Additional insights into the information that individuals do and do not attend to in revising their perceptions of a firm can help better explain the connection between a firm’s behavior and its reputation and thus deepen understanding of how to effectively manage reputation.

The abstract for the article:

We measure the influence of reputation rankings on individuals’ perceptions of firms. Through experimental design, we vary whether and how participants are exposed to a reputation ranking alongside other information about a firm. We find that rankings influence perceptions when they are negative and congruent with other information about the firm. These findings help explain how a firm’s reputation can change even if its characteristics remain constant and why change in a firm’s characteristics can be slow to produce change in its reputation.

You can read “Sorry to (Not) Burst Your Bubble: The Influence of Reputation Rankings on Perceptions of Firms” from Business & Society free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Business & SocietyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Skyscraper image attributed to Mike H (CC)

Optimizing Performance Management Systems in the Energy Sector

2528399141_5c14f81238_z[We’re pleased to welcome Rui Vieira of University of Amsterdam. Rui recently published an article in Organization & Environment, entitled “Aligning Strategy and Performance Management Systems: The Case of the Wind-Farm Industry” with co-authors Brendan O’Dwyer of University of Amsterdam and Roman Schneider of University of Minho.]

This article presents a case study examining the problems and possibilities of performance management in a wind-farm company. Drawing on Ferreira and Otley’s (2009) recently developed performance management systems (PMSs)  framework, the study demonstrates how the framework facilitates in-depth, holistic and critical evaluations of existing PMSs, and, how these evaluations can drive the development of revised PMSs which balance economic, social and environmental goals. This integrated focus on PMS evaluation and design is unique as prior work seeking to develop systems to promote and measure sustainable performance tends to establish them in isolation from informed evaluations of existing systems. Drawing on the case analysis, the article proposes a form of ‘sustainable balanced scorecard’ to enable a company to streamline their management decision-making. It also offers guidance for companies on the development of PMSs which can contribute to their survival and growth in a wind energy sector characterized by increasing competition.

An excerpt from the paper:

O&E_Mar_2012_vol26_no1_Cover_Final.indd

We conduct a case study using the Ferreira and Otley (2009) framework applied to a German windfarm company. The article makes three contributions to the literature. First, our integrated focus on PMS evaluation and design is unique as, quite often, earlier work seeking to develop systems to promote and measure sustainable performance establishes them in isolation, independent of evaluations of existing systems (Hubbard, 2009; Lohman, Fortuin, & Wouters, 2004). To our knowledge, this is the first study that uses the Ferreira and Otley (2009) framework explicitly to evaluate a company’s existing PMSs as part of a project aimed at designing a revised PMS. The study also mobilizes Broadbent and Laughlin’s (2009) extension to the Ferreira and Otley framework (2009) in order to place additional analytical emphasis on the organizational context within which a PMS is evaluated and designed. Particular attention is given to contextual factors that affect the nature of PMSs in an effort to also offer a better understanding of the interaction between the design and use of PMSs (Agostino & Arnaboldi, 2012; Henri, 2006). Second, the article offers lessons for companies operating in the wind-energy sector (and more widely) with respect to how they might develop their PMSs to help ensure their continued growth and survival. This is important given the need for wind-farm companies to avoid complacency, as the poor design of PMSs will have far-reaching implications if and when widely predicted increased competition is introduced into the wind-farm sector. Third, we draw on the results of our analysis of the wind-farm company’s existing PMSs to propose a form of “Sustainable Balanced Scorecard” (SBSC) to enable the company to streamline their management decision-making. This proposal adopts an approach that is similar to Hubbard’s (2009) SBSC, which added nonmarket (social and environmental) elements to the traditional BSC. Unlike Hubbard (2009), however, in our development of an SBSC we do not encourage a narrow focus on a single metric. Its aim is to ensure that the selected performance measures fully reflect the organization’s wider stakeholders and strategic value drivers and are consistent with the vision and goals of the organization, thereby increasing the visibility of its critical functions. Furthermore, we argue that Ferreira and Otley’s (2009) framework can also be used in other situations in which the need to achieve a balance between economic, environmental, and social objectives is required, like the “Responsive Scorecard” (Van der Woerd & Van den Brink, 2004).

You can read “Aligning Strategy and Performance Management Systems: The Case of the Wind-Farm Industry” from Organization & Environment free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Organization & EnvironmentClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Wind farm image attributed to warrenski (CC)

Rui Vieira is assistant professor of Management Control and Accounting at the University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands and visiting scholar at Instituto de Empresa Business School, Spain and Nordakademie, Germany. He received his PhD in Industrial and Business Studies from the University of Warwick. Rui’s research interests in management accounting are interdisciplinary and qualitative in focus, covering the fields of management control systems, cost accounting, performance measurement, and their organizational and behavioral aspects.

Brendan O’Dwyer is professor of accounting at the University of Amsterdam Business School. He is also the director of the Amsterdam Business School Research Institute. Previously he was head of the Accounting division at the School. Brendan’s research interests are interdisciplinary and qualitative in focus. His academic work has been published in leading international accounting and management journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, The European Accounting Review and The Journal of Business Ethics.

Roman Schneider has been Managing Director of many wind companies in German and Poland for many years. He received his diploma in economics from the Hochschule fuer Oekonomie, Berlin, and his MBA from the Nordakademie, Elmshorn. He is currently a PhD student in Entrepreneurial Sciences (Accounting) at the Universidade do Minho, Portugal, and teaches management accounting and financial controlling in the adult education. His research focuses on management control systems and performance measurement in businesses.