This research is based on the first author’s dissertation, which is a winner of the Family Firm Institute’s 2017 Best Dissertation Award. The article reviews 421 papers published across 25 journals during the past decade to propose new directions for the social psychology of socioemotional wealth (SEW), which is a popular concept and theoretical perspective in the family business literature that deals with the nonpecuniary benefits that family members derive from control over their family firm.
What motivated you to pursue this research?
SEW research has helped significantly advance the family business literature since Luis Gomez-Mejia and colleagues first introduced SEW in 2007. However, although SEW research has already done a lot for the literature, we also believe that it can do so much more. Motivated by these beliefs, we originally spent 2 years (2014-2015) in the review process at the Academy of Management Review (AMR) trying to outline the emotional aspects of SEW, only to have our work rejected in the last round on a split editorial team decision. After this rejection, we realized that what we really needed to do was review the SEW literature in ways that would first establish a foundation to understand the many psychological phenomena that fit within SEW research. This is why we are thrilled to have our work on this subject published in Family Business Review (FBR) – a high-quality outlet that can help further the psychological understanding of various SEW phenomena and outcomes.
What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research?
We think that the most challenging aspects probably came from the review process. We were trying to say something that was connected to but very different from what existing SEW research has already said and/or done. Naturally, it’s often difficult to seamlessly communicate novel ideas in ways that reviewers will immediately understand with a first draft. Recognizing this, after we received feedback from the first round of FBR reviews, we realized that we had to extensively change our analytical strategy and approach in order to be as comprehensive as possible. This way, we could address the reviewers’ many concerns while still maintaining our core message and contributions. Although our original submission to FBR reviewed 41 SEW articles, as can be seen in the published article, our final sample included 421 articles. Altogether, it was extremely challenging to increase the review’s scope by more than ten-fold in a 3-month revision window! Needless to say, the first author spent a lot of late nights culling through the expansive SEW literature to create an action plan that utilized the authorship team’s collective strengths and expertise.
How do you think your research will impact the field?
It is difficult to tell at first but we hope that our article will ultimately help build stronger family firm microfoundations. We think there are a lot of novel directions that SEW and broader family firm research could go from here and hope that other scholars will agree and join us in these pursuits!
This paper is based on my dissertation research. Throughout graduate school, I was interested in studying team composition and diversity in teams. So, the topic of team self-assembly was very interesting to me (being that it has a lot to do with team composition), and I decided to make it the primary emphasis of my dissertation.
Specifically, I decided to focus on self-assembled teams using a sample of Chinese online gamers because I was granted unique access to a large digital trace data set that could potentially inform my research questions.
What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?
One of the most challenging (but also most fun/rewarding) parts of conducting this research was spending the summer of 2014 in Shanghai, working on data mining and analyses. It was mainly challenging because of the language barrier. Overall, it was an amazing experience!
What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?
Unfortunately, a series of semi-structured interviews that we conducted with Chinese and American online gamers ended up getting cut from the paper. Look out for a future publication with these results!
It has been widely postulated that individual entrepreneurial actions are the key to driving a firms innovative capacity and building a entrepreneurial mindset among employees. This particular study was motivated by need to better understand what drives individuals to behave entrepreneurially inside an organization. Specifically, we interested in uncovering how and why managers may act entrepreneurially, if they have no formal ownership status within the organization. Instead we consider, under what alternative ownership situations managers might choose to behave entrepreneurially. Specifically we turned to the concept of Psychological ownership as a means of understanding this;
Our findings were able to confirm a relationship between a middle managers psychological ownership and their entrepreneurial behaviour. We found that this relationship was mediated by their satisfaction with their job.
Our study is unique that we look at a new concept, psychological ownership, as means of understanding of how and why managers may choose behave entrepreneurially. Specifically, our study suggests that organizations can do well to enhance employees and managers ownership feelings through creating the ideal organizational conditions.
The abstract for the paper:
Despite the importance of middle managers’ entrepreneurial behavior for corporate entrepreneurship, there is still a lack of knowledge about its determinants. Knowledge of the role of individual psychological states and work attitudes remains particularly thin. Through an empirical investigation into 136 middle managers in a large Singapore telecommunications firm, this study finds that psychological ownership is positively related to entrepreneurial behavior and job satisfaction within these middle managers. The study further finds that job satisfaction is positively related to entrepreneurial behavior and mediates the relationship between psychological ownership and entrepreneurial behavior. This study contributes to the literature by demonstrating the relationship between psychological ownership and pro-organizational behavior, extending psychological ownership research into the field of corporate entrepreneurship via middle managers’ entrepreneurial behavior.
Ray Aldag is the Glen A. Skillrud Family Chair in Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for 39 years. His Ph.D. is from Michigan State University. Prior to his academic career, Ray was a thermal engineer on various Apollo, Voyager, and other aerospace projects.
A past president of the Academy of Management and a past dean of the Academy’s Fellows group, Ray has served on the Academy’s Board of Governors and as chair and/or program chair of the Academy’s Organizational Behavior, Research Methods, and Public/Nonprofit Sector divisions.
He serves on six journal editorial review boards, among them the Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.
Ray has published nine books and more than 80 journal articles and book chapters. His research interests include behavioral decision making, group processes, emotions in organizations, and organizational culture.
The past few decades have witnessed greatly enhanced interest in behavioral decision theory. Unlike traditional decision theory, which is normative or prescriptive and seeks an optimal solution, behavioral decision theory (although it yields important practical implications) is inherently descriptive, seeking to understand how people actually make decisions. This article discusses rationality and its limits, approaches to examination of decision processes, and consequences of limits on rationality. Issues relating to the clinical-actuarial controversy and automatic decision making are then addressed. Two approaches to improving decision making–by use of statistical groups and prediction markets as well as by implementation of forms of paternalistic intervention–are examined. Implications for leadership and organizations are then offered.