A Reflection by David Jiang on “More Than Meets the Eye”

[We’re pleased to welcome authors David S. Jiang of Georgia Southern University, Franz W. Kellermans of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Timothy P. Munyon of the  University of Tennessee, and M. Lane Morris of the University of Tennessee. They recently published an article in the Family Business Review entitled “More Than Meets the Eye: A Review and Future Directions for the Social Psychology of Socioemotional Wealth,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Jiang reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

fbra_30_2.coverThis 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!


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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)

Testing the Developmental Nature of Work Motivation

Testing the Developmental Nature of Work Motivation Using Kegan’s Constructive-Development Theory,” by Marilyn J. Bugenhagen and John E. Barbuto, Jr., appeared on OnlineFirst of the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies on August 25, 2011.

The Abstract:

This article reports a field study testing the relationship between individuals’ constructive-development level and their sources of work motivation. Constructive development was assessed using the Subject–Object Interview for 53 community and educational leaders. Motivation was assessed using the Motivation Sources Inventory. Results indicated that constructive-development progression was significantly related to instrumental motivation. No other significant relationships were found, indicating that the other four sources of work motivation exist independent of individuals’ constructive development. Implications for research and practice are addressed.

To view other articles on OnlineFirst, please click here. To learn more about the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, please follow this link.

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