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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What Is It Like To Have Power?

The latest issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Social Psychological Perspectives on Power and Hierarchy, takes the study of power in management and organizational behavior to a new level.

Click here to access all articles in this special issue.

Exploring the psychological experience of power in the workplace, these articles follow the path of the power-seeker who becomes an opportunist in exchange relationships, and delve into the phenomenon of “illusory power transference”—the feeling of power that comes from being near a powerful other. They explain why the most audacious risk-takers in the social hierarchy are those with “something to lose” or “nothing to gain,” and ask why women in high-power positions still take the floor less than their male counterparts do.

As stated in the introductory essay by guest editors Francis J. Flynn and Deborah Gruenfeld, both of Stanford University, Linda D. Molm of the University of Arizona, and Jeffrey T. Polzer of Harvard University:

In the past, researchers who study power in organizations have typically focused their attention on identifying important antecedents and consequences—what serves as a source of power and what happens when power is used? More recently, a firestorm of research in psychology has investigated a different question that is of great interest to micro-organizational behavior scholars: What is it like to have power? More specifically, how does power affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of its possessors and their peers? The psychology of power, once the subject of mere conjecture and speculation, now serves as the target of direct empirical investigation.

Administrative Science Quarterly is a top-rank, quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes the best theoretical and empirical papers on organizational studies from dissertations and the evolving, new work of more established scholars, as well as interdisciplinary work in organizational theory, and informative book reviews. To learn more about the journal, please click here.

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A New Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is Now Online!

Volume 56, Number 4 (December 2011) of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available online. This special issue highlights Social Psychological Perspectives on Power and Hierarchy. We hope you will find it insightful and thought-provoking. You can view the Table of Contents here.

The lead article, “Social Psychological Perspectives on Power in Organizations,” was published by Francis J. Flynn and Deborah Gruenfeld, both of Stanford University; Linda D. Molm, University of Arizona; and Jeffrey T. Polzer, Harvard University.

From the article:

Organizations are characterized by limited resources, conflicting interests, and task interdependencies, which make them rife with political activity. To understand organizational behavior, then, one must understand power, which inevitably shapes how people make decisions, allocate resources, and judge their colleagues. Power is germane to organizational behavior, in the sense that changes in power affect the functioning of any social structure, especially those marked by hierarchical differences. To be effective leaders, managers must be able to diagnose who has power, how it is obtained, and when it can be wielded effectively in order to advance their political goals and, in turn, benefit their constituents.

To learn more about Administrative Science Quarterly, please click here.

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