My research projects are broadly driven by a desire to understand the interrelationship between business and social problems. This interest manifests itself in studies of organizational culture and corporate social responsibility, with a particular focus on corporate philanthropy. My other research focused on how inequality and organizational settings shape how people build and use their social networks. I take a multi-method and multi-level approach in addressing these topics, using large archival data sets, in-depth qualitative interviews, and experiments.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Navigating Business-Society Paradox. (preparing for submission). I investigate how corporate grantmakers manage individual-level paradox due to their seemingly contradictory position in both the corporate and nonprofit fields. I argue that an important way that individuals navigate paradox is through managing compatibility, or the process of reducing conflict around competing elements. Grantmakers maintained a coherent work identity inclusive of business and societal impact, yet they intentionally portrayed their work to others in ways that differed from their private understandings. By perceiving and adjusting to the preferences of their various audiences, grantmakers increased the sense that their work was compatible with different groups. At the same time, this code-switching behavior meant grantmakers were inconsistent across situations. I further theorize the sustaining features that helped facilitate this process and encourage commitment.
Tradeoffs Between Internal and External CSR.
(with Jiao Luo and Brayden King). We develop and investigate an important tradeoff in CSR practices, distinguishing between externally-facing CSR activity and internal CSR activity rooted in firm structure. Using a longitudinal data set on the philanthropy and environmental practices of Fortune 1000 firms over 2003-2011, we find that after environmental controversies, firms increase their external CSR (philanthropy) and decrease their internal CSR practices (pro-environmental practices). I argue that firms facing controversies are at a higher risk of misaligning their internal and external CSR due to attention and resource shifts toward external impression management.
Human Capital Benefits of Offering ProBono Work. (with Christiane Bode and Michelle Rogan, data analysis). A new project investigates the network influences that encourage employees to engage in lower-paid probono work. This project uses team data from ~10,000 employees in a large, international management consulting agency over seven years.
Authentic Organizational Values
Stated-Lived Value Congruence and Expressive Authenticity. (with Rachel Ruttan, preparing for submission). We use data from 100 publicly traded firms on the Glassdoor website and an experimental design to show that when stated values are not lived out at the workplace, employees find their employers less authentic, and as a result, give their workplaces less favorable ratings. We update theories on person-organization fit by distinguishing between different value dimensions and provide a novel mechanism of why fit matters: authenticity.
How Stable is the Core Discussion Network? (with Mario Small and Peter McMahan, Social Networks 2015). Our findings counter expectations that social support networks are stable; instead showing they are flexible and adaptive.
Words vs. Actions in the Network Behavior. (with Mario Small, Cayce Hughes, and Jeffrey Parker, under review). We resolve a contradiction in the literature by explaining why people in poor neighborhoods are both distrustful of others while also heavily reliant on them. We argue they have institutionally-mediated relationships that carry expectations and increase trust, even among people who do not know each other well.