Women Leading Research 2017

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People who share copyrighted content on digital piracy sites don’t get paid or protected from lawsuits. So why do they do it? “The major motivation is building reputation in these online communities,” says Kalinda Ukanwa, one of 34 women PhD candidates at the Smith School. “They want bragging rights.” In two working projects for her dissertation, Ukanwa is studying the effects of reputation within customer engagement environments. When it comes to illegal file sharing of songs and other content, her analysis shows that lawsuits from lobby groups and individual producers within the entertainment industry can have unintended consequences. Read more...

The daily deal industry — Groupon and like companies working with small retailers to give big discounts, irregularly — had its heyday in the wake of the Great Recession. Though a smaller part of the market today, the daily deal model presents a case study of bargaining power examined in a new paper coauthored by Smith School marketing professor Lingling Zhang. While a platform’s large customer base is attractive to merchants, its inherently strong bargaining power can work against it. Read more...

Have you ever filled your virtual cart while shopping online only to leave it without completing the purchase? Retailers have long considered this a huge problem, figuring trillions of dollars are lost due to abandoned online shopping carts. Now new research co-authored by Smith School professor Jie Zhang shows that these numbers are substantially overblown. And she says many retailers are focusing on the wrong thing: They should be trying to get consumers to spend more at their stores instead of just recovering virtual carts left behind. Read more...

Something inequitable happens when men and women with similar jobs get laid off at the same time from the same companies, and then move to the same new employer. The gender wage gap — whatever it was before — widens during the transition. Only one factor helps to soften the outcome. A study co-authored by Smith School professor Liu Yang shows that when women workers get rehired by women managers, the wage disparity is cut in half. Read more...

Market makers have significant influence in financial markets, and they take on significant risk. In new research, Smith School professor Yajun Wang helps build a market-making model that enables market participants to better understand those risks. The model differs from traditional models because it allows market makers to explore how uninformed market participants might react to a change in a bid or ask price. The key is paying attention to information asymmetry. Read more...

High-priced luxury handbags are sometimes referred to as “statement pieces,” and for at least some women, the statement they’re making is: “Don’t even try to take my man." For such women, luxury accessories, such as high-priced designer shoes and handbags, function as “a signaling system directed to other women who pose threats to their romantic relationships,” according to research from Smith School professor Yajin Wang. She found that a woman who felt the need to shield her mate from the affections of a rival often did so by seeking out and flaunting lavish possessions. Read more...

Let’s say your company has had a very profitable year, and has decided to reward you, one of its top contributors, with a handsome, 8 percent pay increase. Well done. Now, let’s say it’s just before the holidays. Should your friends and relatives expect an 8 percent raise in your gift-giving budget? No. They should expect even more than that, says research from Smith School professor Janet Wagner. She and a co-author found that gift-giving is a luxury. As income rises, gift expenditures increase at an even higher rate. Read more...

Sharing creative ideas at work can be risky. What if a suggestion appears foolish? What if it upsets a comfortable routine? What if it fails? When in doubt, many employees keep their mouths shut. One way to counteract these instincts and foster creativity is to develop a seemingly unrelated skill: Networking. Smith School professor Vijaya Venkataramani and her co-authors show the link between creativity and networking in a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Read more...

Words of wisdom for new managers: First win over your team, then roll out your changes. But do it all with a keen understanding of the leader who came before you. You’ll be a lot more successful. These are the conclusions of new research from Smith School professor M. Susan Taylor and three co-authors. The researchers find that a new leader’s ability to push through changes in an organization depends on how the former leader was viewed by their team. Read more...

Why do job seekers, scrolling through employment postings, favor some employers over others? It may be less about what they actually know and more about what they think they know, says Smith School professor Cynthia Kay Stevens. And, because job seekers resist applying to companies they have decided are not a good fit, they may miss opportunities. Read more...