Women Leading Research 2017

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The car you rented as part of your auto-share club reeked of cigarette smoke and a cross-country roadtrip worth of crumbs littered the seats and floor. It made you wonder: Why are some vehicles in the car-sharing club kept meticulously tidy while others arrive icky? As the sharing economy grows, with prominent players such as Zipcar, Airbnb, Uber and Rent the Runway, heads of companies are wondering the same thing. Smith School professor Rosellina Ferraro seeks the answers in new research. Read more...

With lenient return policies common, about 9 percent of purchases at brick-and-mortar stores are returned and 25 percent to 30 percent of online orders are sent back yearly in the United States. Where do these items end up? In many cases, retailers purchase the goods via online auctions and resell the merchandise. New research from Smith School professor Wedad J. Elmaghraby examines the influence of bidder experience and savvy on the process. Read more...

Corporate gender gaps have narrowed in recent years, but men continue to dominate high-level positions. Scholars tend to blame the gap on some combination of two factors: Workplace biases or individual choices of women, who may prioritize family above career. Smith School professor Waverly Ding and two co-authors consider both theories but find strong evidence for only one in a study published in the Academy of Management Journal. Read more...

When employees break the rules at work, it might not be mischief. It might be monotony. A new study from Smith School professor Rellie Derfler-Rozin finds that employees whose tasks are organized in a more routine and repetitive way are more likely to fall prey to ethical lapses and break rules to make their workday easier. But there's good news. The researchers found that shaking up the order in which employees perform tasks can reduce rule-breaking. Read more...

People who study financial economics regularly assume that the markets in which firms sell their products are perfectly competitive, or alternatively that firms operate in isolation. This all-or-nothing thinking is unrealistic. “The most prominent public firms in the United States usually operate in industries that are oligopolies,” says Smith School finance professor M. Cecilia Bustamante. In a forthcoming paper, she explores whether the degree of competition in which firms operate has any impact on their asset prices. Read more...

The gender pay gap drew 100 businesses to sign on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge in 2016. It also prompted Smith School professor Margrét Bjarnadóttir and her team to develop a gap-solving algorithm based on targeting women whose pay most influences the gap. These women tend to be more like their male colleagues in terms of credentials and career paths. The first step is to control for legitimate reasons employees receive different wages. Read more...

Researchers can discover creative solutions to complex problems when they combine know-how from different disciplines, but they should understand the potential penalties involved. A new study from Smith School professor Christine Beckman shows risks and rewards for multidisciplinary research. The process can be mentally taxing and mastery can be slower. Logistical hurdles also create challenges. Read more...

In the global economy, team leadership is often not as simple as gathering employees into the conference room to talk over a project or plan the next set of goals. The team is likely to span time zones and continents, presenting particular challenges for leaders. Recent research from Smith School professor Kathryn M. Bartol finds that the influence of leadership is moderated and strengthened by the degree to which the team is geographically dispersed. Read more...

Millions of government employees are counting on the funds from their pension plans to get them through their retirement years. But a potential economic crisis looms. Many state and local pension systems teeter on the brink of financial disaster. New research from Smith School professor Leigh Anenson examines how the fiduciary relationship between trustees and beneficiaries could safeguard against the risk that Americans working in the public sector may lose their retirement savings. Read more...

Consumers via online communities are sharing information and connecting with each other at unprecedented levels. But to what extent can this phenomenon affect healthcare? A recent study led by Smith School professor Ritu Agarwal identifies two advantages of online communities toward closing the rural-urban gap in access to quality healthcare. First, platforms like Facebook provide opportunities for rural patients to ask questions and receive feedback from qualified experts and urban counterparts. Second, online communities can provide emotional support. Read more...