RRBM Dare to Care Dissertation Scholarships

The 2024 Winners

Sponsored by the Community for
Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM)

Co-Sponsors: The International Association for Chinese Management Research (IACMR)

and the Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research (Georgia Tech CIBER).



RRBM and its co-sponsors are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 RRBM Dare to Care Dissertation Scholarships. The scholarships recognize doctoral students in business schools who are conducting dissertation research that follows the principles of responsible research. The scholarship program focuses on research topics that generate knowledge or ideas to reduce inequality or promote social justice, especially focusing on the role of business organizations. Research that contributes to meeting one or more of the social or economic dimensions of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are of special interest to this dissertation scholarship program.

This year’s winners were selected from more than 70 applications. Applications were evaluated by a committee composed of senior scholar winners of the responsible research award and accomplished professors who support the principles of responsible research.

The winners have demonstrated a research that will generate knowledge or ideas to reduce inequality or promote social justice; have clearly stated research question accompanied by a well-developed and rigorous methodology to address the research question; and provided actionable knowledge or ideas that firms or managers can use to develop policies or practices aimed at reducing economic and social injustice.


2024 Scholarship Winners 

(to learn more about the research and its alignment with the RRBM Principles of Responsible Research, click on the title)


Hsuan-Che (Brad) Huang, Sauder School of Business, University of British Colombia

“It’s All for Show”: When (Performative) Allyship Becomes Moral Hypocrisy and its Organizational Implications

Due to societal pressures and greater calls for organizations to address equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) issues, it is increasingly common for leaders to publicly communicate their support as allies for minority employees. Ironically, they often fall short by not following up on their promise and moral commitment to diversity. This inconsistency between their words and actions represents superficial EDI support—a rising phenomenon understood as performative allyship. To understand this phenomenon, I focus on a fundamental question: How do minority employees perceive, moralize, and react to organizational leaders who engage in performative allyship?

Despite its potential to benefit the organization by showing awareness of social justice movements, I propose that the seemingly prosocial act of allyship, in particular, when enacted performatively, can be morally dubious. Provocatively, it can lend itself to moral hypocrisy and in fact harm the workplace in various aspects, especially toward minority workers. I theorize that the negative moral evaluations of performative allies lead to moral outrage and, as a result, a higher likelihood of minority turnover. However, attributing performative allyship as hypocrisy ignites moral outrage, and may therefore simultaneously motivate minority employees to advocate for social change, which represents an important silver lining to this dark side allyship phenomenon.

This issue is important to study because minorities (populations facing disadvantages from race, gender, sexual orientation, or indigenous status) are the ones who benefit (or suffer) the most from true EDI support (or lack thereof). Following best practices of full-cycle organizational research to build and test theory, I will implement a mixed-method approach and conduct several studies—qualitative study, field survey, and pre-registered experiment.

Overall, my research benefits both the business and broader society by addressing the novel, underexamined phenomenon of performative allyship at work. It sheds light on the experiences of marginalized employees, uncovering potential consequences and downsides of EDI support in organizations and the business world. This research further contributes to the growing allyship literature by offering a more nuanced and balanced view through an untapped morality and justice lens, with profound practical implications for organizational diversity practices.

Farzam Boroomand, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Organizing for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education

Despite extensive policymaking, legislative reforms, and research, many children in America still lack access to quality public education. My dissertation adopts an organizational approach to examine the drivers of educational inequalities in the US, aiming to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of providing inclusive, equitable, quality education (SDG4).

My dissertation focuses on two primary research questions. First, given the local governance of public education in the US, I explore how to build racially inclusive and collectively effective local communities capable of supporting public education. Drawing on prior research, I argue that increasing diversity tends to reduce the density of homophilous social ties, making collective action in support of public education more challenging. However, the presence of bridging ties, where different groups interact regularly, can mitigate these effects. I demonstrate that maintaining intra-organizational diversity within a community is key to creating high-performing and inclusive communities.

While prior research provides evidence of the effectiveness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in providing public education, the impact of such partnerships on those not directly receiving their benefits remains underexplored. Thus, my second research question asks: what impacts do PPPs in public education have on traditional public providers? I investigate how the privatization of public education through PPPs may negatively affect those remaining in public schools by: a) increasing public providers’ costs as a larger share of less economically viable student segments may be left to public providers, b) reducing revenues as community support shifts to private providers, and c) impacting the ability of public providers to attract or retain human capital, such as teachers. I also compare the negative spillovers of PPPs involving for-profit private partners versus those involving non-profit private partners. This research question aligns with the UN’s SDG17 about Partnerships for the Goals.

My primary research methodology is quantitative analysis of archival data. I supplement this with qualitative interviews with stakeholders including superintendents, school principals, teachers, and community members. My dissertation aligns with responsible research principles as it places inequality of opportunity at the heart of its inquiry and engages with various stakeholders throughout the research process.

Michelle Blood Checketts, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Navigating the Duality of Autism in the Workplace

I seek to answer questions about autism as both a disability and a strength, what I term the duality of autism, specifically in the workplace. How do Autistic professionals perceive and navigate the duality of strengths and challenges they bring to organizations? What, if any, different strengths and challenges do Autistic women experience, and how do they navigate these differences? And what do Autistic professionals need from managers and organizations to better support the duality of autism and foster strengths?

My dissertation aims to support the United Nations’ goals of promoting decent work for all and reducing inequalities by improving work opportunities for Autistic professionals. Despite a rising prevalence of autism, many Autistic individuals remain unemployed or underemployed, with estimates of unemployment rates for Autistic high school graduates ranging from 50-90%, underscoring the urgency of researching Autistic workers’ lived experiences. Understanding how managers and organizations can better support the strengths of Autistic professionals can help reduce inequalities in unemployment and promote social justice for this understudied and underrepresented population.

The findings of this study aim to help Autistic individuals, managers, and organizations focus on how to not only survive with autism at work, but how to thrive as active agents managing the duality of autism. I will conduct about 50 semi-structured interviews with individuals who are currently employed professionally and have a diagnosis of ASD or identify as Autistic, and then analyze the data following steps recommended for grounded theory.

This study aims to move beyond a descriptive narrative of strengths or challenges by building an understanding of the processes Autistic professionals engage in as active agents navigating both the workplace and autism. I seek to understand not only what these individuals experience, but also how people actively navigate this space in a positive way. My research aligns with all seven principles of responsible research. Specifically, I have invited Autistic scholars to provide feedback on all stages of my study to be authentic to the Autistic community. Also, I aim to make both basic and applied contributions through extending theory and providing recommendations for actively navigating the duality of autism.

Yeon Joo Lee, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Improving Food Security with Scheduled Neighborhood Grocery Delivery

Food security is a pressing concern in the US, with 12.8% of its population identified as food insecure. Online grocery delivery services have recently surfaced as a potential solution to this issue, offering increased access to grocery stores through delivery. However, the high costs associated with typical “on-demand” grocery delivery services pose a challenge to leveraging this solution. This research explores the effectiveness of an alternative, more cost-effective grocery delivery service called “scheduled neighborhood delivery” in mitigating the food security problem. In this innovative service, the delivery platform receives orders within a fixed order window, and picks and delivers orders for each neighborhood in batches following a predetermined weekly schedule.

In collaboration with a startup grocery delivery platform providing this service, the research explores the research question: How can we reduce food insecurity and promote healthy food consumption through a more cost-effective online grocery delivery service design? The project first quantifies the logistics cost savings of the scheduled neighborhood delivery service by modeling the labor contents using work measurement data. Next, it explores the potential of the delivery service to promote healthy food consumption by utilizing lab experiments and analyzing the partner’s order transaction data. These insights will be used to develop strategies to further nudge healthy food consumption behavior among low-income customers through a field experiment on the partner’s platform.

This project contributes to the academic literature by outlining how a novel online grocery delivery service can enhance food security. It integrates psychological theories on intertemporal decision-making into the operational context of online grocery delivery logistics. The results of this study will also provide practical recommendations for designing an online grocery delivery service that better supports people in need. The scheduled neighborhood delivery service has the potential to provide more affordable and healthy food access to everyone, promoting equitable food security in our society. Furthermore, the collaboration with industry will have a tangible, real-world societal impact by contributing to the food security of the local community through discussion and implementation of more effective strategies to serve low-income customers.