Dare to Care Scholarship Awardees

The Dare to Care 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.

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

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.

2023 Scholarship Winners

Marieshka Barton Durham University Business School, Durham University

Accounting For Social Impact In Social Entrepreneurship: A Participatory Action Research Study

Social entrepreneurs venture to create just societies, yet despite a quest for justice, well-meaning missions resulting in unintended consequences exist, necessitating social accountability. While social accountability is necessary, conventional approaches favour external audiences’ needs and tend to be a poor fit for micro and small organizations operating under severe constraints with ad hoc, informal social accounting practices. This is a problem because micro and small organizations represent the majority of social enterprises, constituting an under-explored segment with significant aggregate impact. Consequently, we know little about social accounting from an insider’s perspective, and our current knowledge of social accounting is a poor fit for understanding internal processes of becoming accountable, knowledge that is critical to growing the field and its intended impact.  Inspired by the principles of Responsible Research in Business and Management, this study seeks to serve society by engaging social entrepreneurs in the research process to collaboratively improve accounting for social impact. As our driving research question, we strive to understand accounting for impact from practitioners’ perspectives and capabilities, exploring how social entrepreneurs make meaning of their work and become personally accountable for social change. Our engaged scholarship study uses a two-phased, multi-method design. We begin with an inductive approach analysing interview and archival data related to internal, tacit accountability methods and use the findings to build a process tracing model theorizing the path of accountability formalization. In phase two, we will engage social entrepreneurs in a participatory action research approach to refine the model and explore how tacit practices can be formalized in an actionable way. Based on the refined model, we will co-design a social accountability framework suited to micro and small social enterprises and useful for external audiences. In so doing, this study seeks to make a theoretical contribution to advancing our understanding of how internally driven accountability formalizes in social entrepreneurship while offering practitioners a co-designed accountability framework suited to the needs and capabilities of micro and small social enterprises. Such a framework may assist social entrepreneurs to improve their work and accountability practices, thus yielding greater social impact.

Chloe Kovacheff Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

To Disclose Or Not To Disclose? Navigating Invisible Disabilities In The Workplace

Often unseen and unnoticed, invisible disabilities are ubiquitous. Whether they are physical, mental, neurological, or cognitive, nearly half of the American population struggles to manage an invisible disability that affects their everyday lives. Accordingly, a large part of the workforce is composed of employees with invisible disabilities, many of whom experience bias. Despite this, how employees with invisible disabilities can reduce the bias they experience remains underexplored. It is imperative to understand how these employees can manage the disclosure of these identities to mitigate inequality following disclosure.

To address this, I explore two central research questions. First, how do employees with invisible disabilities manage the disclosure of their stigmatized identities? Specifically, which disclosure strategies are employees with invisible disabilities most likely to employ when disclosing to a manager and why. Second, how do these disclosure strategies effect outcomes for these employees? Specifically, which disclosure strategies lead managers to form positive perceptions, reduce their bias, and be more likely to grant necessary accommodations.

I draw from stigma theory and signaling theory to develop and test a model of how employees with invisible disabilities can effectively disclose in the workplace. I demonstrate that an asymmetry exists between employees’ intuitions of the most effective way to frame a disclosure, and managers’ interpretations of the message. In testing these propositions, my research employs multiple methods (qualitative, correlational, field data and experiments) to produce both robust and ethical research. In doing so, it can practically inform employees with invisible disabilities regarding how to mitigate negative outcomes following disclosure. Further, it can inform evidence-based interventions that organizations can employ to maximize performance and improve the lives of their employees. This research will help increase equity for a large portion of the workforce which is often underdiscussed – people who struggle with invisible disabilities.

Christopher Law Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

Startups As A Path To Wealth Creation For Underrepresented Minorities

Startups can be a significant source of wealth accumulation. However, creating, investing in, or even working in startups is highly skewed by race and gender. Founders of venture capital-backed startups are overwhelmingly male (89.3%) and White (71.6%), and 93% of venture capital partners are White males. Black women founders receive only 0.06% of VC funds in the U.S. When members of underrepresented groups receive opportunities to associate with startups, they often report feeling discriminated against or marginalized.

My dissertation addresses several of the UN’s sustainable development goals such as gender equality, decent work & economic growth, and reduced inequalities (specifically by race). I do this by examining two key questions. First, can working as a startup joiner empower underrepresented groups to create their own growth-oriented company, and if so, how? Second, how can founders create cultures that include and welcome all groups? I study these questions using multiple methods including a longitudinal multiple case inductive study, quantitative analysis of archival data, and exploratory interviews that elucidate the mechanisms driving statistical results. My research aims to expand our theoretical understanding of (1) heterogeneity in accumulating human capital and (2) the role of founders’ imprints and intentionality in creating organizational culture. I anticipate that my research will positively impact multiple groups. I seek to provide members of underrepresented groups interested in entrepreneurship with a path to create companies, policymakers with a lever to stimulate entrepreneurship, and founders with data about how to create great cultures.

My dissertation research incorporates all RRBM principles. In particular, I intend for my research to make both basic and applied contributions by using inductive methods to extend theory while providing evidence-based advice for entrepreneurs. I leverage multiple literatures, for example, legal and sociological research about intersectionality, and methods. Lastly, I am working to share my findings in practitioner-focused publications.

Sadek Showkat College of Business, University of Louisville

Venturing In Limbo: Exploring Refugee Entrepreneurship Through Lived Experiences

How does space as an enabler of resourcefulness help refugee entrepreneurs cope with liminality? In my dissertation, I explore how refugee entrepreneurs cope with liminality — a state of ‘betwixt and between’ — by using their space as an enabler of resourcefulness. I unpack the spatial mechanisms Rohingya refugee entrepreneurs use to manage the tension they feel in the indefinite liminal state in refugee camps. While management and organizational research on liminality has explored identity work by refugees, there has been limited attention on how refugee entrepreneurs use their space to cope with liminality. Thus, my main contribution is to the liminality literature by exploring the mechanisms used by refugee entrepreneurs. Second, exploring space as an enabler of resourcefulness this study contributes to resourcefulness literature. Third, by turning our attention to neglected organizational type – the refugee camp, we contribute to the change literature by investigating the mechanisms that connect space to change outcomes. This is important for practice because it informs actions for policymakers, NGOs, and refugee entrepreneurs themselves (Principle 2). My research design is mixed method multi-stage and follows strategies that encourage participant and researcher reflexivity (Principle 4). The research is in collaboration with local NGO “Prantic” and international NGO “OBAT Helpers”, addressing the value diversity in research themes and academic and practitioner collaboration (Principle 3 & 5). My findings reveal well-being effects of spatial resourcefulness, and inform UNHCR policy on inclusion in refugee camps through entrepreneurship (Principle 6). I intend to disseminate this work through different social media platforms (Principle 7). Finally, with my research, I shall develop knowledge, based on rigorous methods, that provides potential benefits to the broader society, both locally in Bangladesh and globally as the number of refugee crises attributable to adverse events has risen worldwide (Principle 1).

Yannick T. Wiessner Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Gangsta’s Paradise: The Societal Impact Of Firms’ Strategic Interactions With Crime In Mexico

International Business (IB) literature has so far given short shrift to analyzing the societal impact of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their foreign direct investments (FDI). While a lot of research has investigated how host country conditions affect FDI, IB scholars have not demonstrated the same interest in the inverse relationship. Moreover, the relationship between FDI and undesirable local activities, such as crime, remains underexplored. It is therefore not surprising that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of peace, justice and strong institutions remains one of the least researched SDGs. In a quest to change this tendency, I investigate the relationship between FDI and crime in Mexico.

The Mexican socio-political landscape is shaped by the war on drugs. A question that deserves attention, is how the various foreign and local stakeholders, and especially foreign companies, interact with (organized) crime in Mexico. The overarching question of this project thus is “How do MNEs’ strategies to interact with crime in Mexico affect their impact on broader societal stakeholders?”

To tackle this research question and context, I choose an approach that combines qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative insights based on interviews with managers and other societal stakeholders help understand how both foreign and local companies react to the crime and security threats. In contrast, I analyze quantitative data collected by Mexico’s national statistical institute (INEGI) to tease out society-level consequences of firms’ interaction with different types of crime.

Ultimately, these studies should provide valuable insights into to what degree foreign companies can play a role in reducing crime. These findings expand theory of how firms deal with extreme contexts such as crime and security threats, and, more importantly, contribute to scholarly understanding of MNEs’ societal impact on host countries. The practical application of these findings has the potential to influence policies on attracting FDI as well as mitigating crime, and eventually benefit the local population by reducing crime. In addition, this study is in line with responsible research principles as it puts an inherently societal outcome in the limelight, emphasizes collaboration with various stakeholders in the data collection process, and provides insights of relevance for these stakeholders beyond academic theory.

2022 Scholarship Winners

N. Derek Brown Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Examining The Misperception That Equality Is Harmful To Advantaged Group Members

Why does inequality persist even when it extracts a price from everyone in society? In my dissertation, I integrate theories of social identity with theorizing on zero-sum thinking to understand individuals’ perceptions towards policies aimed at reducing social inequalities of all kinds. I argue that advantaged group members––the people with perhaps the greatest power to create change––fundamentally misperceive equality-enhancing policies as harmful to the advantaged group, even when policies do not harm them. I also hypothesize that advantaged group members hold more inaccurate perceptions of equality policies than do disadvantaged group members. Based on these central predictions, my dissertation research is also focused on (a) investigating mechanisms that may explain the discrepancy between advantaged and disadvantaged group members (e.g., motivated reasoning, group dominance, fairness perceptions), (b) understanding consequences of this misperception (e.g., endorsement of anti-egalitarian ideologies), and (c) testing intervention strategies to reduce individuals’ misperception of policies that enhance equality and could benefit everyone in society. To investigate whether (or not) these perceptions are indeed misperceptions, I focus on non-zero-sum equality policy solutions that propose either increasing resources to disadvantaged group members without affecting the resources to advantaged group members, or policies that propose increasing the resources to both disadvantaged and advantaged group members. In doing this, I am able to examine whether participants still perceive such equality-enhancing policies as harmful to the advantaged groups’ ability to access material resources, even when they do not change or improve advantaged groups’ resource access. It is my hope that this dissertation, and subsequent program of research, reveal that the most promising, and effective, path towards achieving equality is one that ties the interests of everyone together; that we can only win if we all win.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research:

In my dissertation, I integrate theories of social identity with theorizing on zero-sum thinking to argue that advantaged group members misperceive equality-enhancing policies as harmful to the advantaged group, even when policies do not harm them. I also hypothesize that advantaged group members hold more inaccurate perceptions of equality policies than do members of disadvantaged groups. This research is connected to the RRBM principles of responsible research in various ways. In accordance with Principles 1-2, this research offers theoretical contributions to research in organizational behavior and social psychology and provides practical contributions to policymakers that aim to increase equality within business and society. In line with Principles 3-5, I will conduct a series of experiments in which I will recruit a diverse pool or participants, explore perceptions of equality policies across various group boundaries, examine perceptions between both real groups (e.g., White and Black Americans) and in arbitrary group settings, and obtain data from online and field settings. In line with Principles 6-7, I hope to not just share this work within academic settings but also to help practitioners translate the insights from this body of work into equality-enhancing policies that can help construct a better, more equitable society.

Ibrat Djabbarov Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University

What Is The Role Of Empathy In Institutional Change?

Each year around 5.5 million children under 5 years and pregnant women die from diseases that can be prevented by improving access to basic healthcare. Whilst the number of organizations advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proliferated, including SDG3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, many of their initiatives have been criticized as ineffective in part because they were not adequately sensitive to the local context and poorly formulated theories of change (Calderisi, 2012; Ramalingham, 2013). Management and organization studies, particularly the work examining institutional change can be helpful in developing insights that could advance, what Rosalind Eyben refers to as, “new ways of thinking” (Eyben, 2008) about how individuals and organizations can engage in institutional change, including improving access to healthcare services for young children and their families.

Through this study I seek to develop conceptual and actionable insights that could inform and encourage new ways of thinking and practices for actors engaged in systems change that usually accompanies the advancement of the SDGs. I adopt qualitative research methods to examine the work of institutional entrepreneurs – actors purposefully seeking to change institutional arrangements within an organization or a field (Garud, Hardy, & Maguire, 2007) – driven by the vision that one day no child dies from preventable diseases. Specifically, I want to explore the role of empathy in how actors make sense and enact change to yield research insights into the processes of institutional change at a micro level.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research

  • Principle 1: I seek to develop insights that can help actors engaging with complex systems and embark on change thoughtfully.
  • Principle 2: My research aims to integrate theory-based puzzle and practice-led problems to contribute to knowledge development and how it is applied by stakeholders.
  • Principle 3: Whilst this study is primarily located in management research, it intersects with development studies and policy studies.
  • Principle 4: This study utilizes several qualitative sources of data to probe and enrich the insights – interviews, documents analysis, and observations.
  • Principle 5: Engaging different stakeholders from the beginning was important to defining the scope and emphasis of what I studied, whilst also being open to surprises.
  • Principle 6: My hope is that the research insights can benefit a variety of groups – managers, policy makers, professionals, students – to consider alternative ways of thinking and practicing change.
  • Principle 7: My aim is to produce different outputs based on the research findings, including a journal publication, a teaching case study, a practice-oriented work, and a blog.

Olivia Foster-Gimbel Stern School of Business, New York University

In The Face Of Challenges, How Do Workplace Allies Maintain Their Commitment To Reducing Systemic Inequity?

Over the past few years, organizations have developed new programming to encourage their employees to become allies, those who advocate and actively work for the inclusion of marginalized groups, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle. This was fueled by the summer of 2020 with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement during the racially fraught climate of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, after George Floyd was murdered, organizations held webinars encouraging their members to evaluate their own privileges and employees began forming resource groups for those learning to be an ally for the first time. Allyship may be a powerful tool for increasing social equity, however, more research is needed to understand whether allies are effective at helping organizations meet their social equity goals. A particular threat to the impact of allyship is ambiguity: allyship is a new concept for many people and employees may not know how to be an ally. I suggest that this ambiguity may leave individuals unsure about how to behave as an ally, which can lead to paralysis and inaction. Allies may acknowledge that they should do something to reduce inequity but may feel like there are no clear right answers and many areas for potential missteps. As a result, employee’s commitment to and engagement in allyship may be especially likely to decrease over time, even after initially joining newly formed organizational allyship resource groups. The idea that organizational allyship programs may be all talk is major threat – marginalized employees are tired of empty promises. Thus, my research question asks: given ambiguity, how do workplace allies maintain their commitment to reducing systemic inequity? I study these emerging programs to understand how to reduce inequities and achieve justice for all through organizational allyship.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research:

My research follows the principles of responsible science. I contribute knowledge of allyship programs that will help organizations meet their social equity goals (Principle 1&2). My research develops new theories of allyship in management, drawing on research in multiple disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and education (Principle 2&3). I adopt a mixed-methods approach, conducting interviews with those organizing allyship programming in their companies to identify potential explanations which I can then test in a pre-registered experiment to ensure falsification of theory (Principle 4). This ensures that I ground my research in stakeholder insights without compromising academic integrity (Principle 5). In addition to publishing my results in a peer-reviewed journal, I will partner with companies to share my findings and see how they benefit from the insights I uncover (Principle 6&7). This research thus represents the beginning of a scholarly journey to understand how to create long-term societal impact through allyship.

Ouafaa Hmaddi Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon

Can We Bridge The Resource Gap For Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs? A Randomized Field Experiment In Morocco

Exploiting an entrepreneurial idea requires the right combination of factors, timing, and sometimes sheer luck. I examine what it takes to help entrepreneurs who need more luck than most to act on their idea, persist in the initial stages of the entrepreneurial process, and develop a successful strategy – those who live in areas where access to resources is extremely constrained both pre-entry (education and labor) and post-entry into entrepreneurship (training, mentoring, and funding). Specifically, I investigate how entrepreneurial action, persistence, and strategy formation in early-stage ventures are influenced by ventures’ access to different types of resources and whether such resources can offset the large gaps in resource endowment. In investigating this question, I try to emancipate the literature of resource mobilization from its selection biases to determine the causal effect of access to resources within an environment with high levels of human, social and financial capital inequalities. Whereas existing research has identified the impact of acquired and endowed resources together, in enabling entrepreneurial action and persistence, far less attention has been devoted to understanding such impact when the gaps in endowment are large and the chances to access are equal. I posit that access to resources would help increase entrepreneurial action even when large gaps in human and social capital endowment exist because it increases the entrepreneurs’ self-perceived quality and gives them access to information that helps the entrepreneur plan and know how to act. I further predict that access to funding helps increase persistence because it gives the entrepreneurs the slack needed to access more of their cognitive and emotional resources. Moreover, financial resources help the entrepreneurs experiment and pivot so they can persist longer using different learning mechanisms. In short, I plan to contribute to the general knowledge for both academics and policymakers to design and implement entrepreneurial policies that make entrepreneurship a path to reduce inequality rather than means to increase inequalities.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research

Principle 1—Service to Society: Bridging the resource gap for entrepreneurs serves disadvantaged entrepreneurs and the broader society given that such gap spills over to the product market representing the needs of unprivileged individuals.

Principle 2—Valuing Both Basic and Applied Contributions: Resource allocation within resource constrained environments is at the center of attention of resource holders such as policy makers and accelerators.

Principle 3—Valuing Plurality and Multidisciplinary Collaboration: In studying entrepreneurial resource mobilization, I bring my organizational research training and borrow from the literature and methodologies of development economics to guide my theoretical thinking and research design.

Principle 4—Sound Methodology: This research is based on a randomized field experiment. For more details, the pre-registration ID for this experiment is RCT ID AEARCTR-0005305.

Principle 5—Stakeholder Involvement: Working closely with the host organization and being in the field during the design and implementation is key driver for the success of this experiment.

Principle 6—Impact on Stakeholders: This research helps entrepreneurial resource holders (induvial and institutional) understand how to optimally allocate their resources to disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

Principle 7—Broad Dissemination: I plan to share the results of this research with scholars as well as practitioners through academic papers, conferences, blog posts, and white papers.

Diana Jue-Rajasingh Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Why Do Markets And Companies That Exist To Create Social Value, Such As Those That Promote Products Addressing Global Health And Human Development Challenges, Often Fail Or Are Slow To Grow? How Can These Market And Institutional Challenges Be Overcome?

Millions of people around the world are exposed to contaminants in the environment, such as water-borne diseases and air pollution, resulting in social justice issues highlighted by multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals including “good health and well-being,” “reduced inequality,” and “gender equality.” Environmental health innovations like inexpensive water purifiers and smoke-reducing cookstoves, have been designed for the most vulnerable “base of the pyramid” consumers. The reality, however, is that these innovations have not attained full-fledged acceptance, acquisition, and adoption. Along with the public and social sector, private sector actors are increasingly involved in the provision of these health-protecting innovations. That said, although for-profit business models have taken up the mission to provide these products, few have done so successfully. My dissertation research is motivated by the following questions: Why do markets and companies that exist to create social value, such as those that promote products addressing global health and human development challenges, often fail or are slow to grow? How can these market and institutional challenges be overcome? My dissertation consists of three studies that examine aspects of the consumer adoption and firm provision of environmental health innovations. In my first study, I study the role of social impact framing in persuading partners to join value chains for these innovations. In my second study, I study the role of mobile phone-based reminders in convincing consumers of these products’ long-term value. In my third study, I study how funders shape emerging markets for these life-improving innovations through their preferences for certain types of ventures and entrepreneurs. Together, these studies address not only the UN Sustainable Development Goals mentioned above, but also “partnerships,” “no poverty,” and “decent work and economic growth,” as they explore ways to pursue inclusive and equitable development with the involvement of the private sector.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research:

This research design follows the principles of responsible research. Because my dissertation topic directly addresses issues of social justice and equitable development, this research is in service to society (Principle 1). The results of this work include implementable strategies that can be immediately put into practice by socially motivated firms operating in the field (Principle 2). Because this design relies heavily on global fieldwork, it draws on the contributions and perspectives of a variety of local stakeholders and tests interventions in the local context (Principles 3 and 5). Experiments will be pre-registered, and all human interactions will be put before the relevant institutional review board (Principle 4). Since my research has important practical implications for stakeholders (e.g., users, funders, entrepreneurs, and industry associations promoting environmental health innovations), I will also write and disseminate short practitioner-oriented reports for communities of practice, such as the Clean Cooking Alliance, which would be interested in these findings, as well professional journals, such as the Stanford Social Innovation Review (Principle 6 and 7).

Ussama Ahmad Khan Foster School of Business, University of Washington

How Do Organizations Fighting Poverty Form Relationships Based On Trust, Respect, And Support With Their Beneficiaries? How Do These Relationships Allow People In Poverty To Experience Growth In Their Financial, Social, Emotional, And Cognitive Well-Being?

The world today is faced with several grand challenges. One of those grand challenges is global poverty and inequality. Millions of people around the world live under conditions of extreme financial hardship and vulnerability. Organizations have played a key role in the fight against poverty. One of the most promising interventions for poverty alleviation was the advent of the microfinance model where poor people were offered micro-loans to start or expand their business ventures. However, recent evidence has suggested that microfinance has not had the transformative effect that was hoped for. I suggest that part of the reason that microfinance has not been as effective is because it has primarily used an economics lens to understand the issue of poverty and inequality. However, in addition to financial hardship, the poor face other forms of hardships including health inequality, trauma, and human-right violations. In this dissertation, I use an organizational behavior lens to theorize the role of relationships based on respect, trust, and support in how microfinance organizations can become more effective and help people living in poverty to heal from the social, emotional, and cognitive effects of poverty. To answer these questions, I focus on Akhuwat, Pakistan’s largest microfinance organization that charges zero interest on its loans and aims to eradicate poverty through compassion, equity, and dignity. In Study 1, I conducted over 40 interviews with Akhuwat borrowers and other key stakeholders. Using emerging insights from the qualitative study of the lives of the poor, I plan to conduct a field survey study and a randomized control trial study. This research has the potential to change the landscape of the microfinance industry in Pakistan and other developing countries and has important implications for how organizations conceptualize helping the poor.

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research:

This research aims to develop theoretical as well as applied knowledge on how development and microfinance organizations create relationships with their beneficiaries based on respect, trust, and support, and the social-psychological processes through which such relationships enable growth in their financial, emotional, social, and cognitive well-being (Principles 1 and 2). By integrating theories from multiple disciplines (economics, microfinance, organizational behavior) and using rigorous methodology (qualitative, filed surveys, and filed experiments), this research hopes to generate novel insights into the phenomenon (Principles 3 and 4). Throughout the processes of refining the study design as well as later on, regular interaction and exchange with key stakeholders including Akhuwat management has enabled this work to be grounded in the social and cultural realities of the context as well-being practically relevant (Principles 5 and 6). I hope to disseminate the lessons from this research across multiple academic as well as practitioner forums that will create greater awareness and impact (Principle 7).

Afsa Mukasa Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde

How Do Ties (Or Gaps) Between Indigenous Informal Micro-Entrepreneurs And MNEs Support Or Deter Entrepreneurship, And How Can They Be Leveraged For More Inclusive Growth?

On one hand, 80% of sub-Saharan’s economic activity occurs in the informal space (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011; Chen, 2001; Williams et al., 2011) yet this sector contributes averagely 38% to regional (GDP) growth. On the other, women represent 60% of this activity (GEM, 2019) yet the financing gap for African women in agricultural value chains is estimated at USD 15.6 Billion (AFFAWA, 2021). This situation needs urgent redress.

Base of the Pyramid (BoP) models (Prahalad & Hammond, 2002) provide a blue print against which most decisions by global organizations are made today: they propose that by availing basic goods and services in developing markets, MNEs drive growth and contribute to poverty alleviation. MNEs are vital: large employers, technology providers, and tax payers with under-utilized capacity to consume locally produced goods. However riots against them are rampant: catalyzed by the global pandemic. This is paradoxical. Different social-political risks e.g. the Jacob Zuma riots of 2021, George Floyd moment, and “Me too” movement precipitate and similarly burst into a deadly and rather spectacular display of the gap between indigenous people and MNEs. Societal expectation has certainly changed.

When conflict or revolution manifests, normal science must prevail (Kuhn, 1996; 2021). So we challenge the relevance of BoP assumptions. The study evolves into business model development via an ecosystem exploration. Using embeddedness theory (Granovetter, 1973), we showcase the role of an intermediary BPW Uganda (www.bpw-international.org). Women-led actors bridge the informal and formal space and build synergies with civil sector, policy makers, and international networks. We conceptualize how the model applies to MNEs. Symbolic directives of Mandela (2005) towards equality warrant a mandate to reorient our global attention to host communities as primary stakeholder (Mukasa et al., 2021).

Alignment with RRBM Principles of Responsible Research:

I empirically study peripheral yet mainstream communities in the Global South, marred with issues of inequality (Principle 1). The research contributes towards theory and practice (Principle 2). Informality is complex and diverse: so to ensure quality research, findings from Uganda are explained by drawing parallels to South Africa and elsewhere in and outside the region (Principle 3). Action research and phenomenology involving 3 phases of data collection over a 10 year period from 2013 to 2022 is engaged, following the Gioia method of grounded theory (Principle 4). In addition to exploring the two private sector actors and a gender-led intermediary, I engage an ecosystem approach interviewing practitioners and policy makers to widen the source. The above steps set the scene for disseminating findings towards practical implications after completion of the research (Principle 5). I will utilize the existing BPW platform and partner with responsible practitioners such as AfDB, ITC, UN women, NSSF, and PSFU to influence government policy (Principle 6). Open data sharing principles apply. Preliminary findings attracted an invitation to publish a book (Palgrave Macmillan) on the broad research topic which posits continuous simulation by engaging more case studies (Principle 7).


  1. AFFAWA (Affirmative Finance action for African Women), African Development Bank, https://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/afawa-affirmative-finance-action-women-africa
  2. Banerjee, A. V., & Duflo, E. (2011). 02 A billion hungry peoples? In Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Povertyhttps://doi.org/10.1108/13666282200100026
  3. Bosma, N., & Kelley, D. (2019). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report: 2018/2019. In Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
  4. Chen, M.A., 2001. Women and informality: A global picture, the global movement. Sais Review21(1), pp.71-82.
  5. Granovetter, M.S., 1973. The strength of weak ties. American journal of sociology78(6), pp.1360-1380.
  6. Kuhn, T., 2021.The structure of scientific revolutions (pp. 176-177). Princeton University Press.
  7. Mandela, N., 2005. Make Poverty History http://www.cippusa.com/in-full-mandelas-poverty-speech/
  8. Mukasa, A., Sahasranamam, S. and Nicolopoulou, K., 2021, March. A review of technological micro-entrepreneur-multinational enterprise ties in sub-Saharan Africa: integrating effectuation into base of the pyramid model. In 21st Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management.
  9. Prahalad, C. K., & Hammond, A. (2002). Serving the world’s poor, profitably. In Harvard Business Review.
  10. RRBM position paper, accessible from www.rrbm.network
  11. Tsui, A.S., 2019. Guidepost: Responsible research and responsible leadership studies. Academy of Management Discoveries, (ja).
  12. Williams, C.C., Shahid, M.S. and Martínez, A., 2016. Determinants of the level of informality of informal micro-enterprises: Some evidence from the city of Lahore, Pakistan. World Development84, pp.312-325.