RRBM Dare to Care Dissertation Scholarships

2023 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 2023 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. This year’s scholarship program focused on research topics that generate knowledge or ideas to reduce inequality or promote social justice, especially focusing on the role of business organizations. Inequality or injustice issues that relate to 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 among more than 90 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.


2023 Scholarship Winners 

(click on the title of the work to see a research summary and its alignment with the RRBM Principles of Responsible Research)


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.