2021 “Responsible Research in Management” Award Distinguished Winners (4)


Much has been written about ethics from a variety of disciplines, with the most dominant influence from philosophers. Philosophers offer normative accounts of what they think people should do. More recently, behavioral scientists have entered the ethical arena, particularly after the collapse of Enron at the beginning of the millennium, to document how people actually behave – or what social scientists would call descriptive accounts, what we actually do. The book “Better” departs from both traditions. It is prescriptive. “Better” focuses on guiding you to be better than the real-world behavior observed and described by behavioral scientists, and better than the set of decisions that you would intuitively make, without believing that any of us will ever achieve the unreasonably high ethical standards provided by philosophical perspectives. While the prescriptive approach of guiding you to be better is different from what has been offered by philosophy and psychology, “Better” draws on both literatures to provide insights on how to be better. Philosophy provides us with a goal state, while psychology provides insight into why we remain so far from the goal state. By integrating these perspectives, “Better” provides optimal prescriptions on how to be better in the world we actually inhabit.


Women’s increased participation in the paid workforce is widely seen as an important remedy for various social ills such as poverty. But their ability to engage in paid work is obstructed by pre-existing domestic burdens, which extract a heavy toll on women’s time and energy. There is a wide literature documenting women’s work for households and their strategies for managing the time required to accomplish it, but this scholarship tends to position work/life balance as an individual-level time management issue. Women are expected to come up with personal strategies to “have it all.” Drawing on ethnographic research with low income working women from rural India, Goodman and Kaplan’s research finds that women’s ability to engage in paid work outside the home is contingent on the availability and willingness of household members to take up domestic responsibilities. Examining the role that other household members play in facilitating women’s workforce participation shows that it shouldn’t be seen as an individual balancing act but rather as a household negotiation, which has important implications for scholars and policy makers alike.


How do social media platforms impact the news and information that individuals consume? There is considerable concern that information discovery platforms create “echo chambers” and “filter bubbles” that lead users to biased information. Yet, these commonly used terms are ill-defined and easily misunderstood. To address the critical societal concern of platform-induced polarization, our study integrated ideas spanning multiple disciplines. We established theory to explain mechanisms and clarify outcomes characterizing how social media can influence information consumption. Partnering with Comscore–an online media metrics company–to acquire big data on actual Internet users, we compared online news consumption during periods of high and low social media usage for nearly 200,000 individuals between 2012 and 2016. We found that social media platforms have distinct effects on the diversity and partisanship of news that users choose to consume—outcomes typically conflated in previous research. Finding that various social media platforms impact news consumption in unique ways, we infer how platform design features for connecting users and algorithmically curating content may impact user choices. Our research has informed an important public debate about the impact of social media on society and provides a conceptual framework for future research of polarization, diversity, and news consumption.


Solving grand societal challenges requires the involvement of both public and private sector. Yet in some situations, both markets and governments fail to create appropriate solutions. Because of their small market size, many rare diseases lack treatments. Efforts of profit-oriented firms and public organizations yielded limited progress in developing treatments for rare diseases. Studying the context of drug development for rare diseases, we show how nonprofit actors can circumvent market and government failures by supporting patient groups in identifying treatment options using drugs developed for other purposes—a practice known as drug repurposing or drug repositioning. Our study identifies the ways in which nonprofit actors can propel drug repurposing by engaging patients in the drug development process, creating platforms and communities for knowledge exchange among diverse stakeholders, and supporting researchers in finding funding opportunities. Our study advances theory and practice on the comparative efficiency of alternative organizational arrangements such as social entrepreneurship for tackling societal challenges.