Third Annual (2020) IACMR Responsible Research in Management Award Finalists (7)



In response to media exposés and activist group pressure to eliminate exploitive working conditions, multinational companies have pushed their suppliers to adopt labor codes of conduct and improve their labor practices to meet the standards set forth in these codes. We examine a proprietary dataset from a large social auditing firm that audited 3,276 supplier factories in 55 countries on behalf of 102 buyers from 11 countries from 2012 through 2015. Audit teams assess the extent to which factories’ workplace conditions meet a single code of conduct that specifies maximum working hours and minimum wages, occupational health and safety practices, and environmental management practices. We investigate the improvement of a supplier factory’s labor practice and find that three important internal structures are associated with greater improvement in labor practices: payment incentives (e.g., piece-rate payment), certifications to management standards (e.g., SA8000 and WRAP), and unions. Specifically, factories that avoided the high-powered productivity incentive of piece-rate pay improved their audit score in successive audits 55% more than factories that used piece-rate payment. Supplier factories certified to management system standards improved by an average of 17% more than noncertified factories.  Unionized supplier factories improved 20% more than nonunionized ones. We also find important interactions among these three internal structures — piece-rate payment tempers labor practice improvement associated with certifications and unions, and certifications and unions complement each other. Our findings suggest important strategic considerations for managers selecting supplier factories and provide key insights for the design of transnational sustainability governance regimes.



This study sought to understand the role of emotions and values in solving grand challenges of water sustainability, drawing on ethnographic and longitudinal data of the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council (the Council). The paper investigates how and why Council members embedded in disparate logics are able to overcome diverse and sometimes conflicting interests in water, and construct a new shared-governance logic together. An inductive theory-building approach was used, with data including naturalist observations, semi-structured interviews, and archives. The findings showed that social emotions, moral emotions, and emotional energy facilitated logic-construction cycles by working through the agentic mechanisms of openness and reflexivity, commitment and engagement respectively. The study demonstrated that positive emotions resulted in the continued elaboration and enactment of a new shared governance logic, whilst negative emotions seemed to weaken the new logic. The findings offer new insights into the role of emotions in agency and institutional dynamics, and illustrate how micro level interactions affect meso- and macro level social structures. The work has been presented to policy makers at federal, provincial, and regional government level, in addition to academics and local communities. The executive committee of the Council took the findings of this study seriously, and the Council has since re-formed sub-committees and produced a new Water Sustainability Document that positively impacted the practice of water sustainability. This study on grand challenges makes a tangible contribution to a better and more sustainable world.



We started with the observation that progress toward greater equality is a fragmented process, whereby substantive advances in some domains (e.g., top leadership representation) coexist with persisting inequality in others (e.g., pay). The study thus sought to understand how messages celebrating progress in women’s representation in top corporate leadership may affect people’s concern with persisting gender inequality in other domains (e.g., pay gap, housework). Across two correlational and three experimental studies, we find that when people perceive a high (vs. low) level of female representation in top leadership, they express less concern with persisting forms of gender inequality (e.g., pay gap, housework). Why does reading a positive message produce this negative reaction? We find that people who perceive a high (vs. low) level of women’s representation in top leadership come to overgeneralize the extent to which women have access to equal opportunities. In identifying the potential detrimental consequences of messages celebrating substantial changes in the gender composition of traditionally male-dominated leadership spaces, this work helps address a blind spot in academics’ and practitioners’ understandings of the psychological processes set in motion by social progress in organizations. The paper’s conceptualization of gender progress as uneven and fragmented (rather than as linear and continuous) across domains of inequality will better equip business leaders to anticipate previously overlooked barriers to gender progress that may paradoxically emerge as their organizations and societies advance towards greater gender equality. Since publication, the research has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, and has been presented at the 2019 ASCEND Summit, targeted at business leaders seeking to transform their organizations.



This study sought to understand how an entrepreneur’s gender impacts the decision to obtain sustainability certification. Theories of social identity and institutions were combined to develop a novel theoretical framework explaining why and under what conditions women would be more likely to attain such certifications. Data were then collected on prospective B Corporations and their institutional environments to test the research question using Heckman full information maximum likelihood probit models in which stage 1 and stage 2 models are estimated simultaneously. Women-owned businesses were found to be three times as likely to pursue B Corporation certification as otherwise identical non-women-owned businesses, and this tendency was amplified for women-owned businesses located in contexts where sustainability norms are relatively weak, mimetic pressure to obtain sustainability certification is low, and woman-owned businesses are less prevalent. These findings challenge prior work that suggests that certifications are used exclusively to increase legitimacy, instead offering evidence of their role in authenticating business owners’ values-based social identities. Moreover, the findings offer evidence of how women play an important role in “jumpstarting” movements such as those associated with the Certified B Corporation, which are focused on advancing businesses that enhance the well-being of both people and the planet. This research has since been featured in social media and was presented at B Lab’s Annual Champions Retreat.



This study sought to build an inductive, qualitative study of independent workers, people not affiliated with an organization or established profession, to develop a theory about the management of precarious and personalized work identities.  The analysis involved repeated iterations between two stages. The first involved synthesizing in a descriptive yet comprehensive fashion the experiences that participants described. The second involved abstracting a theoretical articulation of the identity processes the authors set out to investigate. The evidence found the absence of organizational or professional membership caused workers to experience stark emotional tensions. Lacking the holding environment provided by an organization, the workers studied endeavored to create one for themselves through cultivating connections to routines, places, people, and a broader purpose. These personal holding environments helped them manage the broad range of emotions stirred up by their precarious working lives and focus on producing work that let them define, express, and develop their selves. By clarifying the process through which people manage emotions associated with precarious and personalized work identities, and thereby render their work identities viable and their selves vital, this paper advances theorizing on the emotional underpinnings of identity work and the systems psychodynamics of independent work. Further information can be read on this website:



The book contends people’s economic potential is directly connected to the vital networks that power the modern economy, as such, business, government, and civil society must devise and implement effective initiatives to ensure inclusive growth is achieved through the global ‘democratization of productivity’ (access and participation to vital networks of services and know-how). An array of case studies are presented, demonstrating people’s economic potential is possible, only, when they have access to the vital networks powering the modern economy.  The book demonstrates the logic of inclusive growth, warning if left unaddressed, the gap between the wealthy and the poor, in both developed and developing economies will continue to widen. Since publication, the book has been presented at the annual international conference of the EFMD (European Foundation of Management Development) and made available by the Asian Case Studies Centre at Singapore Management University. Copies of the book have also been distributed at the annual conferences of AABS (African Association of Business Studies) and the AAPBS (Association of Asia-Pacific Business Schools).



The study examines how global MFO’s (microfinance organizations) may be impacted by organizational social outreach and financial stability.  A framework is developed to predict the compatibility of social outreach and financial sustainability for different types of enterprises.  Data on 2,037 microfinance organizations in 115 nations between 1995 and 2013 was collected from the Microfinance Information Exchange (IX), a nonprofit initiative founded by the World Bank. A generalized least squares (GLS) regression was used to analyze operational self-sufficiency per MFO year.  The findings supported that social–financial trade-offs were amplified when a social issue was intertwined with deep-seated cultural problems, such as discrimination, and when an enterprise operates in a weak institutional environment. The study provided evidence it is not always realistic to ask local, entrepreneurs to launch sustainable social ventures if they come from disadvantaged places that do not support innovative, sustainable solutions.  Instead, non-profits and charities may be more effective, as these organizations can focus on social mission pursuits without worrying about revenue generation.  The results have since been shared at the European Microfinance Conference and with the European Centre for Microfinance Research, World Bank, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and the International Monetary Fund.