Spotlight on new research publications in August
Photo: Bjarke MacCarthy
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The following is a rough list. If you need more information, please contact the researcher.
The academic articles have been peer-reviewed, which means they have been judged by other researchers within the same area.
THE FOLLOWING IS THIS MONTH’S PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH – ENJOY YOUR READING:
Find the abstracts under each heading.
Abstract: A large literature at the crossroads of biology and cognitive psychology has shown that individuals hold generally positive expectations about future events. Despite this evidence, to date it remains unclear whether optimism has positive or negative implications for entrepreneurial activities. We examine this question in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which provides a unique way to study the role of optimism on the (in)ability of firms to overcome exogenous shocks. Using a large-scale longitudinal survey covering 1,632 UK firms, we find that entrepreneurs who score high on optimism were more likely to innovate and make organizational changes to their firms during the Covid-19 outbreak. Moreover, optimistic entrepreneurs experienced higher revenue growth during the pandemic. Collectively, our study sheds light on one of the psychological factors explaining why some firms can prosper and some others struggle in the wake of an external shock.
Abstract: Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study explores the hedging and safe-haven potential of green bonds for conventional equity, fixed income, commodity, and forex investments. We employ the cross-quantilogram approach to understand better the dynamic relationship between two assets under different market conditions. Our full sample results reveal that the green bond index could serve as a diversifier asset for medium- and long-term equity investors. Besides, it can serve as a hedging and safe-haven instrument for currency and commodity investments. Moreover, the sub-sample analysis of the pandemic period shows a heightened short- and medium-term lead-lag association between the green bond index and conventional investment returns. However, the green bond index emerges as a significant hedging and safe-haven asset for long-term investors of conventional financial assets. Our findings offer valuable insights for long-term investors when their portfolios are comprised of conventional assets such as equities, commodities, forex, and fixed income securities. Further, our findings reveal the potential role of green bond investments in global financial recovery efforts without compromising the low-carbon transition targets.
Abstract: This paper introduces more advanced panel data specifications that would exploit heterogeneity and allow for arbitrary forms of autocorrelation and heteroskedasticity in the error terms.In line with Assaf and Tsionas (2019a, 2019b), this paper builds on the Mundlak device to propose panel data models to allow for random slope coefficients, as well as time slope coefficients. This paper allows for arbitrary heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation, thus mitigating possible model misspecification. This paper develops and estimates the model in a Bayesian framework. This paper’s methods can be generalized to many nonlinear models including limited dependent variable models.This paper compares several competing models such as a classical panel data model, which has only firm effects. This paper also examines the role of standard deviations in the formation of firm effects and time effects in the Mundlak device. This paper clearly shows that our framework introduces the best flexibility and model fit. This paper illustrates the importance of using more flexible models (i.e. unit-specific and time-varying coefficients) for future estimation of panel data in the field. This paper discusses techniques that will improve panel data estimation in the hospitality and tourism literature.
Abstract: We exploit the release of a mobile application for a financial aggregation platform to analyze how technology adoption changes consumer financial decision making. The app reduced the cost of accessing personal financial information, and we find that this led to a drop in non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees. Because of the manner in which these fees are incurred, this represents an unambiguous welfare improvement for users of the platform. The leading explanation for this result appears to be mistake avoidance due to easier access to information.
Abstract: Many applications in data analysis study whether two categorical variables are independent using a function of the entries of their contingency table. Often, the categories of the variables, associated with the rows and columns of the table, are grouped, yielding a less granular representation of the categorical variables. The purpose of this is to attain reasonable sample sizes in the cells of the table and, more importantly, to incorporate expert knowledge on the allowable groupings. However, it is known that the conclusions on independence depend, in general, on the chosen granularity, as in the Simpson paradox. In this paper we propose a methodology to, for a given contingency table and a fixed granularity, find a clustered table with the highest χ2 statistic. Repeating this procedure for different values of the granularity, we can either identify an extreme grouping, namely the largest granularity for which the statistical dependence is still detected, or conclude that it does not exist and that the two variables are dependent regardless of the size of the clustered table. For this problem, we propose an assignment mathematical formulation and a set partitioning one. Our approach is flexible enough to include constraints on the desirable structure of the clusters, such as must-link or cannot-link constraints on the categories that can, or cannot, be merged together, and ensure reasonable sample sizes in the cells of the clustered table from which trustful statistical conclusions can be derived. We illustrate the usefulness of our methodology using a dataset of a medical study.
Abstract: This paper examines the predictive power of interest rate uncertainty over pre-provision net revenues (PPNR) in a large panel of bank holding companies (BHC). Utilizing a linear dynamic panel model based on Bayes predictor, we show that supplementing forecasting models with interest rate uncertainty improves the forecasting performance with the augmented model yielding lower forecast errors in comparison to a baseline model which includes unemployment rate, federal funds rate, and spread variables. Further separating PPNRs into two components that reflect net interest and non-interest income, we show that the predictive power of interest rate uncertainty is concentrated on the non-interest component of bank revenues. Finally, examining the point predictions under a severely stressed scenario, we show that the model can successfully predict the negative effect on overall bank revenues with a rise in the non-interest component of income during 2009:Q1. Overall, the findings suggest that stress testing exercises that involve bank revenue models can benefit from the inclusion of interest rate uncertainty and the cross-sectional information embedded in the panel of BHCs.
Abstract: Although outcome measurement is a key element of outcome-based contracting, the main challenges related to the measurement processes in these programs are still under-investigated. To fill this gap, this article examinates the challenges and opportunities of measuring social outcomes in outcome-based contracting, focusing particularly on three main areas: the design of measurement processes; the definition of outcomes, metrics, and targets; and the practical implications of the measurement processes. The analysis focuses on four case studies in the UK. Regarding the measurement of payment outcomes, our results bring into question the viability of outcome-based contracting for providing evidence that can inform policymaking. However, the results highlight the opportunities emerging from the measurement of outcomes not related to the payment mechanism and from involving different stakeholders in the measurement process. Finally, we discuss future research on the influence of governance and bargaining power on the measurement of outcome-based contracting.
Abstract: This study examines the effect of environmental, social and governance risks on firm value. We analyze the extent to which environmental, social and governance related news affect tourism firms' abnormal returns using event study methodology. The results show that environmental, social and governance related news releases do not significantly affect firm value in the short-term. We further investigate the effect of environmental, social and governance risks on the value of tourism firms during the recent pandemic utilizing difference-in-differences analysis. The results provide robust evidence that sustainable business practices provide higher resilience to pandemic-like external shocks. Also, the presence of a sustainability committee mitigates the adverse effects of environmental, social and governance risks on firm value. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Abstract: This article examines the role of ownership for the relationship between innovation and exports. Analyzing a large firm-level data set on Chinese manufacturing firms during 2000–2007, we find that state ownership has a positive moderating effect on the innovation–export relationship. We ascribe this effect to state-owned firms’ privileged access to complementary resources and networks that strengthen their ability to use innovation to generate exports. In contrast to many earlier studies, we also find that foreign ownership has a negative moderating effect. One likely reason is that indicators of local innovation do not reflect the flows of knowledge between foreign-owned firms and their parent companies. This finding highlights the fact that innovation and production may be geographically separated within multinational enterprises. A policy implication of the analysis is that public support to innovation is likely to have stronger effects on exports when it targets firms that carry out most of their activities in domestic market.
Abstract: Through their assortment and merchandising decision-making retailers influence consumers choice by adjusting the choices available to them. Anchored in a market practice view, this article studies the role retailers play in shaping markets through their assortment building efforts. It demonstrates that retailers are not just reacting to changes in consumer demand but are becoming more proactive and actively try to change consumer demand in certain ways as retailers strive to be good corporate citizens. We show that trying to change how markets function is fraught with difficulties, as actors in the value chain must coordinate their expectations about what the market will look like in future.
Abstract: New digital tools for monitoring forest- and land-cover change have made it easier for civil society actors to call firms to account for deforestation. In response, companies in deforestation-linked global value chains (GVCs) have turned to these technologies themselves. In contrast to many case analyses of technology in GVCs, which focus on how technology changes production processes, forcing governance to adapt, forest-monitoring technologies change governance directly. Synthesising work on transaction characteristics and power relations in GVCs to address this novel situation, we argue that monitoring technologies’ effects on GVCs will likely depend on their accessibility. Proprietary technologies favour large-scale operations and already established lead firms, while open technologies could support democratization. Treating forest- and value-chain information as a public good could support more inclusive, equitable and sustainable value chains.
Abstract: We exploit a large historical shock to the Danish labour market to provide evidence of how restrictions on labour mobility increase monopsony power and thereby reduce wages. By severely limiting the possibility of the rural population to work beyond their place of birth, the reintroduction of serfdom in 1733 aimed to increase monopsony power and secure cheaper labour in the countryside. Using a unique data source based on the archives of estates from the eighteenth century, we test whether serfdom affected the wages of farmhands more strongly than other groups in the labour market, and results based on a difference-in-differences approach reveal evidence consistent with a strong negative effect following its introduction. This is confirmed when we use a different control group from the Swedish province of Scania. We also investigate whether one mechanism was that boys with rural backgrounds were prevented from taking up apprenticeships in towns and find suggestive evidence that this was indeed the case.
Abstract: The learning opportunities from exporting are a core theme of International Business research. Learning by exporting research has primarily discussed the technological learning outcomes associated with exports. We integrate theoretical mechanisms from this literature into a model of learning in the marketing function. We hypothesize that firms that are confronted with novel pricing, packaging, distribution or design strategies on export markets will be able to exploit them productively, as evidence of learning by exporting in marketing. We test our predictions using panel data of Spanish manufacturing firms for 1990–2009 and find suggestive evidence for the positive effect of export-induced marketing expenditures on firm productivity. These learning effects are however lower compared with technological learning via R&D.
Abstract: Over the last two decades republican thought has attracted a growing interest from political, moral and legal scholars. These contemporary theoretical syntheses of ‘neo-republican’ thought have been closely related to intellectual history and the idea of recovering an overshadowed tradition of political thought. In this vein, a classical set of historical moments and places (e.g., ancient Rome, renaissance Italy, civil-war England or revolutionary America among others) and specific political practices within those contexts appear to be the main source of what republicanism meant – and what it could mean today.
Abstract: This study introduces the evolutionary concept of assortative sociality and explores how it moderates pandemic anxiety effects on attitudes towards tourism and travel decisions. Based on a large-scale online survey (N = 4630) conducted in three European countries, we demonstrate that COVID-19 anxiety triggered assortative sociality, which reflects both xenophobic and ethnocentric traits. This changes perceptions of domestic and international travel attractiveness, and further leads to travel choices prioritizing domestic destinations. At the same time, xenophobic and ethnocentric traits also affected citizen attitudes towards supporting the domestic tourism industry ‒ an industry that accommodates foreigners. In conclusion, the paper discusses the seemingly paradoxical effects of a pandemic threat on domestic versus international tourism.
Abstract: In response to their growing societal importance, digital infrastructures (DIs) are increasingly becoming subject to direct governmental regulation with the ambition to control innovation possibilities in those DIs. While there is a general lack of literature that conceptualises control regulation in relation to DI innovation, the existing research presents seemingly contradictory observations of regulation both enabling and inhibiting innovation. This paper therefore elaborates on how different types of control regulation impact various forms of DI innovation. We draw on modular systems theory to extend our understanding and develop a conceptual model that demonstrates two paths by which two types of DI control regulation influence DI architectural modularity as a mediating factor, which then conditions DI innovation. Our model provides an in-depth explanation of the relationship between DI control regulation and DI innovation that articulates and nuances the effects of DI control regulation in a way that was not previously present in the DI literature. In terms of practical implications, our model can help regulatory stakeholders both develop DI regulation and respond to regulatory action.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual reflection based on the author’s personal research experience, reading of the literature and contact with the academic education of emerging scholars. In this reflection on the paper “Accounting for tacit coordination: The passing of accounts and the broader case for accounting theory” (Vollmer, 2019), the author argues that the silences of the qualitative empirical management accounting research process may preclude research from understanding the silences of accounting practitioners and shape the trajectory of the discipline as a whole. The author presents a slightly exaggerated depiction of the qualitative empirical management accounting research process. From this, the author infers what impedes empirically studying unorthodox phenomena such as the silences of accounting practitioners. The author offers a critical perspective on the author’s own research process, using accounting silences as way of reflecting on the potential and limitations of empirical research. Finally, the author makes tentative suggestions for opening up the standard research process.
Abstract: Seafarers work in nomadic isolated work settings and are more likely to suffer from stress and fatigue in the workplace. Their work has thus been argued to have detrimental effects on their partner relationships. This paper forwards the idea that work conditions of seafarers may lead to social detachment from their close social relations (e.g. family) and that these specifically cause seafarers to exhibit a different behaviour in terms of one of the most important decisions they make when coming ashore — residential location choice. Our empirical analysis of former Danish seafarers and a sample of matched traditional workers suggests that individuals who until recently worked as seafarer to a lesser extent rely on family-based social relations than traditional workers when making residential location choices. They chose to locate close to their former peers, suggesting a shift in social attachments. The isolated lifestyles of seafarers influence social attachment. Geographic distances and social contexts are shown to interact and affect their choice of residential location. This has implications for our understanding of the well-being of seafarers and may offer new aspects on the recent development of the work conditions of seafarers.
Abstract: In this age of multiple economic challenges and stimulus packages, is it a good time to heavily invest in tomorrow's energy networks and research infrastructure? The academic literature widely acknowledges that innovation is key to decarbonising the energy sector and fostering sustainable development. However, R&D and innovation have not been strongly promoted following the liberalisation of the energy sector. Is this a case of business, regulatory, or policy failure, or are there other factors involved? In this paper, we suggest reasons for the slow uptake of new technologies in energy networks and discuss some remedies for the European context, where innovation in the area of energy networks is crucial for the implementation of the Green Transition. The solutions to address this shortfall need to be considered in an overarching manner. The specific points raised are with reference to incentive regulation, the establishment of competitive funding models like Ofgem's Low Carbon Network Fund, and a large European collaborative research hub.
Abstract: Working from home has not only attracted attention during the Covid-19 pandemic but has been researched for a long time in connection with topics such as the flexibilization of work, digitalisation and changing values. Central issues around the organisational and societal phenomenon of working from home are linked to the resources and strains of employees. This has direct consequences for the leadership and management of human resources. In this article, we review the results of research contributions available in this issue and at the same time show that working from home raises even broader questions, for example about the emergence of new hybrid forms of organisation and employment or social justice or new infrastructures for living and working.
Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in healthcare are approaches to make people’s lives easier by anticipating and diagnosing diseases more swiftly than most medical experts. There is a direct link between the insurer and the policyholder when the distance between an insurance business and the consumer is reduced to zero with the use of technology, especially digital health insurance. In comparison with traditional insurance, AI and machine learning have altered the way insurers create health insurance policies and helped consumers receive services faster. Insurance businesses use ML to provide clients with accurate, quick, and efficient health insurance coverage. This research trained and evaluated an artificial intelligence network-based regression-based model to predict health insurance premiums. The authors predicted the health insurance cost incurred by individuals on the basis of their features. On the basis of various parameters, such as age, gender, body mass index, number of children, smoking habits, and geolocation, an artificial neural network model was trained and evaluated. The experimental results displayed an accuracy of 92.72%, and the authors analyzed the model’s performance using key performance metrics
Abstract: A robust academic field must set and revisit boundary conditions that define where, when, and to whom its insights apply. This is particularly true for a field such as global strategy where the ubiquity of the key terms invites indiscriminate use of the phrase. This essay argues that it is useful to define the field of global strategy as the subset of questions that meet the criteria for both “global” and “strategic” decisions. We offer an a priori approach to identifying and formulating problems that are unique to the global strategy field, suggest how our approach may help scholars better understand the “strategicness” of global decisions, and ultimately, offer a way for individuals with varied disciplinary or topical interests to connect with the field's core.
Abstract: This article presents the dark side of projects, engaging project scholars and practitioners in discussions about sensitive, confusing, uncomfortable, challenging, and questionable phenomena, such as corruption, sexism, money laundering, modern slavery, waste of resources, and organizational politics. The dark side impacts people’s lives, questioning the legitimacy of projects as forms of work organization and the political and ideological systems shaping the projects’ context. Project scholars and practitioners need to be aware of the harm the dark side of projects may promote. Ultimately, we aim to build awareness, promote research, and help sensitize our community to the dark side of projects.
Abstract: The 2021 energy crisis comes at an inconvenient time for the green transition agenda and can affect disposable income, unemployment and inflation. This article discusses the likely effects and implications for energy networks and policy. The economic principles behind the crisis may seem intractable, but they are familiar. A combination of known factors has caused the crisis. Europe is dependent on gas imports and a shortage of supplies has contributed to rising gas and electricity prices. The low-price elasticity of energy demand and supply makes them susceptible to price volatility even with modest quantity shocks. Higher CO2 abatement costs have forced some firms to increase their reliance on natural gas, which in turn drives up the gas prices. The crisis has brought forward the need for some overdue measures and policies including a more robust transition management, new transmission capacity, more storage, balance of contract types, and network regulation models.
Abstract: Entrepreneurs increasingly tap into both spatial and digital resource environments to mobilize critical resources in support of new ventures. Yet, we know surprisingly little about how entrepreneurs make joint use of these environments. Linking the recent debate on spatial and digital affordances to the resource mobilization literature, this study examines how entrepreneurs mobilize critical resources from local ecosystems and the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in complementary ways. We discuss two strategies of resource mobilization. (1) The circular strategy, which is mainly applied by social ventures, leverages community narratives and support for crowdfunding campaigns to strengthen and expand the very community support the campaigns are based on. (2) The cumulative strategy, which is mainly applied by commercial high-tech ventures, mobilizes the symbolic value of local institutional ties to attract crowdfunding backers and uses crowdfunding success to attract new resource-holders in local ecosystems. Our findings contribute to research on entrepreneurial resource mobilization and our understanding of the interplay of spatial and digital affordances.
Abstract: Meat consumption and production cause a significant share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the food sector. Behavioural food policy suggests using defaults – i.e., pre-setting a specific choice option – as an effective demand-side instrument to reduce meat consumption. This systematic review compiles, critically appraises, and synthesises existing empirical evidence on defaults that aim to reduce meat consumption. Beyond that, the underlying mechanisms and potential effect moderators in this context are explored. Our synthesis includes twelve individual studies comprising sixteen different default interventions. Although the extent of evidence is limited, we assess the quality to be relatively good. We find that defaults are effective in nudging consumers to eat less meat; despite heterogeneity in the design and implementation of interventions, virtually all studies find the default to reduce meat consumption. Moreover, our explorative analysis provides insights into how the default works in this context. First, we suppose the default primarily operates through the underlying mechanisms of endorsement and effort. Second, we identify four contextual moderators – namely the default’s invasiveness, the recognisability and presentation of the alternative, and the objective of the study setting – that appear to influence the impact. We conclude that defaults are a promising tool for climate-sensitive food policy. Future research could verify and quantify the causal impact of mechanisms and moderators, and assess defaults’ long-term and large-scale effectiveness.
Abstract: This article provides a critical overview of the current sociological debate on prefigurative politics by underlining its relevance for the study of progressive and emancipatory politics. Prefigurative politics is firstly introduced and contextualized from its initial use in the late Seventies until the more recent alter-globalization movement and Occupy. Prefigurative politics is described as being able to create, restore or defend collective spaces where it is possible to experiment not only with alternative practices of production and consumption, but, more holistically, with «alternative forms of life». The article continues with a discussion of «concrete» and «real» utopias in light of the recent contributions by prominent sociologists working on alternatives to capitalism such as Erik Olin Wright and Ana Cecilia Dinerstein. This part is followed by a brief review of the critiques posed to prefigurative politics, critiques that disregard it as ineffective and merely performative. The article´s final section includes a response to these critiques and affirms that we should move beyond a dualistic understanding of prefigurative politics, too often conceived as incompatible with conventional repertoires of political action. Prefigurative politics should rather be recognized as being ontologically and epistemologically unique, therefore representing a necessary component of any public sociology and political strategy aiming at being radical, emancipatory, and decolonial
Abstract: We analyze the implications of axioms formalizing entitlements to continued life for the evaluation of population health, when combined with basic structural axioms. A straightforward implication of our analysis is that if the scope of equal entitlements to continued life is not limited, concerns for morbidity (and not just mortality) are dismissed in the evaluation of population health. Nevertheless, with axioms formalizing a more limited scope of equal entitlement to continued life, we provide several characterization results of focal population health evaluation functions, ranging from lifetime utilitarianism to generalized healthy years equivalent utilitarianism.
Abstract: This article engages with socialist republicanism, which is preoccupied with extending freedom as non-domination, central to the neo-republican revival, from the political sphere of formal democracy to the economic sphere of capitalist production. Firstly, we discuss the transition from neo-republicanism to socialist republicanism. Secondly, we reconstruct the socialist republicanism of Antonio Gramsci, who was involved in the council movements in Turin in 1919–20. We argue that Gramsci applies the republican vocabulary of servitude to describe the capitalist workplace and analyse the workers’ councils as republican forms, allowing for popular self-determination in the economic sphere. Consequently, we contribute to the ongoing exploration of the historical, political, and conceptual affinities between republicanism and socialism and inscribe Gramsci as a key thinker in this endeavour.
Abstract: ‘Sustainable palm oil’ aims to eliminate deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, land conflicts and labour abuses from palm oil global value chains while maintaining palm oil production as a vehicle for development in tropical countries. However, smallholder palm oil growers are a small minority of those who are certified as sustainable and persistently face multiple socio-economic challenges. We analysed 100 journal articles that address smallholders, oil palm and issues related to sustainability in order to critically examine the current state of evidence for sustainability upgrading in smallholder palm oil global value chains. We identify a focus on sustainability certification in the academic research agenda that has left key implementation and knowledge gaps on meeting smallholders’ needs outside of a certification framework. An implication of this is that buyers, policy-makers, and consumers do not recognise both the challenges and advantages of small-scale agriculture for sustainable palm oil. We found that certification standards struggle to resolve persistent smallholder challenges, such as low incomes, low yields and insecure land tenure. Certification appears to be a flawed method to conceptualize and measure the sustainability of smallholders. We, therefore, advocate broadening approaches to studying sustainability and smallholder palm oil production, particularly to target issues that are of immediate concern for smallholder farmers as opposed to prioritising productivity. Future research should take inspiration from diverse established fields of research in defining sustainable practices, such as agroecology or agroforestry.
Abstract: This study explores what can be learned from listening to and engaging deeply with muxes, the third gender of Mexico's indigenous Zapotec community. We examine indigenous peoples' forms of gender organizing, work, and activism through extensive fieldwork in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico and intellectual engagement with scholarship on gender, coloniality, and third space theory. The empirical case showcases how muxes organize and defend their gender identity vis-à-vis processes of colonization and hybridity. The findings reveal unique forms of indigenous knowledges, gender activism, and gender organizing and are categorized into six themes: language and subjectification; work, social structure, and sexuality; religion and myth; esthetics and beauty; work discrimination and gender-based violence; and emancipation and queer activism. The analysis explains the possibility of becoming of different gender/ethnic identities and multiple hybrid representations of agency and repression. We critically examine novel insights on how indigenous gender organizing is paradoxically appreciated and revered while also inciting discrimination and violence. The empirical findings help us reconsider theoretical discourses of ongoing (de)coloniality and the third space of gender organizing.
Abstract: We conducted a qualitative study (2019–22) to contextualise Colombia's energy policy for sustainable development and renewable energy diversification, focusing on the new governance toolbox of market incentives, weak institutions, security risks in areas of limited statehood, and the role of indigenous people. We also examined how geopolitical events, such as COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are affecting fossil fuel and decarbonisation strategies. Our findings suggest that weak institutions are a major obstacle to Colombia's energy transition. The Western definition of energy democracy takes for granted good governance in line with SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; however, in Colombia, the context of social unrest, violence, corruption, and inequality hinders its implementation. Colombia's energy policy considers green investment a market opportunity rather than a way of institution building or phasing down fossil fuels, and there is no meaningful communication with civil society, especially indigenous people, to develop small-scale green investment initiatives. This study enhances energy policy by emphasising the role of governance and strong institutions in energy democracy. We argue that if governments and corporations were committed to climate change mitigation, they would invest in institution building over renewable energy.
Abstract: Corporate leadership, in particular that overseeing professional service firms (PSFs), such as accounting, auditing, and consulting firms, has been, and continues to be, overwhelmingly male-dominated. Despite a wealth of research and decades of implementing countless diversity and work-life balance (WLB) initiatives, only a small fraction of women ‘make partner’ in such PSFs. We argue that the problems around women’s career progression are reproduced and exacerbated by the very “caring” initiatives that claim to support these women. In order to investigate the implications of such WLB initiatives for women providing accounting services, this article draws on extensive empirical material gathered in the span of 12 years within two leading accounting, auditing, and consulting firms. From this material, we present the stories of four women accountants who are on the receiving end of these WLB initiatives – as well as their repressive effects. We find that WLB measures exert epistemic control, gaslighting women accountants by manipulating their sense of reality and persuading them to work less than their male counterparts. This repressive care feminizes these women, constructing them as fragile and thus in need to forgo work opportunities. However, once it is time for evaluations, their superiors forfeit their promotions. In so doing, WLB measures further gender the understanding of what ‘counts’ as accounting and consulting work and ultimately direct women’s careers sideways – into stagnation – rather than upwards, to partner levels.
Abstract: Digitalization provides opportunities for sustainable development. Cultivating postgraduates’ digital skills is an important task of higher education to support sustainable development (HESD). As a crucial way of cultivating digital skills, high-quality online learning processes are of great significance to achieve “Quality Education”, in line with the 2030 sustainable development agenda. Based on Biggs’s 3P (Presage-Process-Product) learning model, this study focused on the whole learning process and explored the relationship among postgraduates’ information literacy, online platforms, online knowledge-sharing processes and their innovation performance. The analysis of a questionnaire survey of 501 Chinese postgraduates showed that (1) information literacy has a positively predictive effect on postgraduates’ innovation performance; (2) different online learning processes lead to different learning results. Compared to the quantity-oriented online knowledge sharing process (Qty-KSP), the quality-oriented online knowledge sharing process (Qlty-KSP) is related to better innovation performance, which opens onto this study’s third finding: (3) Qty-KSP and Qlty-KSP play a parallel mediating effect between postgraduates’ information literacy and their innovation performance. Compared to Qty-KSP, Qlty-KSP is a more powerful intermediary variable, which leads to this study’s fourth finding; (4) an efficient online learning environment can contribute to higher-quality online learning process, thus improving postgraduates’ innovative performance. This study suggests that policy makers should develop postgraduates’ digital skills for sustainable development in the digital age. This can be achieved by (1) cultivating postgraduates’ information literacy; (2) encouraging them to practice high-quality online learning processes; and (3) providing an efficient sharing platform for sustainability, resilience, and digitalization in higher education.
Abstract: Research has demonstrated how the translation of a new management concept into organizational practices is impacted by the translators’ engagement with their local context. We expand this literature by demonstrating how a heterogenous institutional context prompts translators to create practice change but also practice maintenance. Building upon an interpretive analytical framework we offer a way forward to examine relationships between societal institutions and distributed collective work in change processes. Our longitudinal qualitative study based upon interviews and observations examines how the concept of value-based healthcare was translated at a hospital. The translators developed three micro-tactics: disregard, maintenance, and displacement, grounded in their narration of practice changes. Translators enacted institutional logics differently at the levels of meaning and practice when they framed, rationalised, and contextualised the potentialities of a new concept, and this complexity provided the possibility of various practice outcomes. We contribute to the understanding of translation by demonstrating how a heterogenous institutional context encourages translators to change selected practices but also to decouple and maintain most of the existing practices due to their enactment of institutionalised rationalities. Moreover, we discuss how translation outcomes are impacted by collaborating actors’ shared interpretations of their institutional context. Collaborating translators need to agree on whether and what practice change is valuable for the organization, and change is only possible when they interpret that they have the leverage to align a new idea with dominant institutional logics.