Kevin Lewis

April 06, 2021

Management Practices and Mergers and Acquisitions
John (Jianqiu) Bai, Wang Jin & Matthew Serfling
Management Science, forthcoming


Using a novel data set of establishment-level management practices from the U.S. Census Bureau, we show that firms with more specific, formal, frequent, or explicit (i.e., “structured”) management practices tend to acquire establishments with less structured management practices and, following the acquisition, adopt more structured practices at the target establishments. These changes are larger when acquirers have a greater incentive and ability to make changes and are also associated with improvements in establishment performance. Overall, our findings suggest that the adoption of more structured management practices constitutes an important source of value creation in mergers and acquisitions.

Economic implications of access to daylight and views in office buildings from improved productivity
Piers MacNaughton et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


Previous research has found significant impacts of daylight and views on the cognitive function of office workers. In this study, we use scores on decision‐making performance to estimate the annual economic potential of optimizing daylighting and views in U.S. offices. Cognitive scores were compared against over 100,000 previous test scores to obtain the distributional shift in cognitive performance when working in an office with optimized daylighting and views as opposed to an office with traditional blinds. These changes in performance were then compared to compensation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Office workers shifted on average from the 52nd percentile to 65th percentile, equivalent to a $11,809 difference in salary per person per year. When conservatively accounting for the number of employees working within 15 ft of a window with blinds, optimizing daylight and views in U.S. offices has the potential to generate $352B ($240B–$464B), or 1.7% of the 2018 U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), in additional productivity. These findings suggest that building developers, architects and tenants should give additional attention to daylight design and façade technology as they consider new building construction, renovation and leasing options.

Too Many Managers: Strategic Use of Titles to Avoid Overtime Payments
Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun & Bugra Ozel
Harvard Working Paper, December 2020


We exploit a federal law that affords firms the ability to avoid paying overtime wages when an employee is classified as a manager and paid a salary above a pre-defined dollar threshold. We show that listings for salaried managerial positions exhibit an 89% increase around the regulatory threshold, including the listing of managerial positions such as "directors of first-impression", "lead reservationists", and "coffee cart managers". Overtime avoidance is more pronounced when firms have stronger bargaining power and employees have weaker rights. Moreover, it is more pronounced for firms with financial constraints, and when there are weaker labor outside options in the region. We find stronger results for occupations in industries that are penalized more often for overtime violations. Our results suggest broad usage of overtime avoidance using job titles across locations and over time, persisting through the present day.

Employee Responses to Compensation Changes: Evidence from a Sales Firm
Jason Sandvik et al.
Management Science, forthcoming


What are the long-term consequences of compensation changes? Using data from an inbound sales call center, we study employee responses to a compensation change that ultimately reduced take-home pay by 7% for the average affected worker. The change caused a significant increase in the turnover rate of the firm’s most productive employees, but the response was relatively muted for less productive workers. On-the-job performance changes were minimal among workers who remained at the firm. We quantify the cost of losing highly productive employees and find that their heightened sensitivity to changes in compensation limits managers’ ability to adjust incentives. Our results speak to a driver of compensation rigidity and the difficulty managers face when setting compensation.

Strategically overconfident (to a fault): How self-promotion motivates advisor confidence
Alex Van Zant
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


Unlike judgments made in private, advice contexts invoke strategic social concerns that might increase overconfidence in advice. Many scholars have assumed that overconfident advice emerges as an adaptive response to advice seekers’ preference for confident advice and failure to punish overconfidence. However, another possibility is that advisors robustly display overconfidence as a self-promotion tactic — even when it is punished by others. Across four experiments and a survey of advice professionals, the current research finds support for this account. First, it shows that advisors express more overconfidence than private decision-makers. This pattern held even after advice recipients punished advisors for their overconfidence. Second, it identifies the underlying motivations of advisors’ overconfidence. Advisors’ overconfidence was not driven by self-deception or a sincere desire to be helpful. Instead, it reflected strategic self-promotion. Relative to the overconfidence revealed by their private beliefs, advisors purposely increased their overconfidence while broadcasting judgments when (a) it was salient that others would assess their competence and (b) looking competent served their self-interest.

The Creative and Cross-Functional Benefits of Wearing Hearts on Sleeves: Authentic Affect Climate, Information Elaboration, and Team Creativity
Michael Parke et al.
Organization Science, forthcoming


Team creative processes of generating and elaborating ideas tend to be laden with emotional expressions and communication. Yet, there is a noticeable lack of theory on how differences in teams’ management and support of affect expressions influence their ability to produce creative outcomes. We investigate why and when team authentic affect climates, which encourage members to share and respond to authentic affect, generate greater creativity compared with more constrained affect climates where members suppress or hide their genuine feelings. We propose that authentic affect climate enhances team creativity through greater information elaboration by the team and that these informational and creative benefits are more likely in functionally diverse teams. Results from three complementary studies — one multisource field study of management teams and two experiments — provide support for our predictions. In our experiments, we also examine the theorized affective mechanisms and find that authentic affect climate increases information elaboration and creativity through members’ affect expressions (Study 2) and empathic responses to each other’s expressed affect (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss the implications of our findings for the team creativity, diversity, and affect literatures.

Middle Managers, Personnel Turnover, and Performance: A Long‐Term Field Experiment in a Retail Chain
Guido Friebel, Matthias Heinz & Nikolay Zubanov
Management Science, forthcoming


In a randomized controlled trial, a large retail chain’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) sets new goals for the managers of the treated stores by asking them to “do what they can” to reduce the employee quit rate. The treatment decreases the quit rate by a fifth to a quarter, lasting nine months before petering out, but reappearing after a reminder. There is no treatment effect on sales. Further analysis reveals that treated store managers spend more time on human resources (HR) and less on customer service. Our findings show that middle managers are instrumental in reducing personnel turnover, but they face a trade-off between investing in different activities in a multitasking environment with limited resources. The treatment does produce efficiency gains. However, these occur only at the firm level.

Information Quality and Workplace Safety
Ole-Kristian Hope et al.
Journal of Management Accounting Research, forthcoming


This paper examines the effect of internal information quality on workplace safety. Using establishment-level data on workplace injuries from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and employing a strict fixed-effects structure, we show that higher information quality is associated with significantly lower work-related injury rates. Further investigation reveals that the effect is stronger when more decision rights reside in headquarters, weaker when employees have greater bargaining power, and weaker when firms are subject to financial constraints. Our findings are robust to the use of two plausibly exogenous shocks and other robustness checks. Our study suggests an important economic consequence of information quality not examined by prior literature.

Social Network Positions, Peer Effects, and Evaluation Updating: An Experimental Test in the Entrepreneurial Context
Jason Greenberg
Organization Science, forthcoming


In many facets of life, individuals make evaluations that they may update after consulting with others in their networks. But not all individuals have the same positional opportunities for social interaction in a given network or the ability and desire to make use of those opportunities that are available to them. The configuration of a person’s network can also alter how information is spread or interpreted. To complicate matters further, scant research has considered how positions in social networks and the valence of network content interact because of the difficulty of (a) separating the “player” from the position in networks and (b) measuring all germane content in a particular network. This research develops a novel experimental platform that addresses these issues. Participants viewed and evaluated an entrepreneurial video pitch and were then randomly assigned to different networks, and positions within networks, and thus various opportunities for peer influence that were orthogonal to their network history, inclinations, attributes, or capabilities. Furthermore, all the content of social interaction, including its valence, was recorded to test underlying assumptions. Results reveal that those assigned to a position with brokerage opportunities in a network updated their evaluations of the entrepreneurial video considerably more negatively.

Buying and building success: Perceptions of organizational strategies for improvement
Omri Gillath et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


What makes people like a team? We suggest and test here whether people’s perceptions of teams and organizations differ as a function of the strategy the teams pick on their way to success. Two main strategies are compared: (1) Development is a strategy focused on building and enhancing the abilities of current team members; and (2) Acquisition is a strategy focused on buying talent from outside the organization. Does the way to success matter? In other words, will the strategy a team endorse affects how much people like the team? In five studies (N = 1,672) we tested whether people prefer teams that were successful by being (a) built through long‐term development of team members or (b) bought by acquiring expensive personnel developed elsewhere. Across the five studies, people preferred built teams over bought teams, including sport teams and law firms. Effort and group cohesion were more attributed to build than to bought teams. In a “mediators contest,” effort attributions proved most robust. People like built teams more than bought ones, mostly because they value the effort and hard work that built teams represent.

The Value of Autonomous Vehicles for Last-Mile Deliveries in Urban Environments
Sara Reed, Ann Melissa Campbell & Barrett Thomas
Management Science, forthcoming


We demonstrate that autonomous-assisted delivery can yield significant improvements relative to today’s system in which a delivery person must park the vehicle before delivering packages. We model an autonomous vehicle that can drop off the delivery person at selected points in the city where the delivery person makes deliveries to the final addresses on foot. Then, the vehicle picks up the delivery person and travels to the next reloading point. In this way, the delivery person would never need to look for parking or walk back to a parking place. Based on the number of customers, driving speed of the vehicle, walking speed of the delivery person, and the time for loading packages, we characterize the optimal solution to the autonomous case on a solid rectangular grid of customers, showing the optimal solution can be found in polynomial time. To benchmark the completion time of the autonomous case, we introduce a traditional model for package delivery services that includes the time to search for parking. If the time to find parking is ignored, we show the introduction of an autonomous vehicle reduces the completion time of delivery to all customers by 0%–33%. When nonzero times to find parking are considered, the delivery person saves 30%–77% with higher values achieved for longer parking times, smaller capacities, and lower fixed time for loading packages.


from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.