News & Events 2018


Well, I just learned that the other Marshall faculty is Gerry Tellis—congratulations to you as well, Gerry! (12-07-2018)

I’m very pleased to let you know that Ed Lawler has been selected by the University Club Board of Councilors as an inaugural honoree for the Club’s Recognition Program. The honor comes with having some of his signature scholarly works displayed at the University Club. Ed is one of two faculty from Marshall and seventeen from across four other USC Schools and the College.

Please join me in congratulating Ed on this wonderful honor! (12-07-2018)

Professor Saori Katada (USC Dornsife International Relations) and Nan Jia will organize a conference on text analysis of Asian languages and the applications in social sciences, on Jan 11-12, 2019, on USC campus (JKP 102). Please see attached the conference flyer which contains registration information, and below is the link to the conference webpage. (11-19-2018)

It is my special pleasure to announce that Dr. Jody Tolan has officially received her Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from USC!

Please join me in congratulating her. (11-16-2018)

Shon Hiatt and Chad Carlos have a practitioner piece in the LSE Business Review based on their recent Organization Science article entitled,  “When Companies Have Ties to Politicians or Military Officials.” You can find it here: (11-14-2018)

Joe Raffie (with Rajshree Agarwal and Martin Ganco) was just awarded one of the inaugural Kauffman Knowledge Challenge Grants (link from Kauffman below).  Kauffman has decided to roll the Junior Faculty and Dissertation fellowships all under this new Knowledge Challenge umbrella, which was launched last spring. The grant will help them study factors shaping entrepreneurship for immigrants in science and engineering careers in the U.S. The grant runs between 2019 and 2021 is for $399,303.

 Outstanding achievement, Joe! Congratulations from all of us. (11-14-2018)

Violina just published a volume on Behavioral Strategy in Advances in Strategic Management, co-edied with Mie Augie and Christina Fang. This edited volume includes a number of reflections-and-directions essays by some of the scholars who have shaped the field. I already took a look and it is an impressive list of contributors and should play a big role in pushing the field forward.

Congratulations, Violina!

Volume 39 of Advances in Strategic Management: Behavioral Strategy in Perspective, Edited by: Mie Augier, Christina Fang, Violina Rindova, Published: 2018 (11-07-2018)

Gerry Tellis has been named a Fellow of the American Marketing Association.

The distinction of “AMA Fellow” is given to members in good standing of the AMA who have made significant contributions to the research, theory and practice of marketing, and/or to the service and activities of the AMA over a prolonged period of time. Each year a new cohort is nominated from the academic community, selected by a group of distinguished peers and honored at Winter AMA.

Please join me in congratulating Gerry on this terrific honor. (11-07-18)

Outstanding news! Our undergraduate case team won the HKUST Case competition on Thursday. The team is coached by Marshall faculty, and especially our own Michael Coombs.

Congratulations, Michael! (10-29-2018)

Jody Tolan successfully defended her doctoral dissertation yesterday at the USC Rossier School of Education. The title of her work is “Building Leaders: The Role of Core Faculty in Student Leadership Development in an Undergraduate Business School.”

Congratulations to Dr. Tolan and her dissertation committee (Melora Sundt, chair and Tracy Tambascia, Kimberly Ferrario, and Tom Cummings). (10-20-18)

A belated announcement: Nan Jia won a SMJ best reviewer award this year. More info can be found at

Congratulations, Nan! (10-12-18)

Good news! Joe Raffiee and his coauthor, Heejung Byung (Purdue), won a $10,000 grant from Purdue University for their business ethics related research proposal on U.S. lobbyists and scandals. (10-10-18)

Terrific news! Four of our USC Marshall case competition team members captured FIRST PLACE against 15 schools in the competition in Ritsumeiken, Japan yesterday.  The coaches prepare a different group of four students to represent USC Marshall at each competition.  In September, another squad of students placed second with an award for Best Female Presenter at national University of Singapore.

The USC Marshall Undergraduate Case Team this semester is supported by the following faculty and staff:

  • Michael Coombs (lead faculty) – MOR
  • Maria Colman and Clark Hansen – BUCO
  • Nimfa Bemis and Julia Plotts – FBE
  • Ms. Kim Esser, Research Librarian and Sean O’Connell, Undergraduate Administration

In preparation for these events students prepare during the week and drill on Friday afternoons from 2 to 5 pm. This semester, our team was invited to four events (Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and Hong Kong),  and the coaches prepare four different students for each event.  This provides an opportunity for more students to participate in activities which build upon class instruction such as BUAD 497 and MOR 492 and to develop skills which are sought after by employers such as critical thinking and the ability to work in a team to develop and present solutions to real business problems.  Past USC Marshall Case Team members have been recruited by McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, PWC and financial banking firms, to mention only a few names.

Congratulations to the team as well as their supporting faculty advisors and staff supporters, especially our own Michael Coombs! (10-06-2018)

Shon Hiatt just had a paper, coauthored with Chad Carlos, accepted in the Strategic Management Journal.  “From Farms to Fuel Tanks: Stakeholder Framing Contests and Entrepreneurship in the Emergent U.S. Biodiesel Market.” This paper won the 2015 Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Natural Environment Division. Abstract is below.

Congratulations, Shon!

From Farms to Fuel Tanks: Stakeholder Framing Contests and Entrepreneurship in the Emergent U.S. Biodiesel Market


Although scholarship has demonstrated that market categories offer important signals to entrepreneurs about which goods and services are valued, little research has considered how entrepreneurs make sense of and exploit opportunities when contestation over category meaning persists. Using the emergent U.S. biodiesel market as a context, we present a framework to explain how the salience of different stakeholder frames shapes entrepreneurs’ perceptions of market opportunities and influences their market-entry strategies. By showing how framing contests affect entrepreneurial outcomes, this study illuminates the underlying cognitive mechanisms that impact market meaning and offers important implications for the literatures on market-category evolution, framing contests, and entrepreneurship. (10-05-18)

Please welcome the newest member of the MOR Department, Théoden (Theo) Wiltermuth! Theo was born Thursday evening, and he and his mother Jonquil are doing well. 

Our warmest congratulations to Jonquil, Scott, and their children! (10-03-2018)

Carl Voigt did a TV interview last week in Mexico.  He, in fact, got to do four press interviews and a taped interview along with two presentations. You can see his TV appearance here:

Thank you for what you are doing for Marshall and MOR, Carl! (10-03-2018)

Good news! Joe Raffie just had a piece with Heejung Byun (Purdue) and Martin Ganco (Wisconsin) accepted by Organization Science. The title and abstract are below.

Sincere congratulations, Joe!

Discontinuities in the value of relational capital: The effects on employee entrepreneurship and mobility


We examine how a discontinuous increase in the value of an employee’s relational capital influences her mobility and entrepreneurship decisions in professional and business service contexts. Drawing on the unfolding model of voluntary turnover, we develop a theory proposing that positive shocks to external relational capital will catalyze employees to consider alternative employment options, thereby increasing the probability of exit. We further maintain that exit decisions in response to such shocks will be driven by a desire to appropriate more value, making these shocks strong predictors of employee entrepreneurship, especially when the employee works in an area which is peripheral to the firm’s core capabilities. Empirically, we construct a unique employee-employer linked database that tracks employment of lobbyists in the United States federal lobbying industry. Leveraging plausibly exogenous shocks to the value of an employee’s relational capital and a novel market-based measure of the employee’s position in the firm’s knowledge space, we report two sets of findings. First, an increase in the value of relational capital has a positive effect on the likelihood of mobility to established firms and employee entrepreneurship, with the effect for the latter stronger than the former. Second, the magnitude of the effect on employee entrepreneurship but not mobility to established firms becomes stronger when the employee is peripheral to the firm’s core knowledge. Together, our results are consistent with a value creation-value appropriation rationale, where sudden increases in the value of an employee’s relational capital drive exit as a means to appropriate a greater portion of value created. (09-18-2018)

Our Marshall undergraduate team just took second place at the 2019 NUS International Case Competition. Please see the forthcoming articles on below. Our own Michael Coombs is the lead faculty on this and has been working with undergraduate case competitions since 2000s.

Along Michael there are additional faculty from a variety of disciplines such as communication (Maria Colman, Clark Hansen) and finance (Nimfa Bemis, Julia Plotts) who are also present on Friday afternoons to coach and then travel with each team to international competitions. In addition to receiving practice presentations from teams on Friday from 2 to 5, faculty also will meet with student teams during the week to help strategize and prepare for the Friday practice sessions.  This semester alumni of Marshall Case Team in years past who went on to work at BCG, Bain and other professional firms are also connecting with student teams to offer their advice and experience. 

During Fall semester Marshall Case Team will compete at NUS (just completed), Ritsumeiken in Japan, Thammasat in Thailand, and HKUST in Hong Kong. Marshall Case Team is excellent preparation for students who aspire to work in professional firms upon graduation.

Congratulations on the terrific success of our undergraduates, Michael! (09-10-2018)

Sarah Townsend and Stephanie Smallets (with N. Stephens, and M. Hamedani) had a manuscript accepted by PSPB, and Sarah had another manuscript (with N. Stephens and A. Dittmann) accepted by Current Directions in Psychological Science. Sincere congratulations to both of you on this excellent news!

Townsend, S. S. M., Stephens, N. M., Smallets, S., & Hamedani, M. Empowerment through difference: An online difference-education intervention closes the social class achievement gap. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

A growing body of work suggests that teaching college students a contextual understanding of difference—that students’ different experiences in college are the result of participating in different contexts before college—can improve the academic performance of first-generation students (i.e., students whose parents do not have 4-year college degrees). However, only one empirical study, using an in-person panel format, has demonstrated the benefits of this intervention approach. In the present research, we conduct two studies to test the effectiveness of a new difference-education intervention administered online to individual students. In both studies, first-year students read senior students’ and recent graduates’ stories about how they adjusted to college. In the difference-education condition, stories conveyed a contextual understanding of difference. We found that the online intervention effectively taught students a contextual understanding of difference and closed the social class achievement gap by increasing first-generation students’ psychological empowerment and, thereby, end-of-second-year grades.

Stephens, N. M., Townsend, S. S. M., Dittmann, A. G. Social class disparities in higher education and in the workplace: The role of cultural mismatch. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Differences in structural resources and individual skills both contribute to social class disparities in U.S. gateway institutions of higher education and professional workplaces. People from working-class contexts also experience cultural barriers that maintain these disparities. In this article, we focus on one critical cultural barrier—the cultural mismatch between the independent cultural norms prevalent in middle-class contexts and U.S. institutions and the interdependent norms common in working-class contexts. In particular, we explain how cultural mismatch can fuel social class disparities in higher education and professional workplaces. First, we explain how different social class contexts tend to reflect and foster different cultural models of self. Second, we outline how higher education and professional workplaces often prioritize independence as the cultural ideal. Finally, we describe two key sites of cultural mismatch—norms for understanding the self and interacting with others—and explain their consequences for working-class people’s access to and performance in gateway institutions. (09-08-18)

Jade Lo (Drexel U.), Peer Fiss, Eunice Rhee (Seattle U.), and Mark Kennedy have their work “Category Viability: Balanced Levels of Coherence and Distinctiveness” forthcoming in the Academy of Management Review. This collaboration has a strong MOR imprint: both Jade and Eunice are MOR graduates and Mark of course is a former MOR faculty member. The abstract for the article is below.



A growing literature on categorization in organization theory explores the stabilizing role of categories and the processes by which they emerge. Because the literature focuses mainly on categories that emerge successfully or are already established, we know much less about why categories fall out of use or fail to emerge. Rather than viewing declining usage or failed emergence as different processes, we argue they are two aspects of the single problem of understanding what makes a category viable. Focusing on the coherence of the items included in a category and how distinct they are compared to items in other categories, we develop the concept of category viability and argue that viable categories are those found useful for sensemaking, analysis and coordination because they balance both coherence and distinctiveness to fall within what we call a zone of viability. To illustrate how category viability helps explain both change and continuity of categories, we also offer a framework to describe the process by which categories move in or out of the zone of viability with deliberate actions or with shifting circumstances that change their members or positions relative to other categories. (08-29-18)

I wanted to share with you some of the awards that our Department won at this year’s Academy of Management Meetings:

Eric Anicich won the Academy of Management Review’s Best Paper Award for 2017 for his paper “The Psychology of Middle Power: Vertical Code-Switching, Role Conflict, and Behavioral Inhibition. Academy of Management Review, 42(4), 659-682 (Anicich & Hirsh, 2017).

John Boudreau won the HR Division’s Herbert Heneman J. Career Achievement Award, given to the an individual who has distinguished himself/herself in the field of human resource management.

Kyle Mayer won the Academy of Management Journal’s Best Reviewer Award.

Maurice Murphy (2nd year student) won the International Management Division’s Division’s Douglas Nigh Award for his paper “Competing for Emerging Markets: A Resource Dependence Model of Foreign Market Entry Mode.” The award is presented to the best division paper that employs an interdisciplinary perspective and is authored by junior scholars.

Joe Raffie won the Career’s Division’s 2018 Best Symposium Award for his proposal “Careers in professional service firms” (with Hye Joon Park).

In terms of our alumni:

Jake Grandy (USC 2017, chair: Shon Hiatt) received the Best Dissertation Paper Award from the Organizations and Natural Environment (ONE) Division for his work entitled “Essays on Nonmarket Strategy and Entrepreneurship.”

In addition, two other of Shon Hiatt’s former doctoral students won Best Dissertation Paper Awards:

Ryan Merrill (USC 2017, Price School of Public Policy) received the William H. Newman Award (this is the best paper from a dissertation across all divisions in the Academy of Management) for his work “Carbon Risk, the Green Paradox, and Strategic Behavior in the US Petroleum Sector”

Jin Hyung Kim (HBS 2017) received the Best Dissertation Paper Award from the International Management (IM) Division for his work “Essays on Nonmarket Strategy.”

Finally, the MOR Alumni Reception at Bock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on Saturday evening was another terrific success attended by many current and former students and faculty. Thanks again to Scott and Marie for making this happen!

Congratulations, everyone! (08-20-18)

It gives me exceptional pleasure to announce that our own Nandini Rajagopalan has just been elected as a member of the Fellows of the Strategic Management Society!

The Fellows are a highly prestigious group of strategic management scholars. Over the life of the Strategic Management Society Fellows group, only 85 Individuals have been elected as Fellows, and there are approximately 70-75 living Fellows today. SMS Fellows are nominated and elected to life membership in the group based on significant contributions to Strategic Management scholarship and other contributions to the field. Nandini will be officially inducted at the 2018 SMS Conference in Paris, September 22-25, 2018.

Our most sincere congratulations, Nandini, on this terrific achievement and outstanding recognition! (08-13-18)

Florenta Teodoridis just had a piece based on her recent ASQ article appear on  Search for it: "When Generalists Are Better Than Specialists, and Vice Versa," by Florenta Teodoridis, Michael Bikard, and Keyvan Vakili. 

Congratulations, Florenta! (07-23-18)

Gerard Tellis’ new book on innovation is now available on Amazon, here. (07-11-18)

At the Alliance for Research in Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) Conference, Shon Hiatt received the 2018 ARCS Emerging Sustainability Scholar Award for my research in the food/agribusiness and energy sectors. This award recognizes the leading pre-tenure scholar “in the area of corporate sustainability who is likely to make significant contributions to the advancement of corporate sustainability scholarship and practice.”  

Congratulations, Shon! (06-14-18)

I’m pleased to let you know that Florenta Teodoridis just had two manuscripts accepted. The first, entitled “When Collaboration Bridges Institutions: The Impact of University-Industry Collaboration on Academic productivity,” will appear in Organization Science, while the second one, entitled “The Pace of Change and Create Performance: Specialist and Generalist Mathematicians at the Fall of the Soviet Union,” will appear in the Administrative Science Quarterly. Both papers are co-authored with Keyvan Vakili and Michael Bikard (both LBS). The abstracts are below.

Terrific work, Florenta—congratulations!!

When Collaboration Bridges Institutions: The Impact of University-Industry Collaboration on Academic productivity (Org Sci)


Prior research suggests that academic scientists who collaborate with firms may experience lower publication rates in their collaborative lines of work due to industry’s insistence on intellectual property protection through patenting or secrecy. In contrast, we posit that university–industry collaboration can sometimes foster specialization and boost academic contribution to open science. Specifically, research lines with both scientific and commercial potential (i.e., in Pasteur’s quadrant) provide an opportunity for a productive division of tasks between academic scientists and their industry counterparts, whereby the former focus on exploiting the scientific opportunities and the latter focus on the commercial ones. The main empirical challenge of examining this proposition is that research projects that involve industry collaborators may be qualitatively different from those that do not. To address this issue, we exploit the occurrence of simultaneous discoveries where multiple scientists make roughly the same discovery around the same time. Following a simultaneous discovery, we compare the follow-on research output of academic scientists who collaborated with industry on the discovery with that of academic scientists who did not. We find that academic scientists with industry collaborators produced more follow-on publications and fewer follow-on patents than did academic scientists without industry collaborators. This effect is particularly salient when the research line has important commercial implications and when the industry partner is an established firm.

The Pace of Change and Create Performance: Specialist and Generalist Mathematicians at the Fall of the Soviet Union (ASQ)


Past research is divided on whether specialists or generalists have superior creative performance. While many have highlighted generalists’ advantage due to access to a wider set of knowledge components, others have underlined the benefits that specialists can derive from their deep expertise. We argue that this disagreement might be partly driven by the fact that the pace of change in a knowledge domain shapes the relative return from being a specialist or a generalist. Using the impact of the Soviet Union’s collapse on the performance of theoretical mathematicians as a natural experiment, we show that generalist scientists performed best when the pace of change was slower, but that specialists gained advantage when the pace of change increased. We discuss and test the roles of cognitive mechanisms and of competition for scarce resources. Overall, our results highlight important trade-offs associated with specialization for creative performance. (06-12-18)

Mark Young’s book "Trojan Tennis – A History of the Storied Men’s Tennis Program at the University of Southern California" is now in print.

The book traces the history (1899-2907) of USC Men's Tennis. Mark spent six years digging through USC tennis archives, published articles, websites and family scrapbooks and even went into SC’s library stacks (!) to unearth a great deal of information that was in danger of being forgotten. He combines interviews with over 60 players including many of USC’s greatest team members such as Stan Smith (who wrote one of the forewords), Bob Lutz, Dennis Ralston, Steve Johnson (who wrote the second foreword) and coaches Dick Leach and Peter Smith to tell the story of the greatest men’s collegiate tennis team of all time.

Mark and Men’s Head Tennis Coach, Peter Smith just completed an interview on the Tennis Channel which can be seen here:

 Congratulations, Mark. (05-21-18)

Nan Jia and Yongxiang Wang just had an article entitled "Value Creation and Value Capture in Governing Shareholder Relationships: Evidence from a Policy Experiment in an Emerging Market" accepted by the Strategic Management Journal. The research and managerial abstracts are below. Congratulations, Nan and Yongxiang!

Research Abstract:

Protecting minority shareholders is a central issue in corporate governance. A common tool of empowering minority shareholders is to curb controlling shareholders’ power of expropriating firm value, but this approach was rarely successful because of the resistance from powerful controlling shareholders. We examine an alternative way of empowering minority shareholders without directly fighting with controlling shareholders. A major corporate governance reform in China gave minority shareholders a decision right over certain actions that affected the creation of firm value. We demonstrate that, the greater the extent to which minority shareholders’ actions can influence the firm’s value ex-post, the more value controlling shareholders concede to minority shareholders ex-ante. This effect becomes even stronger when controlling shareholders are able to expropriate a larger portion of firm value.

Managerial Abstract:

Minority shareholders often have to contend with excessive extraction of firm value by powerful controlling shareholders, particularly in emerging markets. When this tension is considered as a zero-sum game in which every gain to controlling shareholders has to come from a loss to minority shareholders, controlling shareholders strongly resist any effort to empower minority shareholders. We propose an alternative approach to empower minority shareholders. A major reform of Chinese listed firms bestowed upon minority shareholders decision rights to take certain actions that could ex-post create a larger “pie” (firm value) for all shareholders. We find that controlling shareholders give away greater value ex-ante to minority shareholders to induce more of these actions. Consequentially, minority shareholders are more effectively empowered when they can affect firm value.

Minority shareholders often have to contend with excessive extraction of firm value by powerful controlling shareholders, particularly in emerging markets. When this tension is considered as a zero-sum game in which every gain to controlling shareholders has to come from a loss to minority shareholders, controlling shareholders strongly resist any effort to empower minority shareholders. We propose an alternative approach to empower minority shareholders. A major reform of Chinese listed firms bestowed upon minority shareholders decision rights to take certain actions that could ex-post create a larger “pie” (firm value) for all shareholders. We find that controlling shareholders give away greater value ex-ante to minority shareholders to induce more of these actions. Consequentially, minority shareholders are more effectively empowered when they can affect firm value. (05-21-18)

As announced at the Marshall Awards last week:

  • John Boudreau won the Herbert Heneman Jr. Award for Career Achievement from the HR Division of the Academy of Management this year. To be recognized at the AOM meeting in Atlanta on August 13, 2018 at the Breakfast Awards Ceremony.
  • Shon Hiatt won the Golden Apple for the Full-Time MBA Core, awarded annually by students to outstanding Marshall Faculty members in recognition of their excellence in teaching.
  • Edward Lawler won the Dean’s Award for Impact on Practice at the Marshall Annual Faculty Awards
  • Michael Mische won the Golden Apple Teaching Awards for Effective Course Teaching by the Marshall Business Student Government (MBSG), presented at the Marshall Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2018.   (05-07-18)

Cheryl Wakslak recently had a manuscript accepted by Social Psychological and Personality Science. It is co-authored with Alison Ledgerwood, Amber Sanchez, and Heather Rees (all at UC Davis). Title and abstract are below.  Congratulations, Cheryl!

A Brief, Distance-Based Intervention Can Increase Intentions to Follow Evidence-Based Guidelines in Cancer Screening

Although research findings are increasingly accessible to the public, people may choose to rely on anecdotal over evidence-based information when making important decisions. Thus, a key challenge facing the scientific community is to develop effective strategies for increasing people’s reliance on research evidence in their decision-making. Focusing on the critical context of cancer-screening decisions, we find that a brief, distance-based intervention can influence people’s intentions to follow evidence-based rather than anecdotal information. Specifically, in a preregistered and well-powered experiment (N=224), participants who set a screening schedule for the next ten years before considering a decision for an upcoming appointment were more inclined to follow the implications of evidence-based screening guidelines (vs. an anecdote), compared to participants who only considered the upcoming appointment. The success of this distance-based intervention represents an important first step in translating decades of laboratory research on distance into practical interventions for more complex and consequential decisions. (05-02-18)

Nan Jia just had a manuscript with Kenneth Huang and Cyndi Zhang accepted for publication by AMJ. The title and abstract are below. As she notes, this paper benefited much from the feedback from two O&S meetings, for which the authors are grateful. Congratulations, Nan!

Public Governance, Corporate Governance, and Firm Innovation: An Examination of State-Owned Enterprises, Nan Jia, Kenneth G. Huang, Cyndi Man Zhan

Innovation activities create substantial firm value, but they are difficult to manage owing to agency risk which is commonly thought to result in shirking, hence underinvestment in innovation. However, agency risk can also create inefficient allocation of resources among innovation activities, on which the literature provided limited understanding. We examine an important outcome created by agency risk—that agents pursue the quantity of innovation at the expense of the novelty, and investigate how it is influenced by corporate and public governance. We theorize that improved corporate governance tools, including better alignment of agents’ private incentives and stronger monitoring, and high-quality public governance reduce such agency risk in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Furthermore, higher-quality public governance enhances the functioning of corporate governance tools in further reducing such agency risk in innovation. We test our theory in the context of Chinese SOEs that responded to state’s pro-innovation policies relying disproportionately on quantifiable outcomes (e.g., patent counts) for assessing innovation performance. Our difference-in-differences estimates provide overall support for the hypotheses. These findings provide new insights on how agency risk affects innovation by distinguishing the consequences on quantity and novelty of innovation and on how conventional corporate governance tools shaping innovation is dependent on public governance. (04-19-18)

Dean's Announcement: Sarah Townsend appointed Kenneth King Stonier Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Dear USC Marshall Community:

We are pleased to announce that Professor Sarah Townsend (Department of Management & Organization) has been appointed the Kenneth King Stonier Assistant Professor of Business Administration.

Professor Townsend joined the Marshall School of Business as an assistant professor in 2013. She got her PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2011 and spent two years at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor.

Dr. Townsend takes a psychological perspective to studying culture and diversity in organizations and their effects on individual behavior and wellbeing. Her research is highly programmatic and focuses on areas that are critically important to organizations and society, revealing the dysfunctional behaviors and human costs that can result when individuals’ cultural beliefs collide with the dominant cultural beliefs of organizations. These “cultural divides” seem to be growing in modern organizations, almost by the day. Professor Townsend studies them in the context of diversity in organizations, differences in meritocracy beliefs, social class, gender, and race. Her work shows how these cultural divides can negatively affect work behaviors, and worse, individuals’ cardiovascular and hormonal systems. Studies of the physiological effects of organizational behavior are relatively new to the management field, and Professor Townsend’s research helps to establish their prevalence in organizations and to explain their underlying causes.

Professor Townsend has an enviable publication record that includes 11 articles in top-tier journals including papers in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Social Psychology and Personality Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She has presented her work at places such as Northwestern, Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, Yale, and Columbia, among others.

Named chairs and professorships are among the highest honors bestowed by the university on the faculty. Established in 2015, the Kenneth King Stonier Assistant Professor of Business Administration recognizes Assistant Professors for their outstanding record of scholarly contributions to their fields.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Townsend on achieving this notable honor.

Best regards,

James G. Ellis                                              Nandini Rajagopalan

Dean                                                              Vice Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs


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Dear Colleagues,

I’m pleased to inform you that Paul Adler, Lori Yue, and myself now hold (“courtesy”) joint appointment in the USC Dornsife Department of Sociology. You can find more information on the sociology faculty here:

All best,

Peer (04-10-18)

Please join me in congratulating Zhe (Adele) Xing for her placement at Santa Clara University and Roshni Raveendhran for her placement at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.  We are proud of you both! (04-09-18)

Dear Colleagues,

I’m very excited to inform you that Sarah Townsend has won a Lord Foundation Award in the amount of $100,000 for her research project entitled “Difference-Education: An Intervention to Reduce Inequality and Improve Intergroup Understanding.”

In this research project, Sarah will examine the experience of cultural mismatch between the norms of individuals and the norms typically promoted at work or on campus. Workplace norms are frequently powerfully shaped by White, middle-to-upper class cultural norms, and as a result, people of color, women, as well as those from low-income or working-class backgrounds, can experience cultural mismatch. Sarah’s work conceptualizes individuals’ sociocultural backgrounds as both a source of and solution to inequality by developing a difference-education intervention that teaches students about the contextual sources of their difference. This intervention method seeks to provide all individuals with the ability to understand and navigate across various forms of social difference. Her research will test the effectiveness of difference-education for promoting increased academic empowerment and task engagement among college students from underrepresented groups, and increased intergroup understanding among all college students.

Please join me in congratulating Sarah on this terrific achievement! (04-03-18)

Violina Rindova just had two manuscripts accepted by AMJ—the titles and abstracts are below. In addition, she also recently accepted an appointment as a Senior Editor at Strategy Science. She is clearly intent on making everyone look like a slacker… Congratulations, Violina!!

Turner, S. F. and Rindova, V. P. (Forthcoming) Watching the Clock: Action Timing, Patterning, and Routine Performance, Academy of Management Journal.

This study contributes to research on the temporality in routines by proposing that action timing is a patterning mechanism, distinct from the sequence-based patterning that has been the focus of current research. We examine the effect of this mechanism by investigating how recurrent action timing -- and its reproduction -- affect the effectiveness of routine performance. We further theorize and show that multiplicity in the performative and in the ostensive aspects of the routine influence the strength of timing-based patterning and its effects. We test our ideas using a unique dataset that tracks specific garbage collection actions and captures their precise timing, combined with corresponding data on customer complaints about missed collections. Our findings support our theoretical predictions and advance current understanding about different temporal patterning mechanisms in routines.

Hubbard, T., Pollock, T, Pfarrer, M. & Rindova, V. (Forthcoming). Hot Hands or Safe Bets: The Effects of Status and Celebrity on IPO firms’ Alliance Formations. Academy of Management Journal

Social approval assets are intangible assets that derive their value from favorable stakeholder perceptions. Past research has focused primarily on their role as signals that reduce stakeholders’ perceived uncertainty about the firm. However, social approval assets can also serve as frames that influence how other information is interpreted. We theorize how the frames associated with two social approval assets—status and celebrity—influence the interpretation of equivocal information about newly public firms. Specifically, we examine how each frame influences the way underpricing is interpreted, and how these interpretations, as well as the joint effects of status and celebrity, influence newly public firms’ strategic alliance formations. We explore these ideas in the ambiguity-ridden context of newly-public “Dot-Com” firms during the commercial dawn of the Internet. Our findings generally support our arguments, providing new theory and evidence about the framing effects of social approval assets with different socio-cognitive content and the dynamics of information and frame (in)congruence. Our findings also have implications for understanding the role of frames in shaping information interpretation in ambiguous situations. (03-19-18)

Beverly Rich just had an article appear on, "How AI Is Changing Contracts." (02-13-18)

Scott Wiltermuth, Medha Raj, and Adam Wood just had a paper accepted by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. The title is “How Perceived Power Influences the Consequences of Dominance Expressions in Negotiations.” Please find the abstract below. Congratulations, Scott, Medha, and Adam!

Recent research (Wiltermuth, Tiedens, & Neale, 2015) has indicated that negotiators may use expressions of dominance and submissiveness to discover mutually-beneficial solutions and thereby create more joint value. We examined how the perceived relative power of negotiators who express dominance influences value claiming and value creation in negotiations. Negotiators with relatively little power benefitted by expressing dominance, as expressing dominance increased relatively low-power negotiators’ abilities to claim value. In contrast, relatively powerful negotiators’ expressions of dominance fueled value creation. Dyads in which only the relatively powerful negotiator expressed dominance created more value than did dyads in which neither, both, or only the relatively powerless negotiator expressed dominance. The coordination benefits attributable to dominance complementarity were therefore best achieved when there was congruence between a negotiator’s perceived power and the power/status cues the negotiator sent through expressions of dominance. (02-12-18)

Dean's Announcement: Lori Qingyuan Yue appointed Dean's Associate Professor in Business Administration

Dear USCMarshall Community:

We are pleased to announce that Professor Lori Qingyuan Yue (Department of Management & Organization) has been appointed Dean’s Associate Professor in Business Administration.

Dr. Yue joined the Marshall School of Business in fall 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Management and Organization after graduating with a PhD in Management from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2016.

Professor Yue’s research addresses how corporations organize themselves to take collective action in the face of environmental changes and competitive pressures, such as forming trade associations and strategic alliances. She has also studied how firms respond to the collective actions of other organizations that seek to change the firm, such as social movements. Her work has challenged extant models of market institutions by theorizing and providing compelling empirical evidence for the endogenous sources of institutional change, the role of coalitions in the production, reproduction and transformation of social order, and how power, privilege, resources and rules influence the structure of markets. Dr. Yue has an exceptional publication record with several papers in top-tier disciplinary and management journals including the Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, and Organization Science. Professor Yue is a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (2015) and the MOR Department’s Award for Research Excellence (2013). She serves on the editorial boards of several top-tier journals and is a Consulting Editor for the American Journal of Sociology. Professor Yue teaches courses in strategic management and is one of the very best teachers for our required undergraduate class on business strategy. She is a highly sought after advisor by doctoral students and is an exceptional mentor to them.

Named chairs and professorships are among the highest honors bestowed by the university on the faculty. Established in 2017, the Dean’s Associate Professorship in Business Administration recognizes tenured Associate Professors for their outstanding record of scholarly contributions to their fields, as well as their strong contributions to Marshall’s teaching, mentoring, and service missions.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Yue on achieving this notable honor.

Best regards,

James G. Ellis                                               Nandini Rajagopalan
Dean                                                               Vice Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs

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Vice Dean's Announcement: Nan Jia promoted to Associate Professor with tenure

Dear Colleagues:

I am delighted to announce that the President has approved the promotion of Nan Jia to Associate Professor of Management and Organization, with tenure, effective immediately.

Professor Jia joined the Marshall School of Business in the fall of 2009 as an Assistant Professor of Management and Organization after graduating with a PhD in Management from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. She has established herself as an expert on non-market strategy and international business, focusing especially on China. Her insightful research questions and skillful empirical execution have earned her an international reputation as an expert on the role of formal and informal institutions in markets, especially in emerging economies where informal institutions are being replaced with more formal institutional arrangements. She has been approaching these issues in multiple settings and using multiple theoretical lenses along with innovative research designs and cutting edge econometric methods. Her findings have repeatedly challenged conventional wisdom about the replacement of informal with formal institutions and that convergence towards markets shaped by formal institutions will be a benefit for firms and national economies. Working across disciplinary boundaries, her work connects to institutional economics, political science, and organization theory and has been published in a broad variety of top journals in management and related fields, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Politics, Management Science, Organization Science, and the Strategic Management Journal.

Since joining Marshall, Professor Jia has taught in the undergraduate, MBA Core, and PhD program, with strong performance across the board. Her teaching approach centers on developing critical thinking and she has been lauded for her passion, energy, and evident commitment to student learning. In recognition of her excellence in the classroom and beyond, in 2017 she was awarded the MOR Department’s Top Gun Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service.  She has also won the Marshall School’s Dean’s Award for Research Excellence in 2016. Professor Jia serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Review and the Strategic Management Journal, two of the highest profile journals in the field of management and strategy, and the Journal of International Business Studies, a reputed journal in the international business field. She has served on two review panels for the National Science Foundation, along with serving on the Executive Committee of the Strategic Management Division of the Academy of Management. She is an active contributor to doctoral education and is valued by doctoral students and her colleagues alike for her theoretical insights, methodological expertise, and her generous and positive nature.

Professor Jia’s promotion is a well-deserved recognition of her outstanding contributions in research, teaching, and service over the years. Please join me in congratulating her and welcoming her to the ranks of tenured associate professors.

Nandini Rajagopalan
Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Joseph A. DeBell Chair in Business Administration
Professor of Management and Organization
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California

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Mark Young along with several of his former doctoral students won the Impact on Management Accounting Practice Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association, 2017. The award is cosponsored by CGMA, the joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA. They won it for the following paper: S. Mark Young, Fei Du, Kelsey Kay Dworkis, and Kari Joseph Olsen, "It's All about All of Us: The Rise of Narcissism and Its Implications for Management Control System Research.” Published in the Journal of Management Accounting Research: Spring 2016, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 39-55. 

Also, Sarah Bonner won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accounting, Behavior and Organizations of the American Accounting Association for 2017.

Congratulations Mark, Fei, Kelsey, Kari, and Sarah! (01-31-18)

Gerry Tellis just had a paper accepted by the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS). The title and abstract are below. Congratulations, Gerry.

Silicon Envy: How Global Innovation Clusters Hurt or Help Each Other Across Developed and Emerging Markets

Prevalent thinking in academia and practice is that the flourishing “Silicon Clusters” around the world compete with and take away from Silicon Valley. In contrast to the theory of indigenous local factors but consistent with the coopetition view, the authors argue for mutually beneficial growth across all clusters rather than zero sum gains. Based on monthly counts of patents, startups and commercializations on ten global clusters over 1999-2014, results show that rival clusters stimulate (rather than suppress) each other’s growth due to resources complementarities. Reverse fertilization occurs from emerging to developed clusters, as nascent firms seek market opportunities at a global scale. (01-22-18)

Cheryl Wakslak (along with USC Psychology colleagues -- Ben Smith, John Monterosso, Antoine Bechara, and Stephen Read) just published an article in a neuroscience journal. The title and abstract are below.  Congratulations, Cheryl!

A meta-analytical review of brain activity associated with intertemporal decisions: Evidence for an anterior-posterior tangibility axis (in press, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews)

In temporal discounting experiments, subjects are repeatedly presented with option sets in which they must choose between receiving a small amount of money sooner (SmallerSooner) or a larger amount of money at a more distant point in time (LargerLater). Although over 50 temporal discounting experiments using fMRI are described in literature, there has not been a meta-analysis identifying regions activated when subjects choose SmallerSooner versus LargerLater alternatives. Evidence suggests a prefrontal cortex ‘abstraction hierarchy’, from abstract planning in more anterior regions to concrete processing in posterior regions. Because abstraction has been linked with making LargerLater choices, we hypothesized an association between LargerLater choices and more anterior prefrontal cortex activity, and an association between SmallerSooner choices and more posterior activity. Across thirteen fMRI temporal discounting studies including 436 subjects, we observed LargerLater activity anterior of SmallerSooner activity, both in the left inferior frontal gyrus pars triangularis, consistent with our pre-registered hypothesis. We call for further work linking temporal discounting and hierarchical processing of abstract and concrete information in the prefrontal cortex. (01-22-18)

Lori Yue was just appointed Associate Editor for Management Science. As we all know, this is a terrific honor and very important service for our professional field that brings great visibility to MOR and Marshall.  Congratulations, Lori! (01-17-18)

Our own Christine El Haddad has some terrific news to share. Her strategy course GSBA529 is the subject of a USC news story (and a Marshall news story) after two of her former graduate students turned an idea developed in her class (as part of their final project) into a company: Gifts for Good

“Gifts for Good connects corporate professionals to a marketplace of socially responsible premium gifts that support the work of social enterprises in 65 countries around the globe.

Gifts for Good has been featured in Inc. Magazine, US News and World Report, Sports Illustrated and countless other publications in the US and Canada.”

Since its launch in November, the company has achieved impressive sales and brought on two of the most valuable global brands as clients.

You can read more about the course and Gifts for Good in the following USC and Marshall news stories:

Congratulations, Christine! (01/12/18)

Lori Yue, Jue (Kate) Wang, and Botao Yang just had a paper accepted by the Administrative Science Quarterly. Congratulations to the three of them!

Contesting Commercialization: Political Influence, Responsive Authoritarianism, and Cultural Resistance


In this paper, we develop a contentious view of the moral market. While past research on moral markets has focused on legitimation to explain market expansion, we argue that individuals and organizations may choose to resist marketization. In particular, resistance can be enabled in a factional political structure, as cultural preservationists may leverage the influence of one political clique that has more concerns about the public appearances of social justice to resist the request of another. The mechanism of publicity is a way for resisters to exploit the factional structure and make resistance effective, and the push and pull of different social forces generate substantial heterogeneities in the moral market. We find broad support for the contentious view in a study of 141 Buddhist temples in China from 2006 to 2016. The contentious view not only provides a new perspective on heterogeneities in the moral market but also enhances our understanding of how resistance can be possible and effective, especially in an authoritarian regime. (01/03/2018)