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Research seminars

27
Oct

Online seminar – Search frictions and efficiency in decentralised transport markets

15:00 - 16:00

Myrto Kalouptsidi, Assistant Professor, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

We explore efficiency and optimal policy in decentralised transport markets, such as taxis, trucks and bulk shipping. We show that in these markets, search frictions distort the transportation network and the dynamic allocation of carriers over space. We identify the sources of externalities, derive explicit and intuitive conditions for efficiency and show how they translate into efficient pricing rules or optimal taxes and subsidies for the planner who cannot set prices directly. Using data from dry bulk shipping, we find sizeable social loss and spatial misallocation of carriers. Optimal policy restores efficiency by favouring locations that are central in the trade network and might be preferable to centralisation.

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27
Oct

Online Seminar – Xinjiang: Pivot of Asia

16:00 - 18:00

Professor Michael Dillon Professor of History and Affiliate of the Lau China Institute, King’s College London, Dr Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Associate Professor, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen and Tim Clissold, Senior Research Associate, China Centre Jesus College

Their lectures, followed by a Q&A, is part of the China Centre’s seminar series at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

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19
Nov

Seminar – Ratings, reactivity, and the paradox of recognising responsibility

14:45 - 16:15

Ben Lewis, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University

We examine why organisations may at times decrease their performance after receiving a positive rating. In contrast to the prevailing assumption that organisations will strive for favourable ratings to achieve reputational benefits, we argue that when the values captured by the rating are perceived as incompatible with a dominant logic that it may lead organisations to strategically reduce their performance on the rated dimension. Utilising a difference-in-differences design, we examine how companies responded to being rated and recognised as a charitable organisation, an evaluation that we maintain was generally perceived as incompatible with the dominant logic of shareholder maximisation during the early 1990s. Our results suggest that rated companies decreased philanthropic contributions more after being rated as a generous firm relative to firms that were rated but not recognised, primarily as an anticipatory impression management tactic. We also found this reaction to be amplified and attenuated by factors that increased or decreased the saliency of the perceived incompatibility between the philanthropy rating and the dominant shareholder logic. These findings provide insights for scholarship on how organisations react to external evaluations and raise important questions for scholars and practitioners interested in the effectiveness of evaluation metrics in shaping organisational performance.

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23
Nov

Seminar – Some organisational antecedents of evil

13:00 - 14:30

Professor Freek Vermeulen, London Business School

People in organisations sometimes engage in severe acts of abuse towards people under their control or care, such as subordinates, clients, pupils, or patients. Using a situationist perspective, we developed a theory of organisational control to identify characteristics of organisations that make such behavior more likely. The theory indicates organisational pathways that constitute a slippery slope towards severe forms of maltreatment. To test our theory, we empirically examined the sadistic abuse of vulnerable patients by care home staff, using longitudinal data on 14,000 US care homes. The analysis showed that the neglect of patients, minor rule breaches, and physical restraint gradually escalates into active sadistic behaviour by carers. A lack of both informal and formal monitoring mechanisms gives rise to these pathways. Surprisingly, the analysis showed that forms of formal supervision – both by managers and team leaders – largely fail to curtail abuse. Whereas prior research focused on how organisational measures around control, rules, and monitoring can unleash positive employee behaviors such as creativity and innovation, our findings indicate that organisational context can also unleash the darker inclinations in human behavior.

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