External seminars

#1 Nicolas Bastardoz (University of Zurich)

Integrating Leadership and Power: A Micro Process Model (with David V. Day)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, from 12:15 to 13:30 (via Zoom)

Abstract below

Power and leadership are closely related constructs but tend to be treated independently in the literature. We offer a conceptual framework to integrate their relation. We first review standard operationalizations of leadership and approaches dealing with power (i.e., influence tactics, organizational politics, shared/collective leadership) to highlight important limitations preventing the study of leadership as an influence process toward the achievement of shared goals. Building on these approaches as well as the French and Raven (1959) bases of power, we take a micro lens at the interaction episode and offer a process model of leadership. We propose that leadership occurs when an agent activates a power source in a leading attempt that a target ultimately accepts. We offer propositions regarding characteristics of agents and targets – ultimately leaders and followers when influence towards shared goals occurs – to explain the emergence of leadership. Our approach departs from standard operationalization of leadership by studying leadership as a dynamic influence process, not a position of formal power. In a later section, we discuss how power differences and the stability of the power source can inform the leadership process. We conclude by offering various recommendations to apply our micro process model to the study of leadership.

#2 Angela Sutan (Burgundy School of Business)

Does pre-play social interaction improve negotiation outcomes? (with Pablo Brañas-Garza, Antonio Cabrales, Guillermo Mateu, and Angel Sánchez)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020, from 12:15 to 13:30 (via Zoom)

Abstract below

We study experimentally the impact of pre-play social interactions on negotiations. We isolate the impact of several common components of interactions: conversations, food, and alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. Participants perform a standardized negotiation (complex and simple) under six conditions: without interaction, interaction only, and interactions with water, wine, water and food and wine and food. We find that none of the treatments improves the outcomes over the treatment without interactions. We also study trust and reciprocity, where we find the same lack of superiority of interaction.

#3 Roberto Weber (University of Zurich)

Are Women Less Effective Leaders Than Men? (with Lea Heursen and Eva Ranehill)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30 (via Zoom)

Abstract below

We study whether one reason behind female underrepresentation in

leadership is that female leaders are less effective at coordinating

action by followers. Two experiments using coordination games

investigate whether female leaders are less successful than males in

persuading followers to coordinate on efficient equilibria. Group

performance hinges on higher order beliefs about the leader’s capacity

to convince followers to pursue desired actions, making beliefs that

women are less effective leaders potentially self-confirming. We find

no evidence that such bias impacts actual leadership performance,

identifying a precisely-estimated null effect. We show that this

absence of an effect is surprising given experts’ priors.

#4 Hugo Mercier (CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod)

Not born Yesterday: Why humans are less gullible than we think.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30 (via Zoom)

Abstract below

It is often thought that humans are gullible, easily manipulated by demagogues, advertisers, and politicians. I will argue that the opposite is true: humans are equipped with a set of psychological mechanisms that allow them to properly evaluate communicated information, and to reject information that is false or harmful. I will rely on experimental psychology data, as well as studies showing the failures of mass persuasion, from Nazi propaganda to American presidential campaigns. I will also offer explanations for the success of some misconceptions—from pizzagate to flat earth—that are not based on credulity.

#5 Gijs van Houwelingen (University of Amsterdam)

For You and for Me or the Entire Human Race: Cognitive Abstraction Increases Prosociality when Loyalty Motivation is Weak but Decreases Prosociality when Loyalty Motivation is Strong

Tuesday, April 6, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30

Abstract below

Some research suggests that cognitive abstraction (vs. concreteness) may facilitate prosocial behavior; yet, other research shows that people behave more prosocially on behalf of concrete rather than abstract targets. In the present paper, we propose that both streams of prior work align with the essence of cognitive abstraction, that is, a broadening of scope through a reduced focus on concrete detail. Cognitive abstraction (vs. concreteness) should thus facilitate prosocial behavior among individuals for whom the unavailability of identifiable details about beneficiaries does not weaken their motivation to enact prosocial behavior, and it should undermine prosocial behavior among those whose prosocial motivation is conditioned upon the availability of concrete information about beneficiaries. We test this proposal by including loyalty motivation (i.e., wanting that preferred others benefit from prosocial behavior) as a moderator of the effect of abstraction (vs. concreteness) on prosocial behavior. We predict that when loyalty motivation is weak, cognitive abstraction (vs. concreteness) increases prosocial behavior, whereas when loyalty motivation is strong, cognitive abstraction (vs. concreteness) decreases prosocial behavior. Across five studies (total N = 1489) in which we operationalize our key constructs in different ways, we find support for these predictions. We rule out various alternative explanations for our findings. In all, we show how scope expansion and a loss of identifiable detail are both relevant to people’s prosociality, but in varying ways depending upon the roots of a person’s prosocial motivation.

#6 Pedro Rey Biel (ESADE Business School)

Higher Orders of Rationality and the Structure of Games (with F. Cerigioni, F. Germano and P. Zuazo-Garin)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30

Abstract below

Identifying higher orders of rationality is crucial to the understanding of strategic behavior. Nonetheless, the identification of a subject's actual order of rationality from observed behavior in games remains highly elusive. Games may significantly impact and hence invalidate the identified order. To tackle this fundamental problem, we introduce an axiomatic approach that singles out a new class of games, the e-ring games. We then present results from a within subject experiment comparing individuals' classification across e-ring games and standard games previously used in the literature. The results show that satisfying the axioms introduced significantly reduces errors and contributes towards a more reliable identification.

#7 Janka Stoker (University of Groningen)

Leadership behaviors in times of crises

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, from 12:15 to 13:30

Abstract below

In this talk I will present results of three multi-level event studies on leadership behaviors in times of crises, which is joint work with Harry Garretsen, Dimitrios Soudis, Wout de Vries and Hein Wendt. First, I will present results of a multi-level event study of the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on leadership behavior. Following assumptions from the threat-rigidity hypothesis, we expect that across firms and countries, this crisis led to an increase in directive leadership. In line with this hypothesis, we also anticipate that this change is context-specific. Second, results on a comparable crisis, namely Brexit, will be presented. Finally, I will also present a study on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. We argue that this recent crisis has a dual character. Next to the external shock of COVID-19 in terms of possible health and economic implications, there is the internal shock of enforced working from home that organizations had to deal with. Based on threat-rigidity literature and the working from home literature, we hypothesize that these two exogenous shocks will have different effects on directive and participative leadership behavior. All three studies use the same rich data source, which includes behaviors of thousands of managers across the globe. Our results show that these different crises indeed had an impact on leadership behaviors. More generally, these studies are examples of how leadership research can take the issue of causality more seriously, by offering evidence how shocks may cause changes in leadership behaviors.