Session 363

Social Influence & Comparisons

Track P

Date: Sunday, September 21, 2014


Time: 15:45 – 17:00


Room: Roma 1

Session Chair:

  • Chengwei Liu, University of Warwick

Title: Building Investor Confidence: The Role of Managerial Celebrity, Reputation, and Status in Blank-Check Companies


  • Ivana Naumovska, Northwestern University
  • Edward Zajac, Northwestern University

Abstract: In this study, we examine how investors value companies seeking to go public that have no operations and exist solely for the purpose of finding and acquiring a private company. More specifically, we analyze the role of the managerial reputation, status and celebrity in the valuation of such blank-check IPOs, known as special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). We posit that these three managerial attributes, comprising elements of human and social capital, individually and jointly drive perceptions of corporate value. Additionally, we analyze how their effect is moderated by contextual factors, such as general financial market conditions and the generalist versus specialist character of the SPAC. Our findings, based on analysis of this rarely studied phenomenon, show how investors’ valuations are dually shaped by social and technical considerations

Title: Director Networks & Firm Aspirations: Opening the Black Box of Social Reference Levels


  • Geoffrey Martin, University of Melbourne
  • Remzi Gozubuyuk, Sabanci University

Abstract: This study uses director networks to examine the social influences upon aspiration levels utilized in firm decision making. We argue that performance at other firms in a director’s network provides heuristics that shape the aspirations of the directors and ultimately the risk behavior of their firm. Using aspiration levels that switch between social and self-reference levels, we find strong support for our prediction that the aspiration level provided by a director’s network has a stronger influence over responses to performance feedback that than an industry benchmark. We provide evidence supporting the role of directors in shaping firm goals and the importance of considering performance of actors within a network when predicting the influence those actors upon focal firm behaviors.

Title: Higher Cited Articles Can Be Less Impressive When the Matthew Effect Is Bounded by Cliques


  • Chengwei Liu, University of Warwick
  • Jerker Denrell, Stanford University
  • Nick Chater, University of Warwick
  • Thomas House, University of Warwick

Abstract: When is popularity a reliable indicator of high quality? We argue that this depends on the network structure and the local nature of social influence processes. Prior research on how popularity (such as market share) and quality may be decoupled has shown that social influence processes can magnify misperceptions of quality and lead to a low correlation between quality and popularity. Using two surveys asking participants to vote the best article published in Management and Psychology and simulation models, we demonstrate a more-is-less effect: moderately high level of popularity can be a less reliable indicator of quality because objects lacking in quality can reach this level with favorable local social processes, particularly in fragmented networks such as the field of Management.

Title: Social Comparisons and Pay Dispersion: How Gender and Prestige Influence University Compensation


  • Dane Blevins, Clemson University
  • Christopher Robertson, Northeastern University

Abstract: We study the compensation of nearly 400 private universities. Drawing from social comparison theory, we argue that when a university’s peer group is comprised of more women presidents, the difference between the president’s compensation and its peers will be lower. Likewise, we argue that the dispersion between a president’s compensation and its peers will be lower in prestigious universities. However, when comparing variation of compensation within the university, female employees are related to increased pay dispersion. Interestingly, dispersion at both levels is reduced when accounting for whether the university is prestigious or not. We contribute to the existing literature by taking a first look at how a referent group’s underlying composition is related to dispersion in compensation in a novel setting.

All Sessions in Track P...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 459: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy I
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 460: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy II
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 461: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy III
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 360: Heuristics and Biases in Strategy Choices
Session 363: Social Influence & Comparisons
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 612: Behavioral Strategy IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 354: Goals and Aspirations
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 352: CEO Decision Making
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 265: Learning, Search, Slack: The behavioral theory revisited
Session 353: Behavioral Foundations of Mergers & Acquisitions
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 359: Cognition Under Uncertainty & Risk Taking
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 358: Cognitive Processes in Strategy
Session 362: Search for Better Strategies
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 361: Creativity and Innovation
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 355: Behavioral Elements of Institutional Theory
Session 453: Competitive Dynamics
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 356: Affective and Cognitive Processes in Strategy
Session 357: Learning Processes

Strategic Management Society