Mitigating the Negative Effects of Customer Anxiety Through Access to Human Contact

Firms increasingly deploy self-service technologies (SSTs) to manage customer interfaces that are inherently stressful. For example, patients may be asked to use kiosks to check themselves into hospitals. This study finds that customer anxiety during SST transactions can reduce customers’ trust in the service provider. Operational design choices may help.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

The Revision Bias

Companies often release revised editions of books, director’s cuts of movies, and technological updates, on the assumption that revising products and services leads to better outcomes. Nine studies, however, document the revision bias: the tendency to prefer things that were revised, regardless of whether the revised versions are objectively better than their predecessors.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Judgment Aggregation in Creative Production: Evidence from the Movie Industry

Selecting early-stage ideas in creative industries is challenging because consumer taste is hard to predict and the quantity to sift through is large. Using The Black List that ranks scripts annually based on nominations from film executives, this study shows that aggregating expert opinions helps reduce quality uncertainty and can influence high-budget production.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Immigrant Networking and Collaboration: Survey Evidence from CIC

This study compares United States-born and immigrant entrepreneurs’ use of networking opportunities provided by CIC, the former Cambridge Innovation Center. Immigrants clearly take more advantage of networking opportunities at CIC, especially around the exchange of advice. It remains to be seen whether this generates long-term performance advantages for immigrants.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Stereotypes and Belief Updating

Increasing evidence demonstrates that stereotyped beliefs drive key economic decisions. This paper shows the significant role of self-stereotyping in predicting beliefs about one’s own ability. Stereotypes do not just affect beliefs about ability when information is scarce. In fact, stereotypes color the way information is incorporated into beliefs, perpetuating initial biases.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Team Learning Capabilities: A Meso Model of Sustained Innovation and Superior Firm Performance

In strategic management research, the dynamic capabilities framework enables a “helicopter view” of how firms achieve sustainable competitive advantage. This paper focuses on the critical role of work teams, arguing that managers must leverage the knowledge generated by teams to support innovation and strategic change. It matches types of team learning to innovation activities.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

The Impact of Penalties for Wrong Answers on the Gender Gap in Test Scores

Multiple-choice questions on standardized tests are widely seen as objective measures of student ability, but the common practice of assessing penalties for wrong answers may generate gender bias. This study documents the impact of a policy change that removed penalties for wrong answers on the national college entry exam in Chile. This simple change reduced the gender gap in test performance by 9 percent.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Gifts of the Immigrants, Woes of the Natives: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration

Investigating the economic and political effects of immigration across US cities between 1910 and 1930, this paper finds that political opposition to immigration can arise even when immigrants bring widespread economic benefits. The paper provides evidence that cultural differences between immigrants and natives were responsible, at least in part, for natives’ anti-immigration reactions.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Channeled Attention and Stable Errors

As humans we are surprisingly good at neglecting unexpected information that conflicts with what we “know” to be true. This paper develops a framework for predicting when we are more likely to “get a clue” despite this cognitive barrier to discovering our own mistakes.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Framing Violence, Finding Peace

Using data collected in a 2016 survey of 1,120 Syrian refugees in Turkey, this study finds that 1) framing civilians’ wartime ordeal as suffering or sacrifice influences their attitudes about ending the conflict, and 2) the identity of who advocates for peace affects civilians’ attitude about supporting it. These results suggest new possibilities for reconciliation processes.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs: A Review of Recent Literature

This paper brings together recent findings in the academic literature on the prevalence of various personality traits among entrepreneurs and their impact on venture performance. It focuses on three themes: (1) personality traits of entrepreneurs and how they compare to other groups; (2) attitudes towards risk that entrepreneurs display; and (3) overall goals and aspirations that entrepreneurs bring to their pursuits.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology

Does Financial Misconduct Affect the Future Compensation of Alumni Managers?

Analyzing data from an executive search firm, this paper explains how former employees who are free from wrongdoing still pay a price in stigma after incidents of corporate financial misconduct. The finding is potentially disquieting for all managers, because it suggests that one’s human capital can be impaired even long after one moves on and suggests the need for developing a human capital strategy for reacting to misconduct of past employers.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge > Social Psychology