Eliot L. Sherman, Raina Brands, and Gillian Ku. "Dropping Anchor: A Field Experiment Assessing a Salary History Ban With Archival Replication." Conditionally accepted at Management Science.
Could a salary history ban (SHB) reduce the gender wage gap? Proponents of this intervention believe the gap is sustained by the practice of eliciting salary histories from job applicants. Although observational studies suggest that SHB operates as envisioned, two features complicate the interpretation of its effects. These are, respectively, the passage of relevant legislation alongside SHB, and the presence of public campaigns that propel SHB into law. We assessed SHB in the United Kingdom, where neither potential confound was present, and found no evidence that the intervention operated as intended. An intention-to-treat analysis of a 16-month field experiment, conducted with 230 staff at a private educational institution, indicates that SHB was about as likely to harm new hires as it was to help them. Additional analyses did not reveal significant gender differences. We supplement these results with an interrupted time series analysis of placement data from a recruitment firm that voluntarily adopted SHB for its job candidates. Salaries were significantly lower under SHB, but we did not observe gender differences in these data. Taken together, our results suggest that SHB was ineffective in isolation from contemporaneous legislative changes, pro-equality messaging, or some combination thereof.
Weiyi Ng and Eliot L. Sherman. "In Search of Inspiration: External Mobility and the Emergence of
Technology Intrapreneurs." Forthcoming at Organization Science.
Recent scholarship has established several ways in which external hiring—versus filling a role with a comparable internal candidate—is detrimental to firms. Yet organizational learning theory suggests that external hires benefit firms: By importing knowledge that is unavailable or obscured to insiders, and applying it toward experimentation and risky recombination. Accordingly, and consistent with studies of learning-by-hiring and innovation, we predict that external hires are at greater risk of intrapreneurship than internal hires. We test this prediction via a study of product managers in large technology companies. We use machine learning to operationalize intrapreneurship by comparing product manager job descriptions to the founding statements of venture-backed technology entrepreneurs. Our research design employs coarsened exact matching to balance pre-treatment covariates between product managers who arrived at their roles internally versus externally. The results of our analysis indicate that externally-hired product managers are substantially more intrapreneurial than observably equivalent internal hires. However, we also find that intrapreneurial product managers have a higher turnover rate, an effect that is primarily driven by external hires. This suggests that hiring for intrapreneurship may be a difficult strategy to sustain.
Eliot L. Sherman. 2020. "Discretionary Remote Working Helps Mothers Without Harming Non-Mothers: Evidence From a Field Experiment." Management Science 66(3):1351-1374.
Because mothers remain disproportionately responsible for childcare, the daily
requirement for physical presence at work disadvantages them compared with otherwise equivalent men and childless women. Relaxing this requirement may therefore enhance the well-being and productivity of working mothers. I tested this idea with a randomized field experiment, using a within-subjects analysis from a repeated crossover design. The 187 participants in the experiment, which ran for four weeks and yielded 748 person-week observations, revealed a preference for about two remote working days per week. I observed no significant differences in the uptake of remote working days between men, women, parents, nonparents, fathers, and mothers. Mothers reported meaningfully reduced family–work conflict during remote working weeks, but fathers did not. Remote working generally increased job performance, but the effect was greatest for mothers. The coordination costs of remote working, with respect to coworker helping and job interdependence, did not appear prohibitive. Interviews with study participants corroborate and contextualize these findings.
Jennifer A. Chatman, Lindred L. Greer, Eliot L. Sherman, and Bernadette Doerr. 2019. "Blurred Lines: How the Collectivism Norm Operates Through Perceived Group Diversity to Boost or Harm Group Performance in Himalayan Mountain Climbing." Organization Science 30(2):235-259.
We develop a theory explaining how collectivism causes people to blur demographic differences, that is, to see less diversity than actually exists in a group, and reconciling contradictions in how collectivistic norms influence group performance. We draw on the perceived diversity literature, hypothesizing that collectivistic norms cause group members to “blur” demographic differences, resulting in perceptions that group members are more similar than they actually are. Whether this benefits or harms group performance depends on the group’s objective diversity and the relevance of the perceived diversity attribute for accomplishing the task. For conjunctive tasks, the group’s performance is determined by its weakest member, demanding high levels of cohesion. Our theory suggests that collectivism benefits group conjunctive performance when objective national diversity is high by blurring divisive relational differences, but has no effect in groups with low objective national
diversity. In contrast, for disjunctive tasks, the group’s performance is determined by its best member. We predict that collectivism harms group disjunctive performance when objective expertness diversity is high by blurring differences in task-relevant expertness, but has no effect in low objective expertness diversity groups. We find support for our theory in two studies, an archival study of 5,214 Himalayan climbing expeditions and a laboratory experiment assessing 366 groups. Our results show
that collectivism has benefits and detriments for diverse groups, and that these contradictory effects can be understood by identifying how the collectivistic blurring of perceived group diversity helps or hurts groups based on the type of tasks on which they are working.
Sameer B. Srivastava and Eliot L. Sherman. 2015. "Agents of Change or Cogs in the Machine? Reexamining the Influence of Female Managers on the Gender Wage Gap." American Journal of Sociology 120(6):1778-1808.
Do female managers act in ways that narrow or instead act in ways that preserve or even widen the gender wage gap? Although conceptual arguments exist on both sides of this debate, the empirical evidence to date has favored the former view. Yet this evidence comes primarily from cross-establishment surveys, which do not provide visibility into individual managers’ choices. Using longitudinal personnel records from an information services firm in which managers had considerable discretion over employee salaries, we estimate multilevel models that indicate no support for the proposition that female managers reduce the gender wage gap among their subordinates. Consistent with the theory of value threat, we instead find conditional support for the cogs-in-the-machine perspective: in the subsample of high-performing supervisors and low-performing employees, women who switched from a male to a female supervisor had a lower salary in the following year than men who made the same switch.