Almost everyone who works has a boss. It’s no secret that the quality of this relationship can have a big impact on the lives of supervisors and employees alike. The best bosses provide mentorship, training and support for their direct reports, facilitating professional growth and success for their team. But is it possible for employees, through their actions on the job, to impact their bosses as well?
Soojung Han, a PhD candidate in the Fox Department of Human Resource Management, thought so. During her five years as the first woman engineer at a South Korean petrochemical company, she had an outstanding relationship with her boss, who gave her an unusual amount of autonomy, respect and trust.
“I knew it was out of the ordinary from talking with my friends about their jobs, and I also knew it was important,” says Han. Every time her supervisor acknowledged her work or granted her additional responsibilities, she wanted to do an even better job. The experience had such a profound impact on her that when Han decided to pursue her PhD, she chose to focus her research on just this style of empowering leadership. Her personal connection to the subject is perhaps one reason her scholarship had been so exceptional.
Han and her colleagues’ recent paper, “Examining why employee proactive personality influences empowering leadership: The roles of cognition- and affect-based trust,” explores this territory. The research was published in May in the prestigious Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. A publication of that caliber is a rare achievement for someone who is still a student. This fall, Han assumed a faculty position at Cal State Los Angeles.
Employee proactivity is often the catalyst for supervisors to grant workers greater autonomy and more responsibility, which increases employee engagement, productivity and job performance. Given the importance of these self-starters in the workplace, the proactive personality type is of great interest to researchers. However, to date, most of the research has focused on employee-centered outcomes, such as the relationship between proactive personality and career success. But the complex ways that an employee’s proactive style may affect his or her supervisor has been largely overlooked by scholars. That’s why Han decided to turn her attention to how these proactive employees affect their bosses.
“The proactive personality type is defined as someone who makes changes in their environment, so we suspected that these employees might change their supervisors as well,” she says. She gathered more than 100 pairs of supervisors and employees and surveyed them to assess the qualities in question: proactive personality, empowering leadership and supervisor trust. Via questionnaires, employees rated their own proactive personality traits and their boss’s leadership style, while leaders scored their direct report’s level of trust in an employee.
Han’s research examines two types of trust typical of work relationships: Cognition-based trust, which is based on logic and facts regarding an employee’s work responsibilities, and affect-based trust, which boils downs to whether or not a supervisor personally likes his or her direct report.
To test their hypotheses, Han and her coauthors used statistical models, including hierarchical multiple regressions, to analyze the data. The team found that supervisors were more trusting of employees with proactive personalities and thus were more likely to empower them.
“It’s risky for leaders to let employees make decisions,” says Han. “What if they lack skills or, worse, what if they take advantage of less supervision and more autonomy?”
Her work shows that, in spite of the risks, the payoff can be significant for an organization. Empowering leadership pays tangible dividends. “Previous research has supported that empowering leadership is associated with a host of positive outcomes, including increased psychological empowerment, task performance and citizenship behaviors for both individuals and teams,” says Han. She recommends that companies work on building both cognitive-based trust, through formal skill-building training, and affect-based trust, by taking the time to plan and invest in social events and team building.
This specific research paper gives the edge to affect-based trust—likability. But Han cautions that the two types of trust are more interrelated than they may first appear. “Though it seems like affect-based trust shows a stronger effect, its impact on empowering leadership is less likely to occur when cognition-based trust is low,” says Han. “Therefore, both cognition- and affect- trust are important to induce leaders’ empowering behaviors.
Her research also speaks to the importance of improved screening of prospective employees. It pays to be able to identify new hires who will consistently demonstrate proactive behaviors at work, not just say they will during a job interview. Han believes tools like personality tests and questionnaires that assess proactive traits specifically would be helpful as companies seek to fill their ranks with these go-getters.
“As we can see, their proactive style benefits not only the employees themselves, but their supervisors, too,” says Han.
This article was originally published in On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
Big data is a buzzword everywhere in the business world, but there are a few specific sectors where this revolution is making an especially big impact: information systems, operations management and healthcare.
That’s why Subodha Kumar, the Paul R. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, turned his attention to these areas. While big data experts across the board have breakthroughs in their individual fields, Kumar’s research focuses on the importance of sharing these advancements, as well as the data and systems that made them possible. Cross-pollination of ideas will be the key to future progress, according to Kumar.
The insights Kumar gleaned from his analysis of the existing academic research in these specific sectors informed his predictions and recommendations for how businesses might harness big data s in the future. “The whole idea is that there have been a lot of discussions and a lot of research about how big data is impacting the industry, but less attention has been paid to how all the different work in big data fits together, how it is connected,” says Kumar.
For this research, Kumar picked three areas where some of the most interesting and innovative developments in big data are happening. These are areas where massive amounts of data aren’t simply being collected, but that data is also being analyzed and put to use. Take healthcare as an example: As entities across the healthcare space, such as hospital systems, begin to combine their data sets, you can create more intelligence and make better inferences.
“But whenever you have data from many sources, you need smarter systems to read all this data and make sense of it. How can we create algorithms to help doctors make better diagnoses? That requires new and different thinking,” says Kumar.
As researchers learn how doctors use an enormous database of cancer patients worldwide to settle on effective treatment more quickly, experts in the information systems space are racing to find effective ways to work with the massive flood of data like text, photos and video generated by social media use. Meanwhile, operations management experts perfect the algorithms needed to detect fake online product reviews.
“In different industries, people are very siloed. Healthcare people are only worried about healthcare,” says Kumar. Competition has made firms secretive, reluctant to share and combine their data and methods, but this fear often does more harm than good, according to Kumar. “We really need to learn from each other. What would happen if Amazon were more open to learning from how hospital systems use big data and vice versa?”
To that end, his research synthesizes what is already known from research in these three key areas to create a framework for thinking about big data going forward and how these disparate learnings and datasets can be put together for the greater good. “Our research shows that even direct competitors can benefit from sharing data,” says Kumar.
He points out that as data collection devices (including smartphones, smart speakers like Alexa and wearable devices like Fitbit) proliferate and more data-producing machines infiltrate everyday life, business opportunities and challenges will grow. It’s only a matter of time before people live with smart refrigerators that track your calories and driverless cars that know your daily routine and pinpoint your real-time location.
Unless everyone interested in big data learns to share and solve problems together, missed opportunities will continue, costing firms time and money. “Right now a lot of the data being generated from social media and other sources is not being collected or analyzed in a way that makes it meaningful or useful,” says Kumar. His research could change that.
Kumar outlines a proposed framework for mapping big data applications and insights across industries in his recent research paper, “Emergence of Big Data Research in Operations Management, Information Systems, and Healthcare: Past Contributions and Future Roadmap,” published in the journal Production and Operations Management. “The framework essentially provides a breakdown of different topics that have been investigated and what could emerge because of new advancements,” explains Kumar.
Looking to the future, Kumar sees some specific sub-areas of the domains he studied where big data will make an even more significant impact and improvements in business. His proposed future roadmap points to cloud computing, the internet of things and smart cities, predictive manufacturing and 3D printing, and smart healthcare as the likely places big data will flourish most dramatically in the years to come. The possible developments have the potential to change the quality of life for people around the world.
As boundaries between these once discrete domains continue to fade, big data emerges as a powerful common denominator. Up until now, the focus has been on how to get more and more data. But, according to Kumar, the focus must shift into how this data can be combined and analyzed to make sense of it. Without context, the data is little more than ones and zeroes.
“This research is about how can we generate value for the whole society from this data by collecting, analyzing and sharing data,” says Kumar.
“Nano-marketing” is more than just a buzzword—it’s a way for companies to capitalize on the current trend of personalized and authentic marketing.
As the millennial generation has grown—both in size and purchasing power—to be the largest demographic segment in the country, companies are trying hard to gain their attention. “As a whole, this group of 80 million prefers photos and mini-videos that are visually appealing and can be processed quickly,” says Jay I. Sinha, associate professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School. “That is part of the reason why we’ve seen a tremendous surge in the popularity of visual platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube, among others.”
Together with Thomas Fung, assistant professor of instruction, Sinha advises the “Right Way to Market to Millennials.”
Who are Micro-Influencers?
It may seem like everyone is “Insta-famous” these days. Micro-influencers are social media personalities who have cultivated their defined brand and fan base, typically between 1,000 and 100,000 people, with very specific areas of focus.
For example, Melissa Alam, BBA ’10, a brand strategist, shares her recommendations for food and drink locations around Philadelphia. She has cultivated relationships with companies like Starr Restaurants and Drink Nation to arrange giveaways of gift cards and event tickets for her 11,000 followers on Instagram. “I’ve been hired as an influencer and worked with many large brands,” says Alam. “I share all sides of my life so that people can relate to me both online and offline if they meet me in person.”
“Micro-influencers bring credibility and authenticity,” says Fung, “typically due to their extroverted nature, relatability, and genuine passion in some niche field.” In Alam’s case, her followers may see her as a real person with insider knowledge and honest advice. “The internet is full of people showing off lavish lifestyles or reaching unattainable goals for the average person,” says Alam. “It’s so important to stay genuine, authentic and true to yourself and your personal brand if you’re trying to attract an honest following.” The grassroots feeling of this kind of marketing allows companies to address the unique needs of individuals through their relationships with micro-influencers.
Advice to Companies
So what do companies need to know to take advantage of this new kind of marketing?
1. Micro-influencers have their own brands and followers with very specific interests.
“They provide opportunities for companies, big and small, to reach out to narrow and often difficult-to-access sub-populations,” says Sinha. For example, he shares that GE used micro-influencers to help find and recruit female technology specialists for the company.
2. Micro-influencers are accomplished and personable storytellers.
Millennials relate well to storytelling. “The best micro-influencers bring in their own personal narratives that mesh well with the brands they endorse,” says Fung. Micro-influencers have been able to build up their own personal brand by leveraging this skill, so companies should encourage sponsored influencers to incorporate their products or services into their own authentic narrative.
3. Micro-influencers are not direct marketers.
Traditional marketers may feel that the sponsored content is not coming across in an obvious way. But with micro-influencers, their endorsements should never feel forced. “Micro-influencers have finessed the subtle ‘nudge’ into an art form,” says Sinha. He notes that many influencers will refuse to accept relationships with brands or companies that are contrary to their own beliefs or interests, which would damage their credibility with their followers.
Beware of Inauthenticity
The biggest pitfall companies should avoid is appearing inauthentic. Millennials are discerning and skeptical consumers who will turn away quickly from a brand or company that they feel are trying too hard or selling out. “Young, creative micro-influencers know their audience well,” says Sinha. “Let them guide the positioning of the product.”
By diligently finding the right micro-influencer to sponsor, companies of all sizes can cultivate marketing relationships that are interactive, personalized and authentic with the millennial generation.
This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
Sabrina Volpone, PhD ’13, is an organizational diversity expert, researching topics of diversity and identity within the context of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and immigrant status. Since graduating from the Fox PhD program, her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
The On The Verge editorial team had the opportunity to chat with Volpone about how she got started researching the experiences of traditionally under-represented employees, how a more diverse workforce requires organizations to adapt and how they can do better.
How did you become interested in diversity and inclusion?
When I was growing up in Texas, I was not exposed to much diversity. The Dallas/Fort Worth area was very different 30+ years ago then it is now; the only people I knew were white and Christian.
My mom, who had a business degree in accounting and worked for a huge company in Texas, told me a story about how she got fired because she was getting sick at her desk too often when she was pregnant. Her company shrugged it off, saying that they assumed that once she became a mother she would be leaving her job anyway. Hearing these things opened my eyes to small-town values—taking care of your neighbors, for example—being pushed aside when stigmatizing factors were introduced.
Then, when I was working toward my degrees, both my bachelor’s from the University of North Texas and PhD in Human Resource Management from the Fox School, I wanted to do something meaningful that could speak to people’s experiences at work. The research I was seeing did not capture what was going on for women, people of color and other disenfranchised groups.
What are the differences between diversity and inclusion? How does your research incorporate both?
Diversity is more than just checking a demographic box or filling a quota. To really leverage the benefits of diversity we have to talk about inclusion, a separate, but related, topic. The difference has often been illustrated in the following quote from Verna Myers, the vice president of inclusion strategy for Netflix: “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.”
In a recent research project, my team went back to basics to investigate how organizations actually define diversity. There are a host of organizations that would like to improve how they are managing diversity because they are facing lawsuits, or simply because they want to be more strategic about managing human resources. There is an increasing need for organizations to collectively rebuild and expand the way we think about these topics.
For example, we looked at the way a few Fortune 500 firms were defining diversity and found that only 38 percent had established definitions on their websites. A large number of those who did listed standard descriptors typically found on HR hiring paperwork that are based on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, stating that the company does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, etc. Other companies take a different approach, however, and use language that extends beyond “legal” terminology.
In my work, I am trying to illustrate that diversity and inclusion must work hand-in-hand. The diversity element establishes the organizational environment and the legal mandates required by law. Inclusion facilitates a climate where employees feel valued and included as a result of their unique characteristics. This is important because, as some of my other research shows, leveraging diversity in this way can result in financial gains. We found that one small change in a diversity definition can relate to more than $2 billion in current profits and more than $1 billion in profit growth. Thus, being inclusive when defining diversity results in increased financial outcomes for companies.
How does inclusion impact companies?
To explore the importance of inclusive policies and procedures in the workplace, I was part of a research team that examined the experiences of breastfeeding women in the workforce. We interviewed women in the morning, afternoon and night to see how the quality of their breastfeeding space throughout the day improved work outcomes. The data and quotes from the women illustrated a powerful point: the legal definition of what must be provided (a space to pump that is not a bathroom and is shielded from view) will not make a satisfied, productive employee. When companies provided more than the bare minimum for breastfeeding mothers, we noticed an increase in their work goal progress and their breastfeeding goal progress while also seeing improvements in their work-family balance satisfaction.
How does a more diverse workforce and consumer base require organizations to adapt? How are businesses innovating around majority-minorities, women, people with disabilities, millennials, and other demographics?
Some companies are not, and their workplace cultures and even financials are seeing the impact of that. Many organizations that are not evolving along with their workforce may cease to exist in 10 to 20 years because of their inability to strategically manage their human resources in a way that captures the diversity of their employees.
For example, in a paper that my coauthors and I recently published, we looked at the hiring process for people with concealable stigmas. Specifically, we examined the relationship between applicants disclosing their hearing disability during the interview process and whether or not they received a job offer. Changing our policies and procedures throughout each human resource function to be inclusive of employees with non-visible disabilities is an example of adapting from systems that, historically, have been focused on accommodating employees with visible physical disabilities.
But those who are thinking about the lived experiences of employees, they create policies and procedures that capture that. They are also being strategic through all of their human resources functions—processes like hiring, training and promotions—and are threading the importance of diversity and inclusion practices through all the ways they do business. Executives are making sure that employees are being heard and taken care of. In order for companies to survive, these considerations will become a requirement.
This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
2019 has been an extraordinary year for Sudipta Basu.
In July, Basu was appointed the Fox School’s new associate dean of research and doctoral programs. He was also honored to be named the American Accounting Association’s inaugural Yuji Ijiri Lecturer on Foundations of Accounting. The prestigious lectureship, sponsored by five global accounting associations, recognizes thought leadership from around the world. Basu presented his Ijiri Lecture, “How Robust are the Foundations of the Conceptual Frameworks?” at the annual American Accounting Association meeting in August.
Throughout his career, Dean Basu has established himself as a thought leader and now he will help chart the direction of academic research at the Fox School moving forward. To understand his vision, he discussed the past, present and future of research at Fox.
Can you share a bit about your background? Why were you originally interested in accounting?
I grew up in big cities all over India (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Delhi in that order), earning a BA (Honours) in Economics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and an MBA in economics, finance and accounting at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. My family members have many PhDs including a grandfather (mathematics), uncles (statistics, history and English) and first cousin (astrophysics), so an academic life was always considered a respectable—and even praiseworthy—choice.
I first studied accounting in grades 9 and 10 and found it quite hard to follow initially. But once I realized how double-entry bookkeeping worked, and that simple algebra revealed the intangible value created by transactions, I was hooked.
What are some of your major goals as dean of research and doctoral programs?
Fox produces lots of high-quality research and one of my main goals is to make our research more visible locally and internationally.
I would also like to collaborate with the Digital Scholarship Center at the Temple library to introduce our students and faculty to new cutting-edge digital tools that could help them stand out in the research world. Most importantly, I want to change our research culture so that we can talk about how our new ideas improve people’s lives and not merely about where they were published. I want to focus on explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of a particular research project’s impact.
What role has research played in shaping your career?
For me, research is a vocation rather than a career, meaning that I enjoy and value its creativity and life-long learning aspects so much that I largely ignore the future monetary and status rewards. As my wife puts it, I often go to sleep thinking about research and wake up in the morning still thinking about research. I pursue big questions that excite me, such as why accounting exists or what our world would be like if double-entry bookkeeping had not emerged, even if this research cannot be published in our top journals. I am constantly scanning blogs, conferences and journals for questions and tools that I can use in my research, so I am a big consumer of research, not just a producer.
How would you like to see Fox School research evolve in the future?
As its former research director, I strongly support the Translational Research Center’s efforts to make Fox School research more relevant to all our stakeholders—other academics, practitioners, students, policymakers and our local communities. I would like more of our faculty, students, alumni and staff to engage in research and to describe their findings in top academic journals AND in less traditional venues such as op-eds, letters to the editor, blogs, TED talks, undergraduate and practitioner journals, etc. Ultimately, I want Fox School faculty, staff, alumni and students to be more widely regarded as thought leaders in business research.
What role does research play in business schools?
Most business schools promote faculty and student research to increase our shared knowledge. Business schools’ missions usually shape the type of research they support. At research-intensive schools like Fox, rigorous empirical and theoretical research takes pride of place. At teaching-oriented schools, pedagogical and practice-oriented research is valued more than theoretical research.
Where is the largest intersection of research and industry in the future of work?
Researchers dream up the technologies, products, business models and organizational forms of the future. Every technological advance frees people from doing some kinds of routine work, which are delegated to animals, machines, and now computers. The freed-up workers can better use their minds to make higher quality and unique products and services that were too earlier too costly to market.
How can companies work with Fox School researchers?
Companies can learn from the new ideas developed by Fox School researchers and conversely inform them about changing realities in the marketplace. Ideally, we would develop a virtuous cycle wherein firms identify emerging problems, researchers propose alternative solutions, firms try these out in practice and observe how well they work and provide feedback, which in turn lets researchers refine their prescriptions.
This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
As the way we do business evolves faster than ever, leaders need to be prepared. Employees look to their senior executives for confidence, guidance and direction—especially in times of change. But being a leader means nothing unless people choose to follow, and people generally choose to follow those in whom they believe. “It all hinges on the leader’s credibility,” says Lynne Andersson, associate professor of human resource management at the Fox School.
The Power of Perception
Andersson’s previous research started by identifying behaviors that make employees cynical towards their leaders. She identified two key factors in credibility: perceived competence and perceived trustworthiness. Both elements are dependent upon outsiders’ viewpoints—whether or not they believe in the leader’s skills, knowledge, values and dependability.
“These perceptions are extremely important in the digital age,” explains Andersson. With so much information available to be collected and scrutinized, from social networks to artificial intelligence, people may have concerns about who is in control. “Employees want to know that those who are managing them and assessing their performance are competent and trustworthy.”
After having started the research around the question of cynicism, Andersson reversed the point of view. She and her colleagues conducted research studies, gathering feedback from blue- and white-collar workers located all over the country over the course of three years, to identify specific actions that leaders can take to improve credibility with their employees.
Building Credibility, Projecting Competence
Leaders who emphasize the future were seen as the most competent by their employees. “Creating clear plans for future success is different than simply stating a strategic vision or setting performance targets,” Andersson notes. “It involves mapping out, in detail, how the organization will achieve its goals.” Keeping on top of industry trends, predicting upcoming changes and having clear ideas of how to respond to both are other ways for leaders to demonstrate their visions for the future.
Employees value leaders who demonstrate a focus on organizational outcomes but who also attach those outcomes to an individual’s job. “It’s important to convey that an employee’s work affects the whole organization,” Andersson advises. “Employees attribute competence to leaders who can make those connections.”
Competent leaders also look for ways to improve their organization’s operations. “You can consider eliminating unnecessary reporting structures, reducing spending waste, establishing new roles or investing in technology that improves business effectiveness,” Andersson says.
She also advised against putting too much emphasis on credentials. “In our meritocratic world, we love credentials—but people in our study did not equate credentials with competence. Leaders had to prove it through their actions or behaviors, not their resume.”
The most important step to take when trying to project trustworthiness is speaking and acting consistently. “To begin, it means making decisions that aren’t contradictory,” says Andersson. “But it also means behaving in a way that aligns with promises, explicit or unspoken.” Leaders should deeply understand all of their stakeholders’ needs in order to prevent potential conflicts.
Leaders that embody the organization’s vision and values are also regarded as highly trustworthy, according to the research. “Employees want to see consistency between the walk and talk.” Andersson encourages senior executives to be mindful of both their professional and personal values, as employees are watching closely to verify authenticity.
According to the research, employees were more trusting of leaders who valued them. “While you may prioritize your employees in your words, make sure that employees are recognized,” says Andersson. “Show how important your employees through things like rewards and plum assignments.”
Insights for Better Leaders
How can senior executives apply this research on the job? Andersson notes that leaders should be cognizant to two main points. First, the good outweighs the bad—sometimes. “When regarding competence,” says Andersson, “people tend to weigh positive information more heavily than negative information.” This means that one competent action may be a good signal of reliability to a leader’s employees. However, the opposite is true for trustworthiness; one dishonest statement or unethical action can make employees lose faith.
Second, restoring credibility is difficult, but not impossible. “To regain lost credibility, leaders must reestablish positive expectations,” Andersson advises. “This means they must repeatedly engage in trustworthy acts since a single act won’t mean much.” By focusing on the actions outlined by Andersson and her colleagues, leaders can slowly build back that relationship.
Credibility in Action
Actions speak louder than words, and according to Andersson, these are the most important things leaders should do to increase their credibility amongst employees.
What Do Competent Leaders Do?
- Emphasize the future
- Prioritize employees
- Take action and initiative
- Communicate effectively
- Gain knowledge and experience
What Do Trustworthy Leaders Do?
- Communicate and act in a consistent manner
- Protect the organization and employees
- Embody the organization’s vision and values
- Consult with and listen to key stakeholders
- Communicate openly with others
- Value employees
“If you see something, say something.” As intuitive as it may seem, speaking your mind is hard—especially within the boundaries of an office environment. Most employees face the fear of retaliation and the social costs that come with speaking up to management in difficult situations.
Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor of Legal Studies, and Deanna Geddes, professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School, delve deeper into these emotional situations in their interdisciplinary studies. The researchers discuss the implications of expressing anger at the workplace and highlight two problematic legal doctrines that disincentivize employees from making any complaints—thus costing companies.
A Cycle of Discontentment
When employees suppress anger at work, it not only affects their mental well-being but also their attitudes—often resulting in lowered productivity. “When employees fear the consequences of retaliation by management,” says Geddes, “they tend to either suppress it by keeping silent, or express their frustration to their peers, who usually have no power to respond or effect change.” These negative discussions often spiral into increasing discontentment among employees that impact the overall health of the workplace.
Reactions vs. Retaliation
In the face of perceived discrimination, employees may turn to the courts for help in resolving disputes. However, Eisenstadt argues that current legal frameworks may negatively affect employees’ willingness to speak up in the judicial system. Currently, judges use the following two legal doctrines in an effort to promote consistency across similar cases but frequently end up disenfranchising employees.
- The “Objectively Reasonable Belief” doctrine protects only those employees who complain about behavior that the courts would regard as unlawful. Given that employees do not typically understand the nuances of court decisions, this may make employees hesitant to come forward because they are unsure if their complaint will be protected by the law.
- The “Manner of the Complaint” doctrine supports employers who claim the reason for firing an employee was the ‘inappropriate’ way in which the complaint was raised, without serious consideration to the details of the complaint itself.
Eisenstadt argues that the consequences of these court-created approaches are clear. “Employees, upon seeing how these doctrines play out for their co-workers, choose to keep silent,” she says. This not only hinders the goals of the law, which is meant to protect employees from workplace discrimination but the culture and worker productivity at the workplace also suffer.
A Call For Change
Not all emotions at work lead to discord, says Geddes. “Psychological research demonstrates that expressions of anger to management in any form—whether it be in respectful complaints or in emotional outbursts—is healthier and more productive for both the worker and the workplace overall.”
So what happens next? The researchers advise that companies build a culture of open dialogue within their organizations to promote expression up and down management lines. Nonhierarchical, team-based structures, leadership’s encouragement of meaningful debate and clear channels for expressing opinions all help employers address emotions while the employee is still in the workplace.
Eisenstadt and Geddes also suggest that the court system rethink its implementation of the existing retaliation doctrines. They propose that the judiciary take an approach that considers the circumstances that led to retaliation and view the scenario from all relevant perspectives, not just the employers. “This more global approach would undoubtedly create a greater sense of security in employees,” says Eisenstadt.
Will robots replace humans at work?
As technology evolves, this question has been on the minds of many. For repetitive jobs, some are already automated. But managers and supervisors, whose jobs require higher levels of cognitive ability, should be safe—right?
Xue Guo and Zhi Cheng, two doctoral students in the Fox School’s Department of Management Information Systems, studied how the new technologies like TaskRabbit, a leading online platform to find immediate help for everyday tasks, have affected managerial-level jobs.
In analyzing data from the housekeeping industry, Guo and Cheng found a 2.9 percent decrease in the total number of offline full-time workers after the platform’s introduction—a drop mainly driven by a decrease in the number of frontline supervisors and managers.
Effects of Digital Management
The evolution of the gig economy—and the subsequent digital platforms—has created new opportunities for those searching for work. ‘Gigs’ allow people to be more selective about the employers they want to work for, receive relatively higher pay and choose from a field of work options. Even employers enjoy the flexibility of recruiting extra help as needed, reducing fixed labor costs and presenting them with options for specialized skills.
So how do these platforms change the rules of the workplace, especially for management?
To answer that question, the researchers integrated data from TaskRabbit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, aiming to better understand the impact of the gig economy for routine cognitive workers versus manual workers.
“After the entry of TaskRabbit,” says Guo, “we observed a 5.5 percent decrease in first-line managerial jobs.” Manual workers, such as cleaners and janitors, were not as affected. This suggests that the platform mostly affected middle-skill management, whose primary tasks were to arrange and schedule service in the housekeeping industry.
Managers Moving to TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit reduced the demand for offline managers in the industry by directly connecting some of the tech-savvy cleaners to their clients. According to Guo, the detailed information about clients’ requirements and workers’ qualifications “allows them to connect with each other at lower search costs.”
Not all managers who left the industry were replaced by robots, however. Supervisors who were skilled in using technology could move to these digital platforms, giving them more freedom in an online role. “On TaskRabbit, managers could recruit and supervise regular cleaners more efficiently,” reasons Guo. “The platform also provided more flexibility and autonomy, incentivizing them to move online.”
Laborers Grapple with Technology
The researchers found that TaskRabbit increased the productivity of manual workers by efficiently planning schedules, monitoring their performance and solving disputes, subsequently driving market demand. The platform also attracted workers of different skills and backgrounds while increasing labor supply and accessibility by reducing the barriers of entry to get a job.
Laborers could also take advantage of the options for flexibility and mobility. “We observed that, even though the number of jobs has reduced, we could see an increase in self-employed workers,” says Guo. “Later studies may look at the actual wage differences, but TaskRabbit can support the option of self-employment of both managers and laborers.”
Learning To Keep Up
Thanks to technological changes like these, the dynamics of the traditional workplace are continuing to shift. Generalizing to other industries, Guo mentions that these platforms increase productivity and allow for more efficient business models, but may come at a cost to the less computer literate.
The researchers, however, are positive about this emerging economy in the future of work. “The barrier to entry of TaskRabbit is not very high,” says Guo. While this skills-biased technology change is happening in the workplace, it can create new opportunities—particularly for those entrepreneurial workers willing to learn.
For Dr. Leila Bouamatou, DBA ’17, women’s leadership in business is deeply personal
As the daughter of the founder of a family-owned bank in the West African country of Mauritania, Bouamatou studied the challenges that women in francophone Africa face when seeking to take over the family business during her time in the Fox Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program.
Bouamatou found that women’s biggest struggles included the institutionalized stigma of working outside the home; resistance from both older male and female members of the family, who were often unwilling to break with tradition; and the convention of women taking their husband’s last names, thus having a different last name than the family company.
To succeed in leading a family business in this environment, Bouamatou identified several key factors—such as modern-thinking fathers, supportive husbands, access to educational opportunities, and personality traits like determination and ability.
As the general manager at the Mauritanian General Bank, Bouamatou hopes to inspire young African girls and women to become leaders in business. She wants others to receive the encouragement that she felt at home from her parents and siblings. “I am particularly lucky to be the daughter of a modern-thinking father who has great respect towards women,” said Bouamatou, “and who believes in the potential of his daughters.” She recalls her mother teaching her from an early age about the importance of education and ambition.
Despite the barriers that remain, she sees hope for the future. “Africa is changing, and so is the mentality,” Bouamatou said. “Women are getting more and more educated and becoming more and more ambitious. Fathers are more and more supportive of their daughters and more open-minded, compared to previous generations.”
“I am fully aware that it would be hard for one single African woman to change the world,” said Bouamatou. “But I know that this African woman can shape her world and destiny.”
Nirmala Menon, MS ’91, International Change Agent
Nirmala Menon, MS ’91, worked in the Global Diversity and Multicultural Team at IBM before becoming the founder and CEO of Interweave Consulting, a diversity and inclusiveness solutions company. At IBM, she experienced the diversity and inclusion challenges across various countries. The experience prepared her to found Interweave and lead it to be a pioneer in India, where the arena was a non-existent market when the company began operations.
Through Interweave, Menon works with companies to implement progressive policies to support diverse groups. The company has touched the minds and hearts of over 150,000 people, including senior leaders and managers through its workshops and initiatives. Others receive these messages through e-modules and webinars.
“Diversity and inclusion is still a new area of work in India and it is hard to provide a direct ROI on the efforts,” said Menon, addressing the impact of her efforts. “However, there are several anecdotes that show that the efforts have translated into positive behaviors at work. A better understanding of respectful behaviors at work and more conscious efforts at gender, disability, and LGBT inclusion are all, we believe, influenced by our efforts.”
When asked how she is making the world a better place, Menon said, “In my mind, everything we do dovetails into building a better world! The work we do has a tremendous positive impact as it is directly focused on building inclusion. From helping organizations understand the value of diversity and inclusion and helping to build enabling workplace policies to support the same, it has a direct impact for the nation.”
She believes organizations are powerful vehicles of change and teach people to become influencers. “A mind expanded or enriched with knowledge and sensitivity is bound to be applied not just at work but equally in their behaviors at home and in society.”
As a result, Interweave is building the foundations for social change in India and beyond.
4 ways giving impacts Fox
When Temple University opened its doors at the turn of the 19th century, it was more than a place—it was a bold, new idea. The transforming concept that founder Russell H. Conwell called, “The Temple Idea,” was to educate “working men and working women on a benevolent basis, at an expense to the students just sufficient to enhance their appreciation of the advantages of the institution.”
Philanthropy at the Fox School has been a game-changer ever since Conwell turned his “Temple Idea” into reality. A culture of giving is tied into the mission of the university, and there is no shortage of ways to contribute. From small student donations to multi-million dollar endowments, alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community partners have donated generously to keep the Fox community ahead of the frenetic pace that exists in today’s competitive business school environment.
The school succeeds because of its community’s commitment to transforming global business education. This is evident in the school’s market-driven curriculum, cutting-edge technology, and impactful research. The Fox School continues to innovate thanks to the vision and generosity of its leaders and donors. The following highlights how philanthropy influences the hiring of faculty, program development, facility upgrades and expansion, and scholarship endowment to offer our students greater opportunities so that they can advance their industries and change the world.
Attracting and retaining industry-leading faculty members is key to the reputation and success of the Fox School. They are gifted orators, mentors, and business and academic leaders. Their work and expertise reach beyond the classroom into the largest, most successful multi-national corporations. Fox students study with some of the brightest minds in marketing, risk, insurance, finance, healthcare, and many other fields. Here, more than 220 faculty create a hands-on experience that connects students to the real world and helps them make their mark in their chosen field or profession. The Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy is an example of one-way donor funds support the Fox faculty.
Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy
In 2015, the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy was added. Created through a $2 million gift from Saul A. Fox, KLN ’75, in honor of his father, Jerome Fox, this chair is held by high-level practitioners of accounting, taxation, and financial strategy. “My father equally valued the accounting industry and the role of education in our society,” said Fox. “The establishment of this distinguished chair at the Fox School melds my father’s two lifelong passions and honors his memory as a successful accounting practitioner.”
The Jerome Fox Chair is currently held by David E. Jones. “The prestige of having a named chair is crucial to attracting high-achieving professors for our department and the school,” says Jones. Endowed chairs help promote the school’s presence and expertise in areas of business education and research, and ensure the school can secure world-renowned faculty to teach its students.
The incredible growth and development of the Fox School on Temple’s Main Campus is creating a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, research, and business education as a whole. Technology, state-of-the-art research labs, co-working spaces, and an accelerator all ensure that the school offers the resources that students, alumni, faculty, and staff need to advance business education in the 21st Century.
1810 Liacouras Walk To continue innovating its programs for a record number of students, the school has expanded into 1810 Liacouras Walk. The building’s renovation was partially financed through philanthropic efforts. The project houses the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), which occupies the first floor of the building.
- 77,000 additional square feet
- SIX additional floors
- COLLABORATIVE co-working spaces and new classrooms
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY to personify online and traditional learning
- EXPANSION of the Tutoring Center and the Business Communications Center
- STATE OF THE ART research labs for the Data Science and Business Analytics Institute and the Center for Neural Decision Making
Thanks to philanthropy, the Fox School has the opportunity to offer inventive classroom education, workshops, conferences, customized mentorships, and events. Wall Street Day and Be Your Own Boss Bowl® are examples of ways donor funds support the school and programs.
Wall Street Day In 2012, Dean’s Council member Douglas L. Maine, KLN ’71, a senior advisor at Brown Brothers Harriman, helped establish Wall Street Day. This experience allows students to get a glimpse into the day-to-day of Temple alumni working on Wall Street. It provides a comfortable arena in which they can ask questions of alumni, who were once in their shoes. Wall Street Day gives Fox students hands-on experience and the opportunity to meet face to face with successful alumni working in the financial industry,” says Cindy Axelrod, director of Financial Planning programs and director of the Owl Fund. “The experience allows our students to ask questions, network, and open doors for their future success. It enriches their collegiate careers and demonstrates the value of their Temple education.”
Be Your Own Boss Bowl® The Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a university-wide business plan competition, helps winners take their business ideas to the next level. The annual event is currently sponsored by Bernard Spain, FOX ’56, and Murray Spain, FOX ’65, brothers and entrepreneurs credited with popularizing the smiley face icon in the 1970s. In 2018, UniFi, a mobile app focused on financial wellness and onboarding, took home the top honor—a $60,000 grand prize. The UniFi team, led by Jessica Rothstein, MBA ’18, plans to use the new resources for talent acquisition and tech. “We have two pilots to launch this year,” said Rothstein. “Winning this competition will definitely help us reach our goals.”
Fox School students are driven to succeed. They rise to any challenge and surpass even the greatest expectations. However, success is hard to achieve if financial or personal obstacles stand in the way. Donor-funded scholarships provide financial relief while alleviating some emotional stress associated with funding a college degree. Scholarships empower students to seize hold of the opportunity to receive a world-class business education. Examples include immediate-use scholarships, endowed scholarships, and emergency support provided through the Fox Student Philanthropy society.
Fox Student Philanthropic Society Current students can help each other by contributing to the Fox Student Philanthropic Society (FSPS). The organization coordinates fundraisers for the Fox Student Emergency Fund for students who face an unexpected financial hardship that would prevent them from being able to get what they need to complete their semester. Faculty and staff can advocate for students who meet the criteria. “You think of philanthropy and you think of people who are millionaires,” said Shaniqua Wallace, FOX ’17. “Or you don’t think you have the money or the resources or that your coins matter. Anything that you provide matters.”
More than 15 million adults struggle with alcohol addiction. In fact, according to the CDC, one in ten deaths of working-age adults in America is linked to alcohol. That’s one reason data on alcohol use has been chosen by researchers for study from the enormous data set from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ ambitious Million Veteran Program (MVP). The VA intends as the project’s name states, to gather data on an astonishing one million service members.
Kuang-Yao Lee, assistant professor of statistical science at the Fox School, sees a world of potential new knowledge in this vast cache of data. This is particularly true of alcohol use because the data from the MVP is longitudinal, which means the same measurements are tracked over time. Alongside the support from the VA, Lee’s project received funding through from Office for the Vice President of Research at Temple University.
Volunteers in the MVP each submit blood samples as well as health surveys, amassing a dataset that comprises both genetic data and behavioral patterns. Beginning in 2016 when he was a researcher at Yale University, Lee and his colleagues have been using this information-rich resource to search for the specific combination of genes that correspond to alcohol and other substance use.
“Previous studies have suggested [these genes exist], but mostly were only limited to small scales or restricted conditions,” says Lee. “We want to use statistical models to find out if this is really a valid assumption. Our results so far suggest a very strong association.”
While ample electronic health records and genetic data have long been available to researchers, only recently has the efficient computing power become available to slice and dice the information into accurate, usable new insights and discoveries. More sophisticated algorithms combined with larger-than-ever computer storage capacity, as well as parallel computation techniques, allow today’s researchers to make meaning from a huge amount of complex data.
How huge? “Depending on the facility, the whole genome sequencing [for one person] can produce hundreds of millions of variants,” says Lee. Questionnaires allow researchers to gather large amounts of information about each subject every time they are administered. Multiply that by one million veterans. “We’re talking about not just billions, but millions of millions of points of data,” he says.
Data with this level of complexity can lead to findings that are more nuanced and reliable than in the past. Previously statistics sometimes led to oversimplified and other not-quite-right conclusions. We’ve all heard the old axiom, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” But as so-called big data increases in scope and complexity and the tools used to analyze this data become more sophisticated, statistics are becoming more honest than ever before. From projects such as the Million Veteran Program and other similarly vast datasets, new genetic truths may ultimately emerge.
There are many possible real-world applications for this research. For one thing, determining which specific genes are linked with alcohol and other substance abuse could lead to new and better medicines and treatments for the very veterans who have volunteered their most sensitive personal information for this work. A dialed-in genetic profile that indicates a vulnerability for substance abuse could be used to screen kids and even adults while there is still time for effective early interventions that can keep them on a healthy path. Given the current public health crisis around opioids, alcohol, and other substance use, a breakthrough of this kind could have far-reaching benefits.
Lee says that the knowledge gleaned from the Million Veteran Program about substance abuse may lead to similar projects that could help solve other vexing behavioral, health, and genetic puzzles. He also notes that the innovative statistical models and tools he’s used in this research could be applied in myriad ways to other complex datasets.
For example, online shopping platforms can easily observe huge amounts of individual consumers and, at the same time, collect data across large numbers of variables. “One of the core problems in business analytics is to use statistical models to study the inter-dependency between observed variables, for example, the dependency between decision making and consumer behavior,” Lee says.
“There are a surprising number of similarities between genomics and online shopping.”
This story was originally published in On the Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
4 recent faculty research articles that will change how you do business
Innovative research has transformed the way we live over the last century. From the airplane and the automobile to the radio and the Internet, progress has come from forward-thinking leaders who discover new solutions and insights into how we do business.
At the Fox School, expert faculty members are taking up that mantle of progress. As they look for unsolved problems or unanswered questions, these researchers explore topics that impact our everyday lives.
1. Don’t play games with names. Mimi Morrin, a professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, found that consumers who were misidentified had a negative emotional reaction to the company. If a marketing email addresses “Shirin” as “Elizabeth,” or a barista calls out “Brian” instead of “Byron,” Morrin found consumers feel disrespected. Some even had a physical reaction to this transgression, like pushing a coffee cup further away on the table. In order to prevent customers from running away, companies don’t just have to personalize, they have to personalize correctly. Morrin suggests employing methods like frequent shopper cards in order to successfully embrace the use of customer names.
2. Getting angry at work can (sometimes) be okay. Most people avoid yelling at work. But anger can be productive, says Deanna Geddes, associate dean, graduate programs, at the Fox School. Her recent research studied workplace anger by looking at the status (either a supervisor or subordinate) and role (either expressing or receiving angry feelings) of the parties involved. If the employees already had a strong relationship, Geddes found that emotional disagreements promoted dialogue, improved working relationships, and created a beneficial movement towards organizational change. Yet when subordinates were on the receiving end of anger, the results were more often negative. So next time you feel your blood boiling in a meeting, recognize your role and status in the situation before deciding to unleash.
3. Remember what’s in your wallet. How much cash is in your wallet right now? Did you guess correctly? Joydeep Srivastava, the Robert L. Johnson Professor of Marketing, found that people are more likely to remember what’s in their wallets when they were holding larger bills. In addition, not only were they less likely to spend their money, participants with higher denominations were more likely to underestimate the amount of money they had. If you would like to be pleasantly surprised next time you open your purse, try taking out a $50 when you go to the ATM.
4. Crowded by ads—it can cost you. Crowds are the worst. Whether it is a congested subway car or packed venue, people can often respond by turning inwards and towards their phones. Xueming Luo, Charles E. Gilliland, Jr. Professor of Marketing discovered that being in a crowded area actually increases our susceptibility to mobile ads. In his study of nearly 15,000 mobile phone users, commuters in crowded train cars were twice as likely to make a purchase in response to a mobile ad, compared to those in less crowded trains. While we normally associate crowds with anxiety and risk-avoidance, Luo found that mobile ads can be a welcome relief in this environment. For companies, this means a new way to boost marketing effectiveness. For consumers, let’s be real—this won’t stop us from pulling out our phones.
For more updates on Fox Research, go to fox.temple.edu/idea-marketplace.
Deserve a raise? Here’s how to fight for it.
One hundred years ago, in 1918, the average American household made $1,518 annually. Today, the average business major’s starting salary is nearly 30 times that—between $45,000 and $50,000 per year, according to a recent study.
For the last century, we have seen wages rise. But as expenses have crept up, everyone could use a little extra in the bank. Luckily, two Fox School researchers may be able to help.
Tony Petrucci and Crystal Harold, two researchers in the Department of Human Resource Management, have studied the best tactics for negotiating a raise. On one hand, competency—the skills that an individual contributes to an organization—is king. On the other hand, the presentation of this delicate proposal may dictate whether it fails or succeeds. Here are some tips from Petrucci and Harold about how you can be strategic about increasing your salary.
From Tony Petrucci, assistant professor of practice:
1. Understand which competencies are most valued based on your role. “The best way to increase your own value is by creating value for your organization. Most organizations determine value by execution of competencies, including skills, knowledge, and experiences. Research has shown some competencies universally lead to higher pay. For example, people who display a feedback-seeking orientation earn higher pay raises and quicker promotions. Seeking feedback is typically associated with higher levels of emotional intelligence, which is a competency most organizations value and reward.”
2. Know where the future is trending in your field. “Competencies in areas such as digital leadership, data analytics, real-time feedback, artificial intelligence, and leadership are very relevant and valued. Deloitte, for example, found that digital leaders of the future will need to be more networked, collaborative, more inclusive, and better at giving, seeking, and receiving real-time feedback.”
3. Recognize that career paths will become less traditional in the future. “In today’s environment, individuals need to take more ownership for their career through personal learning. By understanding what competencies are important, showing calibrated excellence in those competencies, and marketing personal achievement, research shows you may have higher—and more frequent—raises.”
From Crystal Harold, associate professor of human resources management and Cigna Research Fellow:
4. Timing is important. “If you successfully completed an important project or received a major commendation for your work, time the discussion with your boss after these events. Research suggests that Thursdays may be the best day to ask for a raise, as people are generally most agreeable and potentially open to negotiations as the traditional workweek winds down.”
5. Do your homework. “Know the worth of your position, your skill set, and what you bring to the company. Be prepared to articulate why you merit a raise. For instance, if your job has changed in some meaningful way, be able to document how. If you played a critical role in completing an important project, be able to clarify your contributions. By knowing the salary norms for your industry and documenting your accomplishments, you can better justify your targeted figure.”
6. Don’t bluff unless you can accept the consequences. “Research shows that competitive strategies—like sharing details of a competing offer or threatening to walk away—during job offer negotiations yield higher salary gains. While these tactics might be useful for initial negotiations, be cautious of using them when requesting a raise. If you threaten to leave unless you receive a raise, but actually do not intend to leave, be prepared for the repercussions if your boss calls your bluff. And going on the job market to get an offer for the sole purpose of motivating a raise could irreparably damage your reputation with others within your industry.”
6 alumni and students pick essential items from 2019 to share with tomorrow’s business leaders
1. Nasir Mack, Class of 2021
Career goal: “To work in the entertainment, hospitality, and fashion industry.”
Time capsule submission: Social media “Since I hope to one day become the CEO of a firm that is active in the entertainment industry, it would be interesting to see how much the social media platforms have changed and the usage rate of the platforms in the upcoming generation. As a millennial, social media has become an integral part of our lives. A culture of constant comparison and instant gratification has been born that is also encompassed by a global connection of everyday people moving through life, all sharing their high and low moments, and their struggles. Industries, including the entertainment industry, have utilized social media to connect directly with their consumers, and vice versa. Ten years from now, the way we think about social media in business may be entirely different.”
2. Pauline Milwood, PhD ’15
Assistant professor of hospitality management, Penn State University
Time capsule submission: The heart emoji “It is the second or third most popular emoji used on social media platforms, according to infographic trackers. But I chose it to remind young men and women serving in hospitality and tourism that excellence in service and meaningfully connecting with others must be lived from the heart.”
3. Michael Moore, BBA ’93
Partner and chief commercial officer, WillowTree Inc.
Time capsule submission: Apple iPhone “We refer to the iPhone now as your identity layer—in other words, the phone has become the central hub for all our data, more than contacts and communications, but rather, our preferences, our personal and commercial profile. We may not need devices like this in the future; we’ll just need a small wearable device to power our identities. Even now, considering how quickly things are evolving—like going from typing interfaces to voice interfaces—who’s to say that we won’t have a tiny device behind our ear that’s a wearable and hearable interface very soon. The pace we’re on, with the way computing has progressed, in 10 years I think we’ll see such a radical shift in what personal technology looks like.”
4. Suzy Schramm-Apple, MBA ’87
CEO, PrescribeWell, Inc.
Time capsule submission: A laptop with Windows or Office Software “These compact, portable tools made it possible for people to communicate globally in an instant, to create presentations and spreadsheets, to create and manage databases, and to archive files with incredible storage capacity. They are invaluable to business people and leaders today.”
5. Ben Thomas, BBA ’18
Freelance audio engineer and music producer; Co-founder of nicethingsMUSIC
Time capsule submission: Spotify “Spotify is the perfect way to define the new direction of the music industry. Streaming has changed the entire business model of the industry and, unfortunately, has caused a lot of traditional businesses to be redefined. Personally, I love streaming, I think it has opened up more ways for artists to be successful than ever before. And I know that without money that artists make from streaming, there is no way that I would be able to live my dream as an audio engineer and producer.”
6. Daria Salusbury, KLN ’75
Founder and CEO, Salusbury & Co., LLC
Time capsule submission: The Dakota floor plans “I would add the original floor plans for The Dakota on the upper west side of Manhattan to the capsule because this development was so progressive and has stood the test of time with such occupants as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Richard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall, etc. It is still one of the most sought after buildings to call ‘home’ for the most outstanding and accomplished people who need a residence in New York City.”
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
4 alumni blazing trails in their fields
There is more to success than know-how. That’s why business smarts, strength, and character are injected into the DNA of Fox students. That’s why alumni are endowed with traits—perseverance, determination, and professional polish, to name a few—that give them a competitive edge in business. Below, we highlight a few alumni who have built upon their education to achieve great success in the real world.
The Transformer: Steven McAnena
President of Distribution, Life and Financial Services, Farmers Insurance
Steve McAnena, BBA ’93, serves as president of Business Insurance at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Liberty Mutual Group, Inc. (LMB). He is also executive vice president of Global Retail Markets at LMB. He joined the company in 1993 and served as president. His leadership experience, combined with his diverse experience and track record in product and distribution, help his division continue to cultivate strong relationships with independent agents and brokers. He studied actuarial science at the Fox School.
“I remember my days at Temple—meeting new friends, becoming exposed to new professors, learning new coursework. When I arrived on campus it felt as if things changed in an instant and then kept changing. It was as energizing as it was stressful and I did not realize how four years of my life at Temple would serve as the foundation for my career. At the time, I did not realize that professional life was really a continuation of the learning process that began at Temple.
Charles Darwin has a famous quote: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’ The same is true within business—just ask Kodak or Blockbuster. The most successful professionals and companies are the ones willing to invest in changing, evolving, and in some cases totally reinventing their businesses. To be clear, be proud of your accomplishments and celebrate your successes, but always, always be looking in the rearview mirror because the competition is bearing down on you. Try new things. Don’t avoid them. Take calculated risks. Don’t shy away from them. Embrace and learn from mistakes. Don’t hide them. The capabilities and skills that got you here today are likely not the ones you need to win tomorrow. Be ready, be excited, embrace change.”
The Builder: Atish Banerjea
Chief Information Officer, Facebook
Atish Banerjea, MS ’91, is the chief information officer (CIO) of Facebook. Before joining Facebook, he worked in senior leadership roles at NBCUniversal and Dex Media, Inc. and spent 10 years with Pearson PLC. He has also held roles at Maurices, Inc. and Simon & Schuster. Early in his career, Banerjea held a full-time tenure track faculty position at the University of Wisconsin as assistant professor of computer information systems (CIS), responsible for teaching all the advanced CIS courses for the undergraduate computer information systems program, as well as conducting research in support of teaching assignments.
Banerjea, who builds internal systems for Facebook, says the following about how he navigates working for the massive social media company: “I’ve learned there’s a Facebook way of doing things. For one, we build everything ourselves. And that’s because, in large part, we have a very strong platform. It’s also because many third-party products can’t match the pace at which we’re growing. And Facebook is a company driven by efficiency. Rather than bring a third-party product in that would change the workflow and the work process, which is what almost every other company does, we’ve figured out the most effective way someone here can do their job, from HR to finance, is to build a system to meet their needs.”
The Philanthropist: Larry Miller
President, Nike, Jordan Brand
Larry Miller, BBA ’82, is the president of Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc. This is his second tour with the brand, and he continues to garner international respect for his reputation as an inspirational leader with a proven track record of building premium businesses in the world of sport. In his role, he oversees the day-to-day operations and works with Nike global leadership and Michael Jordan to drive the brand’s global business objectives. Prior to joining Jordan Brand, he served as president and alternate governor of the Portland Trail Blazers and vice president of the U.S. apparel division of Nike. He also held executive-level positions at Jantzen, Inc. and Kraft General Foods, as well as positions at Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. and Campbell Soup.
“The Fox School prepared me for a career in business. It allowed me to start in accounting and transition into general management, marketing, and beyond. It prepared me to look at what I do from a business perspective, because it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of sports. I think the Fox School also prepared me to be a leader,” says Miller.
Miller possesses a commitment to philanthropy that is innate to Temple University and the Fox School. In 2015, he established the annual Tamara J. Gilmore Endowed Scholarship to award underrepresented female STHM students who are pursuing careers in hospitality and event management, and who exemplify Gilmore’s professional and entrepreneurial spirit. A Temple alumna who died in 1999, Gilmore was an accomplished business person within the hospitality industry.
When asked, Miller offered the following advice for the Fox community: “I’ve learned a lot of lessons throughout my career, from Campbell to Kraft to Jantzen to the Blazers, and ultimately Jordan Brand. When it comes to leadership, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to have the right people in the right jobs, then allow them to do their jobs and give them support.”
The Mover and Shaker: Margaret (Meg) McGoldrick
President of Abington-Jefferson Health
Margaret (“Meg”) M. McGoldrick, MBA ’76, is president of Abington-Jefferson Health, where she has served as chief operating officer since 1999. She is responsible for Abington Hospital—Jefferson Health and Abington-Lansdale Hospital, as well as five outpatient centers and two urgent care centers.
Prior to joining Abington, McGoldrick held executive leadership roles with Hahnemann University Hospital and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a Baldrige executive fellow with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. She serves on the board of directors of several organizations, including the MidAtlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence and the Tristate Baldrige Alliance Program. She’s also a member of the Board of Visitors at the Fox School.
McGoldrick shares the best piece of advice that she was ever given: “Keep moving forward. There are ups and downs, certainly. Nothing’s a straight line. But if you’re not moving forward, you’re probably going backward.”
She also offers the Fox community tips to build a great career as a healthcare executive: “I have served on many nonprofit boards that are connected to the work of our organization. This connection into the community provides for a deeper relationship with all those partners in the community that make it possible for healthcare organizations to be more effective. Also, meeting so many talented individuals in these organizations increased my network of professional colleagues.”
McGoldrick’s Secrets to Success
- Respect and support all employees and clinical staff who care for the patients and families
- Listen to those closest to the patients and the work of the organization
- Dedicate yourself to a culture of safety and high reliability
- Embrace constant cycles of learning and improvement
- Commit to the Baldrige Framework of Management
The Career Pitfalls that Taught Her the Most Valuable Lessons
- Don’t let missteps or failures distract you from a continuous focus on your work
- Deal with problems early on, as they often deteriorate further over time
- Stop and listen before you react and try to respond rather than react