Leadership & Management

A Dozen of Our Favorite Research Stories of 2022

A sampling of the big ideas and timely research produced by Stanford GSB faculty this year.

December 12, 2022

| by Stanford GSB Staff
Illustration of young woman balancing on a tightrope with a coin in one hand and a globe in the other hand. Credit: iStock/treety

Enjoy this balanced mix of thought-provoking stories. | iStock/treety

Cryptocurrency. China. ESG. DNA. Those are just some of the topics Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty have covered in their recent research. Here are 12 stories that showcase the wide range of findings and ideas they shared during the past year.

Thinking Green

A survey of more than 2,400 investors reveals sharp generational differences in opinion about ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, with younger shareholders saying they are far more eager to have fund managers pursue ESG objectives — and also more willing to risk higher losses in the process.

Mind the Gap

How does a divided society begin to repair itself? We spoke with more than a dozen faculty and alumni who are seeking answers to that question. Here, some of those researchers, policy experts, and politicians discuss ways to establish common ground, work together, and strengthen democracy.

Virtue Signals

“The act of apologizing is admitting wrongdoing — and, in effect, can make people lose honor,” says Michele Gelfand, a professor of organizational behavior. That can make it hard for people who belong to “honor cultures” to say sorry. In a new study, Gelfand looks for ways to overcome this obstacle to resolving conflicts.

Moving Targets

Associate professor of accounting Rebecca Lester reveals that many U.S. companies begin complex tax planning while preparing to go public, moving assets to tax havens and foreign subsidiaries. “Companies are responding to capital market pressures for tax avoidance,” she says.

The Currency of Reputation

The Chinese government is seeking to establish the renminbi as a rival to the dollar. Matteo Maggiori, a professor of finance, examines Beijing’s strategic approach to attracting foreign investors and building its reputation as a stable store of value.

Sending a Message

A study of large companies finds that they used less gender-stereotyped language after hiring women as CEOs. “S&P 500 organizations invest a billion dollars each year in diversity training and trying to reduce stereotypes in people’s minds,” says assistant professor of organizational behavior Ashley Martin. “But by implementing a female CEO, you might be able to do that anyway.”

Match Game

Forensic genetic genealogy has helped solve murders and missing persons cases. Yet this detective work is complex and time-consuming. Lawrence Wein, a professor of operations, information, and technology, recently unveiled a method for solving cold cases that’s as much as 10 times faster.

Unequal Reactions

Brian Lowery, a professor of organizational behavior, finds that “gender backlash” is more pronounced among people of the same race. “People who are in your racial in-group see you as gendered,” he explains. “And because of that, they expect you to behave the way they expect women to behave, and when you don’t, they sanction or punish you.”

Hits Different

Why do some musical artists churn out hit after hit while others fade away after one or two? To understand why — and what it says about creative endeavors — Justin Berg, an assistant professor of organizational behavior, analyzed more than 3 million songs by nearly 70,000 artists released between 1959 and 2010.

Unexpected Results

This profile of professor of economics Guido Imbens details the origins and impact of the groundbreaking research for which he received a Nobel Prize in 2021. Imbens and his colleagues developed a new terminology for economists, says Dean Jon Levin. “It changed the way people think, and that was incredibly powerful.”

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