Research Roundup: May 2024

Article Icon Article
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
By AACSB Staff
One way to boost altruism, Uber’s effect on race relations, the downside of resilience, and the launch of an AI-focused research collective in Nigeria.

Thoughts of Legacy Inspire Societal Impact

When most people think about estate planning, they think first of leaving their wealth to their immediate family and friends. But when prompted to think about their lasting legacies, they are more likely to think of larger social causes, according to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Its authors include Jessica Paek, a doctoral candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina; Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, previously a doctoral candidate at Fuqua and now assistant professor of organization and human resources at the University at Buffalo’s School of Management in New York; and Kimberly Wade-Benzoni, professor of management and organizations at the Fuqua School.

To discover how thoughts of one’s legacy affect giving behaviors, the researchers conducted several experiments involving 3,500 online participants. In one experiment, they asked half of the participants to reflect on how they wanted to impact future generations; the other half did not engage in such reflection. Next, all participants engaged in activities related to estate planning, such as naming primary and secondary beneficiaries for their assets.

All participants tended to name immediate family members as their primary beneficiaries. However, those who had reflected on their legacies were more likely to name charities as their secondary beneficiaries than those who had not.

In the final experiment, participants were asked to solve a puzzle in order to receive a bonus payment. Afterward, half were asked to reflect on their long-term legacies. At this point, all participants were offered the opportunity to donate their bonuses to a real-world charity benefiting children. Once again, those who had reflected on their legacies were more likely to donate their rewards.

The co-authors call this phenomenon the “Andrew Carnegie Effect,” named after the steel magnate well-known for donating his fortune to philanthropic causes in the early 20th century. “When people are thinking about their legacy, they contemplate what makes their lives meaningful,” says Wade-Benzoni. “They’re more likely to act on behalf of future generations,” rather than only close friends and family members.

By incorporating legacy reflection into communications, she adds, policymakers, business leaders, and leaders of nonprofit organizations can inspire people to direct more of their wealth to the greater good.  

The ‘Uber Effect’ on Racially Motivated Crime

When ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft move into new markets, critics often debate about rider safety, driver payouts, or disruption of the local taxi industry. But four academics in information systems have discovered that the presence of ride-hailing companies have an unexpectedly beneficial effect for the regions they serve—a reduction in crimes motivated by a victim’s race. 

The researchers include Lin Qiu of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China; Dandan Qiao and Bernard C.Y. Tan, both of the National University of Singapore; and Andrew Whinston of the University of Texas at Austin. They present their findings in a paper published online in the journal Production and Operations Management.

The team gathered data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation related to hate crimes in 1,083 U.S. metropolitan counties. They focused on 763 counties, across 46 states, where Uber had launched services—primarily between 2014 and 2017.

They looked at data related to three types of crimes: those motivated by victims’ race, religion, and sexual orientation. The researchers found that Uber’s presence had little to no impact on crimes based on religion and sexual orientation. However, in counties where Uber was in operation, racially motivated hate crimes dropped by an average 5.75 percent. 

The “power of human contact” plays a significant role in reducing racial tensions. The more people interact, even if only for brief car rides, the greater their mutual understanding.

In conjunction with this analysis, the researchers also surveyed 500 Uber drivers and more than 1,000 passengers. Seventy percent of drivers and 87 percent of riders said that they encountered people of different races “very often” during their rides.

This finding suggests that the “power of human contact” plays a significant role in reducing racial tensions, the researchers note in an article about their research published on Medium. The more people interact, even if only during brief car rides, the greater their mutual understanding.

“A better relationship comes from the interaction of the customer and driver chatting during the ride,” says Whinston. It’s a benefit that ride-hailing companies might want to emphasize, he adds, when they enter new markets. 

Resilience Reduces Compassion for Others

People are often lauded for facing challenges with resilience and fortitude. But such resilience might lead them to show reduced compassion toward others in similar straits. This is the main finding of an investigation by four researchers who have studied how “relational resilience attribution”—the extent to which individuals receive help from others during hard times—affects compassion toward others.

The research team ran experiments that involved people who had dealt with different challenges, including unemployment, divorce, workplace bullying, the death of a loved one, attempts to quit smoking, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In each study, they found that how people framed their ability to navigate these challenges predicted the levels of compassion they showed toward others.

In particular, they found that those who credited others for their success (relational resilience attribution) showed higher rates of compassion—and reported feeling more gratitude—than those who ascribed their ability to overcome adversity to luck (external attribution) or their own actions (internal attribution).

Although many assume that experiencing and overcoming hardship would make people feel more empathy for others in the same situation, that is not always the case. Instead, some individuals believe that others should “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” says lead author Rachel Ruttan, an assistant professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

This finding has implications in business, she adds. When leaders and entrepreneurs weave their own resilience into the narratives they tell themselves and others about their successes, they might be less likely to lend a helping hand to others. “Maintaining compassion for others at work can lead to better teamwork, leadership, and job satisfaction, and the ‘bootstraps’ narrative has the potential to interfere with this.”

This points to the need to find ways to cultivate more compassion in business and society—even for those who weren’t the recipients of compassion themselves. “A reasonable connection to make,” Ruttan suggests, “is to increase helping behaviors toward those in need.”

Ruttan completed the research, which appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, with co-authors Ting Zhang, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School in Boston; Sivahn Barli, a doctoral student at Anderson School of Management at the University of California in Los Angeles; and Katherine DeCelles, a professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the Rotman School.

Research News

Funding will support responsible AI development in Nigeria. Three partners in Nigeria have received 1.5 million USD to create the AI Collective. The collective is a community of practice—made up of experts from government, academia, technology, and other sectors—that will develop AI strategy, promote knowledge sharing across sectors, and ensure the use of AI in the country is safe, ethical, responsible, and inclusive.

Leading the initiative are Lagos Business School (LBS) at Pan-Atlantic University; the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), an African media think tank; and the Data Science Network (DSN, formerly known as Data Science Nigeria), a startup incubation hub dedicated to AI innovations. The CJID will coordinate with civil society organizations and media NGOs to develop research on AI governance; LBS will lead research activities and provide training programs; and DSN will establish a platform to help startups develop and scale their AI-driven solutions.

The AI Collective is a community of practice that will develop AI strategy, promote knowledge sharing across sectors, and ensure the use of AI in Nigeria is safe, ethical, responsible, and inclusive.

The source of the funding is Luminate, a global foundation established by philanthropists Pierre and Pam Omidyar in 2018 to ensure that everyone has “the information, rights, and power to influence the decisions that affect their lives.” The AI Collective will be housed at Nigeria’s National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

This initiative has the potential to “reshape Nigeria’s AI landscape,” says Olayinka David-West, associate dean of information systems at LBS. The business school will do its part “to nurture … research initiatives, support the development of evidence-based AI policies, develop national AI curricula to boost AI literacy and adoption, foster academia-industry collaboration, set ethical standards, and seek international partnerships,” she adds. “Together, we'll drive Nigeria's AI innovation responsibly for societal benefit.”

Research-based tool gives taxpayers a look at local finances. Researchers at the University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in Ireland have developed an online platform that allows Irish taxpayers to see the income and expenditures of the country’s 31 local authorities. Professors Gerard Turley Stephen McNena initially designed the website for, an independent platform highlighting information that supports public policy debates in Ireland, with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies. Data on the website is disaggregated by revenue sources and service divisions.

Grant supports research on the ethics of technology. Academics at the J.E. Cairnes School also have received 3.5 million EUR (nearly 3.8 million USD) from the Science Foundation Ireland to fund Responsible Time and Tech in an Accelerated Digitised World (ROSETTA), a fellowship program focused on studying digital responsibility. Led by Kieran Conboy, professor of business information systems, the fellowship program is recruiting 19 researchers to study and identify effective ethical business practices in the use of technology.

“The ROSETTA fellows will have the freedom to challenge current assumptions around responsible technology, really scrutinize to what extent these ‘responsible’ efforts are real and to what extent they are effective,” Conboy says in the announcement of the fellowship. “Through their work,” he adds, “they will improve the development and use of technology as well as directly inform new policy and regulation of responsible technology at the national and European level.”

Researchers receive funding to study leadership effectiveness. The Center for Leadership Science at the Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte has received a three-year federal grant worth 692,881 USD from the United States Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences. The grant will fund research that will look into how leaders can adapt their behaviors to work more effectively in online environments. Faculty from the business school and the School of Data Science will use artificial intelligence to develop new tools for leadership evaluation and training.

Center will explore the power of business to do good. The Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business at De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila, Philippines, has partnered with holding company PHINMA Corporation, based in Makati City, Philippines, to open the PHINMA-DLSU Center for Business and Society (PDCBS). Launched in March, the center is dedicated to using the power of business to address social challenges. Initial seed funding of 50 million PHP (870,745 USD) will be provided by PHINMA, the school’s namesake Ramon V. del Rosario, and the del Rosario family’s company EMAR Corporation. This funding will be used to support PDCBS research into effective business strategies that also generate societal impact.

Graduate students value sustainability, equity, and well-being. The Graduate Management Admission Council has released its 2024 Prospective Students Survey, which measures the attitudes of candidates who are considering pursuing graduate management education (GME).

Among this year’s findings: The two-year MBA is now the most preferred program among degree-seekers. In addition, nearly 75 percent of prospective students surveyed consider equity and inclusion, sustainability, and health and well-being as “important” or “very important” in the academic experiences they seek. Demand for content on artificial intelligence has increased 38 percent since last year, and problem-solving and data analysis are among the skills they most want to learn.

Send press releases, links to studies, PDFs, or other relevant information regarding new and forthcoming research, grants, initiatives, and projects underway to AACSB Insights at [email protected].

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
Subscribe to LINK, AACSB's weekly newsletter!
AACSB LINK—Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge—is an email newsletter that brings members and subscribers the newest, most relevant information in global business education.
Sign up for AACSB's LINK email newsletter.
Our members and subscribers receive Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge in global business education.
Thank you for subscribing to AACSB LINK! We look forward to keeping you up to date on global business education.
Weekly, no spam ever, unsubscribe when you want.