Current Dissertation Projects
Topic: Individual creativity: The mediating role of basic psychological needs
Individual creativity at individual level and innovation at organizational level have demonstrated a great contribution to firms' competitive advantages in the rapidly changing international market. Individual creativity known as a crucial element facilitating innovation capabilities of organizations has been commonly found to be related to intrinsic motivation. However conflicting empirical results about extrinsic constraints' effects on creativity (e.g., rewards' effects on creativity) have led to the current theoretical debate regarding the undermining relationship between external motivators and intrinsic motivations. As a result, we used the differentiated approach to the conceptualization of extrinsic motivation that derived from the self-determination theory (SDT) in order to provide researchers in organizational studies the promising fundamental basis to clarify the motivational mechanism of creative behaviors. Moreover, motivation seems to depend strongly on external social and environmental factors such as organizational culture. Therefore, the first objective of my research is to create and validate the new scale of organizational culture. Then external constraints and the contextual factors (e.g., organizational culture) in which the external constraints are administered and the interaction between them will be examined in order to clarify how these factors influence creative behaviors.
Topic: Expatriates and their spouses: How does geographically living apart influence life satisfaction, depression, job satisfaction, cross-cultural adjustment, and turnover intentions?
A growing number of expatriates go abroad but leave their family behind due to dual career issues, children's education needs, and extended family responsibilities (World Mobility Perspective: Global Mobility Trends, 2015). Although prior expatriate research has emphasized the important role of family for expatriate success (Bhaskar-Shrinivas, Harrison, Shaffer & Luk, 2005), previous researchers focused on family issues expatriates face who are accompanied by their families. These studies focused on partner adjustment (e.g., Haslberger & Brewster, 2008; Lazarova et al., 2010), expatriate marriage failure (e.g., Lazarova et al., 2015) and work-family conflict and enrichment (e.g., Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014; Kempen, Pangert, Hattrup, Mueller & Joens, 2015). Despite these improvements, the expatriation literature is suffering from several limitations, which I aim to address in my dissertation project.
Topic: Labor turnover of blue collar workers in China
High labor turnover among Chinese factory workers (blue collar) are known to negatively affect productivity and growth of business operations in China. Turnover rates of 30-70% are a common issue in most of the industrial sectors. Therefore, companies have to acquire knowledge on how to effectively address this issue or even overcome it by offering certain incentives.
In my research project I want to target the problem how companies could reduce labor turnover among blue collars by applying certain measures and stimuli. My aim is to find out more about the motives behind turnover decisions and which motivation, perceptions and preferences blue collars show regarding their job choice. Drawing on that knowledge, I derive practical implications for the human resource management, or more specific retention management, of that specific cohort.
Topic: Increasing employability skills of technical laborer in China
During the last decades, People's Republic of China (PRC) has astonished the world with its rapid economic growth. For the country to continuously withhold their position as an economic giant, quality and integration of the labor force becomes a critical element. Ministry of Education has recently called for closer attention on the skills development and employment of technical/vocational laborers. Though they are the largest cohorts of the labor force especially in the manufacturing industry, they are left behind in the transition towards knowledge based economy, and face high unemployment due to skills mismatch as an aftermath. This not only hinders career development of individuals, but also organizational success and overall economic prosperity of the country.
Against this backdrop, our research targets vocational/technical school students, prospective blue collar workers, who are already equipped with technical skills. Our objective is to examine whether employability skills development and training complement these individuals to gain employment. We will further extend our objective by testing whether skills development training has an impact on individuals' employability. We pursue this objective by approaching the research in an interdisciplinary manner, and implementing a large-scale field experiment in China from 2013 to 2016.
Topic: SIE and job seeking behaviors
My doctoral project is primarily in response to what has been coined 'the global war for talent', and also to the lack of research in the particular domain of SIEs, who are a particularly interesting group of individuals, presenting protean career characteristics, high independence and self-motivation, and bringing skills and knowledge to a variety of institutions and organisations across the planet. I am investigating firstly, how SIEs are found, and secondly, the job and locational outcomes of those SIEs.
Topic: Knowledge transfer of repatriates
Despite the overwhelming amount of research conducted in this field, the results show that we still know very little about the kind of knowledge gained abroad, the variables that affect knowledge transfer, and how this process takes place. Furthermore, a valid scale to measure knowledge transfer is needed.
My thesis contributes a detailed overview of expatriate knowledge gained abroad, a scale to measure knowledge transfer and the boundary conditions that facilitate or hinder repatriate knowledge transfer. Moreover, I will examine consequences of knowledge transfer regarding repatriation, job-satisfaction and job-performance.
Completed Dissertation Projects
Dr. Lena E. Kemper
Topic: Managing a diverse workforce in different institutional contexts: An empirical investigation in Germany and Japan
Nowadays, organizations recognize their workforce to become increasingly diverse. This ten-dency is caused by globalization, increasing labor force participation of women, and signifi-cant demographic changes. In particular in Germany and Japan, as the two countries with the oldest populations worldwide, organizations are looking for ways on how to cope with work-force diversity now and in the long run. However, research in the field of diversity in organi-zations is mainly originating from the United States and it is questionable if these findings can be transferred to other institutional contexts. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected in Germany and Japan, this thesis contributes to an increased understanding on how to cope with diversity at work in different contexts more effectively. Based on a conceptual book chapter and three empirical studies, the overall objective of this dissertation is three-fold: (1) to explore how executives make sense of diversity at work and develop diversity perspectives, (2) to contrast the current state of diversity management practices in aging societies, and (3) to investigate strategies of change executives pursue to deal with gender equality and diversity in a situation of institutional clash.
Dr. Almasa Sarabi
Dissertation title: Prying open the black box: A multifaceted perspective on subsidiary managers
The nature of global business today increases the complexity of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and highlights the challenges of managing headquarters (HQ)-subsidiary relationships. Based on three empirical and one conceptual research papers, this thesis adds to the understanding of the HQ-subsidiary relationship by focusing on the individual level of subsidiary managers. Subsidiary managers, although critical for the success of the overall MNE, are not yet well understood by managers and scholars. Study 1 addresses the question whether subsidiary manager experience, in form of international assignments, influences individual-level career progress. Study 2 examines the question whether subsidiary manager values, in form of entrepreneurial leadership, influence subsidiary performance. Study 3 concentrates on subsidiary manager behavior in form of silence vis-à-vis HQ. Lastly, study 4 follows up on the findings of study 3 conceptualizing subsidiary manager communication in a more holistic way.
Dr. Sebastian Stoermer
Dissertation title: Workforce diversity and organizational inclusion: Implications for overcoming the fault lines and leveraging the potential of employee diversity
The increase of diversity in the workforce is a reality in numerous countries across the globe. The underlying reasons for this development are manifold and encompass trends such as globalization, demographic shift, immigration, and stronger workforce representation of formerly underrepresented social groups. The shift in the workforce composition has been considered a ‘double-edged sword’ with potential to facilitate both – positive outcomes, e.g. enhanced employee creativity, and negative outcomes, e.g. intergroup conflict. This thesis adopts an identity-centered theoretical perspective and has the primary aim to investigate the novel inclusion climate construct as a potentially important variable for leveraging the benefits of diversity and for avoiding possible problems of diversity. Likewise, the present thesis intends to deliver vital implications on the successful management of diversity in organizations. Drawing from the identity orientation framework, Study 1 examines racioethnicity and related social identification processes as causes for the social exclusion of minorities, manifested as workplace racial harassment, and the effects thereof on job satisfaction in the South African context. Study 2 centers on how organizations can overcome the negative effects of social identification as delineated in Study 1. It focuses on an organizational inclusion climate and explores national cultural values and cultural tightness-looseness as boundary conditions for the emergence of an organizational inclusion climate. Study 3 empirically examines inclusion climate as an organizational level moderator of the effects of individual level masculinity-femininity on employee diversity perceptions. The study draws from social categorization theory and analyzes the model on data collected from 915 employees and 27 HR-managers nested in 27 German organizations with a diverse workforce. Study 4 includes three studies and integrates field and experimental data. It examines the causal effects of an inclusion climate on individuals’ intention to engage in inclusive behaviors and knowledge exchange in the workplace.
Dr. Albert Kräh
Dissertation title: Managing Work and Private Life Demands Abroad - The case of foreign employees in Asia's high performing countries
The landscape of international business has changed remarkably, with Asia having emerged as the most dynamic economic region in the world. As a consequence of their increased economic prosperity, particularly high performing Asian countries are attracting ever more foreign employees. However, moving to another country can be considered as a catalyst for change in both work and life, thus inflicting numerous strains on foreigners, particularly in collective and culturally tight Asian countries.
The current research program (four studies) highlights how different migrant types manage work and private life challenges in their new Asian environments, the economic hotspots of South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. In detail, Study 1 describes several work and life demands for inpatriates residing in Seoul. Long working hours, poor communication, strict hierarchies, and difficulties in integrating into traditionally managed Korean firms are some of the principal reasons for the increased strain and turnover intentions of foreign professionals. Study 2 analyses how western expatriates adjust to a different worklife interface culture in South Korea. Specific boundary adjustment styles in response to worklife balance challenges are outlined. Study 3 suggests that the maladjustment of foreign professors working and living in South Korea and Japan, as well as in the more cosmopolitan Singapore, is likely to result in the psychological distress syndrome of burnout. Study 4 draws on a unique migrant sample of North Korean refugees residing in South Korea to highlight the notion that being employed helps refugees to overcome strains related to culture shock, and even further, leads to improved health. The contributions as well as the limitations of these studies are discussed in relation to the existing research, while new avenues for theoretical and practical applications of these findings are proposed.
Dr. Azusa Hitotsuyanagi-Hansel
Dissertation title: Voluntary turnover: Three studies on the role of identy and implications for retention management in East Asia
Based on three empirical studies, the overall objective of this thesis is three-fold: (1) to explore the implications of certain human resource management practices for employee voluntary tumover, and its relevant work attitudes; (2) to scrutinize the role of identity in conditioning the effect of human resource management practices on tumover; and (3) to develop practical implications for retention management. The three studies are based on identity-driven theoretical frameworks and employee sample collected in East Asia.
Drawing on Social Identity Theory, the first study explores the influence of localization practices in foreign subsidiaries on organizational commitment and tumover intention among host country nationals. In doing so, the study examines the role of identities based on individual-Ievel characteristics, i.e., gender, education, tenure, and managerial position, in conditioning the association between localization and organizational commitment. Based on 197 samples of Chinese employees, the findings suggest that localization increases organizational commitment and reduces tumover intention. This tendency was especially strong among highly educated, male employees. The second study explores the extent to which merit-based reward enhances job satisfaction and employee retention, based on the framework of Reflection Theory of Compensation. The study further scrutinizes whether the hypothesized linkages between reward and work outcomes are further conditioned by individual-Ievel characteristics, i.e., gender, age, and education. Using the survey sample of 636 Japanese employees, the findings suggest that merit-based reward increases job satisfaction, and decreases voluntary tumover. This tendency was found to be especially strong among the highly educated, male employees.The third study identifies diverse career identities ofhighly educated, female employees, based on the frameworks of Social Identity Theory and Identity Theory. Based on qualitative data of 20 Japanese employees, the study identified four career identities: Careerist, Conflicted, Caregivers, and Functionalists. The study further proposes a theoretical model on how these career identities may moderate the effectiveness of human resource management practices on tumover. The overall findings ofthese three sturlies suggest that the influence of certain human resource management practices on voluntary tumover is bound by different identities that employees embrace. Such an identification of moderation contributes to further understanding on the nature ofemployee retention, and suggests firms to invest greater effort in flexibly responding to diverse identities, values, and needs of employees.