Kyoung Yong Kim

Management and Operations
Villanova School of Business

Implicit Person Theory (IPT) concerns the assumptions that individuals hold about the malleability of personal attributes, such as ability, intelligence, and personality. A growth mindset assumes that these personal attributes are relatively malleable and capable of changing over time. Conversely, a fixed mindset reflects the assumption that personal attributes are largely immutable and tend not to change much over time. Given that IPT can influence employees within organizations, numerous studies in the last decade have examined IPT in organizational settings, with the primary focus on managers' IPT. However, within organizations, the IPT held by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) might be of paramount importance both theoretically and practically, as the CEO leads the entire organization. Despite this significance, no study has yet explored how CEOs' IPT influences organizations and its consequences.

Given the theoretical deficiency, I aim to examine how CEOs' IPT influences organizational performance by proposing structural and behavioral mechanisms: high-performance work systems and transformational leadership. Specifically, I propose that CEOs with a growth mindset are more likely than those with a fixed mindset to implement high-performance work systems and engage in transformational behaviors. These, in turn, positively contribute to organizational performance. Furthermore, I suggest that CEOs' perception of changes in workforce productivity moderates the relationship between CEOs' IPT and the utilization of high-performance work systems and transformational leadership. CEOs with a growth mindset are more likely to employ high-performance work systems and transformational leadership when they perceive a decrease in workforce productivity compared to when they perceive an increase.

The Match student research assistant will be responsible for conducting comprehensive literature searches to identify relevant studies, articles, and resources related to the research topic. The student will also collaborate with the research team to design and develop surveys and questionnaires that align with the objectives of our studies. Attention to detail (and a solid understanding of research methodology) will be essential in crafting effective survey instruments. Accurate and organized data entry is a fundamental aspect of our research, and the student will be responsible for collecting, inputting, and maintaining research data in a structured manner to ensure data integrity and accessibility. While the student may be tasked with performing statistical analyses on research data using appropriate software tools, proficiency in statistical methods is not a requirement. The student will have an opportunity to learn how to use statistical software.

Sutirtha Bagchi

Villanova School of Business

A number of revenue agencies around the world have taken steps to facilitate the collection of taxes from their citizens by making it easier to file income tax returns. More specifically, these agencies have used the information already available to them from employers on the W-2 forms that report employee compensation and the 1099 forms filed by financial institutions  reporting income from interest and dividends to populate tax returns that are then sent to citizens for verification. At that point, filing one’s return simply involves confirming the numbers provided by the agency, signing the return, and returning it with either a check (if payment is owed) or with a request for a refund. Such systems of filing tax returns have been adopted widely in a number of European countries, with about 87 percent of Denmark’s taxpayers and 74 percent of Sweden’s having their returns generated by the tax authorities in 1999 according to a U.S. Treasury study. There has been significant interest recently in developing a similar system for the U.S., but those efforts have been stymied by resistance from firms like Intuit and H&R Block who fear a loss of their business should such attempts succeed. Opposition has also come from activists like  Grover Norquist, founder of the group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). ATR has consistently advocated for smaller government, and it justifies its opposition to an automated tax filing system on the grounds that it will result in individuals becoming less aware of the true costs of taxation and, consequently, facilitate an expansion in the size of government. That is the claim I wish to examine critically: Does the adoption of automated tax filing systems result in individuals becoming less aware of their tax burden, and does it lead to an increase in the size of government?

As far as I am aware of, there is no central repository of data noting which countries have adopted automated filing systems. The research assistant (RA) will be responsible for reading through reports created by the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD), and accounting firms like Deloitte and PwC, to generate a dataset that notes when each country adopted automated tax filing and how the proportion of taxpayers using such a system has changed over time. This data gathering is unlikely to follow a “cookbook” and the RA will have to be entrepreneurial and resourceful. In addition, the RA will be responsible for examining which datasets out there survey citizens on their knowledge and understanding of the size and scope of government so that we can examine the hypothesis that the adoption of automated filing systems is accompanied by a change in citizens’ perceptions of the size of government. Lastly, the RA will also be responsible for constructing a dataset measuring the size of government for a large number of countries over time so that we can examine if there is any relationship between the adoption of automated filing systems and the size of government in those countries.

Mi (Meg) Luo

Finance and Real Estate
Villanova School of Business

I would like to study the change in supplier-customer relationship around a Merger and Acquisition event. Past literature has studied corporation's decisions to initiate or terminate supplier relationship and found some interesting determinants. For example, Pankratz and Schiller (2021) find that firms are more likely to terminate a supplier relationship in response to increased climate-risk at suppliers' location.  Chen, Levy and Martin (2020) find that firms are more likely to use a supplier if there exists a personal relationship between the management teams. Utilizing a database with detailed information on supplier and customer relationship, this project wants to study how supplier relationship evolves when a firm acquires another company. In particular, I am interested in seeing how likely is the acquirer to keep the existing suppliers of the target companies.
On one hand, one could argue there are benefits associated with keeping the target's suppliers: 

a.    To reduce integration risk, mitigate disruption, or to reduce information asymmetry

b.    To leverage unique know-how of target suppliers

On the other hand, one can also foresee costs associated with keeping the target suppliers. It may limit the purchase power and reduce benefits from achieving economy of scale. It could also limit synergy benefits from streamlining operations.
We would expect the decision to be made based on trading off the synergy benefits and costs. I would propose firms are more likely to keep the target's suppliers if:

a. target company’s products are unique and suppliers cannot be easily replaced.
b. target company has Different geographic overlapping than the acquirer.
c. if target company’s CEO remains on the board of the combined firm.

The Match student will be in charge of a mini-version of the project, running some preliminary analysis of a limited sample. Responsibilities include:

1. Form a randomized mini sample of 10-20 M&A events with US acquirers.

2. Collect the suppliers of each acquirer and target prior to the deal, and suppliers of the combined firm post deal.

3. Compare the supplier identify before and after the deal and code the on/off.

4. Associate the on/off decision to some explanatory variables.

5. Text search for news on supplier relationship change associated with M&As.

6. Literature Review on academic papers and practitioner-oriented articles

Laura Meinzen-Dick

Villanova School of Business

When an individual dies without a will, the state determines the distribution of their property – and if they own land, such as a house or farm, each of their heirs inherit an undivided joint interest in the land. This means that all of the heirs must approve any decisions made about the property, and are entitled to their share of the proceeds; this, plus a lack of legal certainty over ownership, can cause significant problems for heirs. Research by Pew finds that 2% of residential properties in Philadelphia are heirs’ property (also called “Tangled Title”), preventing residents from tapping the full value of their home. In this project, we are creating and validating a national dataset of heirs’ property, in order to examine the features and consequences of this property arrangement. We will explore how heirs’ property is used (both in agricultural and urban areas) and investments made in the land, plus how legal changes shape land loss of heirs’ property.

Although not required, this project would be ideally suited for a student considering a career in law, history, or the social sciences, as part of the task will involve comparing legal records such as titles, case files, deeds, and tax records to validate and improve our national-level dataset. These records may either be found in digital publicly-searchable databases, or perhaps locally in the Philadelphia area. In collaboration with the professor and colleagues at the United States Department of Agriculture, the research assistants will work to train the algorithm to identify heirs’ property, which could involve working with big data and spatial datasets.

Anuja Gupta

Management and Operations
Villanova School of Business

There is an enhanced emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in organizations following recent developments in the socio-economic fabric of the United States. Organizations of all types (for-profit businesses, non-profits, educational institutions etc.) are putting in place programs to increase awareness about bias, and to try to create an egalitarian and inclusive work environment through education, awareness, and behavior modification, which often create not so successful outcomes (Leslie, 2019).

I believe that one critical aspect of making progress in the work of DEI in organizations is allyship. Allies have been defined as those who belong to groups with power and privilege who support the societally disadvantaged and challenge inequity (Selvanathan et. al., 2020). Extant research in many disciplines has looked at many aspects of allyship, such effective and ineffective allyship, motivation of allies, measuring allyship, the nuances of the role allyship can play in social change (Carlson et. al., 2019; Craig et. al, 2020; Thoroughgood et. al.,2020; Kutlaca et. al., 2020). However, the role of allyship in business organizations has received almost no attention.

In this research, I seek to explore the underpinnings of allyship behavior, which I believe is a crucial factor impacting success of any DEI efforts in organization. What does it mean to be a meaningful ally, what holds people back from being allies, how can companies initiate a culture of creating allies? I believe this is an important area to research to understand the nature of allyship behavior to be able to harness its power to reach more successful outcomes for DEI programs in organizations.

The research will start with a literature search in academic journals using the VU library and internet based research to explore business news sources. The student will help in organizing the literature, summarizing some key points from the articles & identifying major variables measured in the articles. The student will need to use XL to organize this information, and simple data & I am willing to teach this & basic analytical skills. Some data collection will be done in the initial stages and the student will help in this effort using mainly secondary sources, and a few primary resources too.

DEI is a topic that cuts across functional boundaries & I welcome students from any major area of study, although studying in the business area is a plus as my study is set in the business arena and familiarity with the business context will be helpful, though not necessary.

I will meet with my RA periodically to review and modify the research plan. I value their ideas as well, and I look at this as a mentoring opportunity to help them build their skills in conducting research. Being organized, adaptable to changes in the plan and timely communication are all important for this role.


Garey Hall 200 (top floor) 
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085