Christopher Marquis

13 Results


The Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities of Global Project Management: Evidence from Chinese and Dutch Cross-Cultural Project Management

In a study of how project management is handled cross-culturally, the authors conducted observations and interviews with Chinese and Dutch managers in a variety of industries from food to engineering. Focusing on three key elements—process, people, and technology—the authors found that people of two seemingly opposite cultures are able to work together in a project-based environment to complement each other and reap mutual benefits for a win-win result. These findings will significantly help managers who work on cross-cultural projects in a global economy. Read More

Finance and Social Responsibility in the Informal Economy: Institutional Voids, Globalization, and Microfinance Institutions

Small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs around the world frequently face "institutional voids" of credit: In many places there are systematic constraints to obtaining credit stemming from underdeveloped capital and intermediary markets, regulatory systems, contract-enforcing mechanisms, and so on. In many countries, microfinance institutions (MFIs) help overcome such gaps by providing small- and low-interest loans to low-income individuals for them to establish small businesses. However, even though a great deal is known about the effects of MFIs in facilitating the development of SMEs and small entrepreneurs, we still need to understand how variation in institutional contexts shapes the way in which MFIs are effective in bridging these gaps. In this paper, the authors examine the effect of globalization on MFI operations across developing and emerging economies, looking specifically at more than 2,000 MFIs from 119 emerging and developing countries around the world over the period 2002-2012. Overall, findings shed light on both the bright side and the dark side of globalization from the perspectives of how social organizations (MFIs) can serve the global poor. Read More

Institutional Strategies in Emerging Markets

In an increasingly complex and integrated global economy, a significant challenge for organizations is navigating institutionally diverse contexts—each posing a different set of opportunities and challenges. To help provide guidance, this paper brings together diverse streams of research under the conceptual umbrella of "institutional strategies." Institutional strategy means the comprehensive set of plans and actions directed at leveraging and shaping the sociopolitical and cultural institutions within an organization's external environment. This article maps the field of research on institutional strategies, and highlights potential avenues for future research. As the review shows, there has been a biased selection and focus in current research—namely, a disproportionate emphasis on developed markets. This raises some concern regarding the applicability of current models and theoretical toolkits in the context of emerging markets. To address this concern, the authors offer up a comprehensive framework of institutional strategies that not only provides a more realistic account of the diverse institutional conditions that organizations confront, but also highlights the importance of expanding the current focus from developed markets to a more global perspective. Read More

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Research by Christopher Marquis shows that a company's degree of social responsibility is affected by a surprising factor—the language it uses to communicate. Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility

While many scholars have observed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a deeply cultural process, there are inconsistent findings on the specific cultural mechanisms by which culture affects CSR. This paper suggests that the way in which corporations use language is a strong predictor of their CSR and sustainability practices. It addresses two questions: 1) Why do CSR practices vary significantly across countries? And 2) How does the future-time orientation of companies' working languages affect their adoption of, compliance to, and engagement in corporate social responsibility programs? Building on the future-time criterion of scholars Dahl (2000) and Chen (2013), which separates languages into two broad categories-those languages that require future events to be grammatically marked when making predictions, and those that do not-the authors examine thousands of global companies across 59 countries from 1999 to 2011. The empirical results support the hypothesis that languages that grammatically separate the current tense from the future tense can significantly affect how corporations perceive future-oriented strategies, and so make corporate behavior less future-oriented. Overall, the authors introduce a new way to think about underlying variation in global CSR practices. As they show in this paper, it is crucial to examine language as an important underlying feature that shapes cultural values and the norms in a society. The study also builds on research into the ways in which perceptual category systems focus the attention, and subsequently, the behaviors, of corporate leaders. Read More

Analyzing Institutions to Solve Big Problems

The academic study of institutions provides important insights into complex problems, but is often criticized for lacking practical relevance. Institutional theorists gathered at Harvard Business School to discuss how to make their work more broadly understood and useful. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How Local Events Shake Up Corporate Philanthropy

Large-scale events like the Olympics lead to a dramatic, albeit short-term increase in otherwise steady charitable-giving patterns among corporations headquartered near the event's host city, according to research by András Tilcsik and Christopher Marquis. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Punctuated Generosity: How Mega-events and Natural Disasters Affect Corporate Philanthropy in US Communities

Even in a global age, local communities offer a critical context for organizational behavior. This paper asks: Since corporate giving is often locally focused, what happens to local firms' philanthropy when a major event disrupts the life of the community? Mega-events might be actively solicited (such as the Olympics, the Super Bowl, political conventions), or natural (floods and hurricanes). In particular, the authors studied how major events within communities affected the philanthropic contributions of locally headquartered corporations in the US between 1980 and 2006. There are three main findings: 1) Actively solicited mega-events had a positive effect in the event year, but also displayed more complex time-dependent dynamics. In some cases, the effects on corporate philanthropy were visible two years before the event and lasted up to six years, before eventually tapering off. 2) The impact of destructive, unexpected events depended on their magnitude. While major natural disasters depressed philanthropic spending by local corporations, smaller-scale disasters stimulated it. 3) Organizational and community factors moderated some of the effects of events. Overall, findings demonstrate the theoretical importance of looking at geography and events in tandem. Mega-events shape institutional processes in significant ways. This paper is forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly. Read More

The Globalization of Corporate Environmental Disclosure: Accountability or Greenwashing?

Between 2005 and 2008, the world saw a dramatic increase in corporate environmental reporting. Yet this transition toward greater transparency and accountability has occurred unevenly across countries and industries. Findings by professors Christopher Marquis and Michael W. Toffel provide the first systematic evidence of how the global environmental movement affects corporations' environmental management practices. Firms' use of symbolic compliance strategies, for instance, is affected by specific corporate characteristics and by institutional context. This study contributes to a larger body of research on the effects of global social movements and environmental reporting. Read More

Who Is Governing Whom? Senior Managers, Governance and the Structure of Generosity in Large U.S. Firms

Analyzing several Fortune 500 firms over the period of 10 years, Christopher Marquis and Matthew Lee discuss the factors that influence corporate philanthropy, using the subject to theorize about and test how structural features of organizations help senior leaders to shape firm strategy. Read More

The Contingent Nature of Public Policy and Growth Strategies in the Early Twentieth-Century U.S. Banking Industry

The effects of public policy on organizations and economic activities have been widely observed. This line of research has contributed to organizational theory by showing the importance of state action for constructing economic systems, as well as firm structures and strategies. But there are a number of reasons why this perspective may in fact overemphasize the importance of public policy. This working paper, forthcoming as an article in the Academy of Management Journal, more fully investigates the contingent nature of the effects of policy on organizations, with the orienting premise that policy is just one of the external conditions that organizations face, and policy effects are more or less powerful to the extent that they are interactive with other elements of the environment. Specifically, the authors focus on how policy that regulated bank branching and other environmental factors affected—independently as well as interactively—the emergence and growth of large-scale firms in U.S. commercial banking from 1896 to 1978. Read More

Acting Globally but Thinking Locally? The Influence of Local Communities on Organizations

It is a paradox that in a globalizing and "boundaryless" economy, factors associated with local communities—such as interpersonal networks, laws, and tax rates, among others—remain important for understanding organizational behavior. As Marquis and Battilana argue, communities influence organizational behavior not only as local markets and resource environments, but also through a number of institutional pressures. Focusing on communities as institutional environments provides fresh theoretical insights into organizational behavior, in addition to offering a more unified perspective to the diverse set of research that is emerging on local communities. Read More

The Geography of Corporate Giving

Where a company is headquartered influences the types of social programs it supports, such as housing assistance, disease research, and the arts, according to new research by professor Christopher Marquis and his coauthors. Is social spending too confined by geography? Read More