Papers and Slides
Luisa Gagliardi with Myriam Mariani, Stefano Breschi, and Dirk Hovy
Abstract: We answer the question of whether the value placed by employers on overwork and (in)flexible working schedules contributes to explain the gender gap in career progression. We look at employees of firms that change ownership due to an acquisition by a multinational company, and distinguish between same vs. different time zones acquisitions. The idea is that differences in time zones between the headquarter and the newly acquired firm increase the demand and value of temporal flexibility in order to make communication possible. Since women have more stringent constraints to provide the employer with this flexibility, they are at a disadvantage in terms of career progression compared to men. Our empirical results based on Zephyr-LinkedIn matched data show that women are 2% less likely than men to be promoted when the target firm is acquired by a multinational enterprise located in a different time zone, and that this disadvantage applies only to women working in the business sector. This difference increases up to 6.6% for meaningful time zones. These results have implications for the management, evaluation and retention of human capital and, more generally, for gender equality in the workplace.
The Effects of Temporal Distance on Communication Patterns in a Large Multinational: Evidence from Daylight Savings Time
Jasmina Chauvin with Prithwiraj Choudhury and Tommy Pan Fang
Abstract: We study how temporal distance affects communication patterns in a large multinational company by exploiting a natural experiment – the annual change of clocks from Daylight Savings Time (DST). We hypothesize that temporal distance constrains employees’ ability to communicate synchronously (via calls, instant message chats, virtual meetings) but not asynchronously (via e-mail), and that this constraint is binding for employees engaged in globally distributed knowledge-production. Using the shift from DST as a discrete change in temporal distance and detailed data on employee function and communication patterns, we find that an increase in shared time between offices of one-to-two hours increases volumes of unscheduled Skype calls by 28 percent, while an equivalent decrease in shared time decreases chat- and scheduled call and meeting volumes by 9.5 and 9.0 percent, respectively. In contrast, asynchronous communication volumes (e-mail) are largely unaffected. We further show that the positive response to increased shared time is driven by R&D workers, while the negative responses are concentrated among workers in operational tasks (production and IT). We interpret our results as evidence that knowledge workers place a high value on shared time and discuss implications for the spatial organization of firms and the offshoring of work.
The Breakdown and Recovery of Cooperation in Large Groups: Exploring the Role of Formal Structure Using a Field Experiment
Francisco Brahm with Christoph Loch and Cristina Riquelme
Abstract: While crucial for the success of organizations, cooperation can unravel with size. We study a workplace safety methodology that leverages voluntary cooperation: workers are enrolled and trained to provide advice to co-workers on safe behavior. Using administrative data, we show that cooperation breaks down as the number of enrolled workers increase. Then, we experimentally manipulate the methodology by structuring workers around groups. This produces a recovery of cooperative effort and a reduction in risky behavior and accidents. We show that the likely mechanism are repeated interactions among advisor and workers, and not group dynamics such as identity or peer pressure.