Research Impact on Practice Award

Research Impact on Practice Award Winners

The Research Impact on Practice Award recognizes contemporary, peer-reviewed research that has important implications for practice.
March 15, 2016
The Network for Business Sustainability co-sponsors the award with the Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division of the Academy of Management. The research may focus on any dimension of social or environmental sustainability. Submissions are due annually on April 30.

2018 Award

Winner: Tom Lawrence

Across the world, people face similar challenges, such as drug abuse, pollution, and inequality. Can we benefit from similar solutions? Can an innovative response that worked in one place take off in another? 
Researcher Tom Lawrence set out to see how a controversial idea that worked in one location might get traction elsewhere. He found that the path to acceptance can be a rough one, requiring a lot of energy, effort, and time. And the idea changes along the way. Local people need to “translate” an idea - adapt it in ways that make it effective in terms of the local challenge a.
Lawrence, T.B. 2017 High-stakes institutional translation: Establishing North America’s first government-sanctioned supervised injection site. Academy of Management Journal, 60(5): 1771-1800.
Research Insight

Bringing in an unfamiliar idea requires small steps, allies, and emotion.

Maya Fischhoff

honourable mention:  jennifer howard-grenville, Andrew J. Nelson, Andrew G. Earle, Julie A. Haack, Douglas M. Young

 To address environmental and social challenges, members of professions need to influence their peers and harness their expertise to make change. Insights into this process come from the growth of ‘green chemistry,’ a set of principles aimed at guiding chemists toward safer and greener chemical products and processes. Chemists directly shaped this effort, effectively using multiple frames to appeal to different aspects of the occupation. 
Howard-Grenville, J., Nelson, A. J., Earle, A. G., Haack, J. A., & Young, D. M. (2017). "If chemists don’t do it, who is going to?” Peer-driven occupational change and the emergence of green chemistry. Administrative Science Quarterly, 62(3), 524-560.

2017 Award

Winner: Adam Cobb, Tyler Wry, and Eric Zhao

Microfinance organizations (MFOs) operate in almost every country and provide $60-100 billion annually in loans. MFOs, in turn, receive the money they loan out from a variety of funders: both public sector organizations, such as governments and aid agencies, and private capital firms.

Cobb, Wry and Zhao examined what kinds of MFOs different funders favour, especially in unstable conditions. Their findings have direct implications for the health of the microfinance sector – and the people who depend on it. 
Cobb, J. A., Wry, T., & Zhao, E. Y.  2016. Funding financial inclusion: Institutional logics and the contextual contingency of funding for microfinance organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 59: 2103-2131.
Reports and Articles

Investors provide funding for the microfinance organizations that make millions of small loans. These investment decisions shape the microfinance sector.

Maya Fischhoff

Honourable mention: Mark de Rond and Jaco Lok

What explains why some people experience an event as distressing, and others don’t? Studying medics serving in Afghanistan in 2011, de Rond and Lok found that people's context — their workplace and professional community — affects whether they find experiences to be traumatic. 

Many people look to their work for a sense of meaning and purpose. If their work feels senseless or futile, they suffer. The organizations they belong to shape their expectations and can help them make sense of what they see. 
de Rond, M., & Lok, J., 2016. Some things can never be unseen: The role of context in psychological injury at war. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6): 1965-1993.
Reports and Articles

Organizations need to help employees in stressful circumstances cope. War medics' experiences show the need for meaningfulness at work.

Maya Fischhoff

2016 Award

Winner: Ray Paquin, Timo Busch, and Suzanne Tilleman

Paquin and co-authors analyzed a unique national-level industrial symbiosis dataset. They identified ways that industrial symbiosis can create environmental competitive advantage for firms. They also identified the value of industrial symbiosis for policy makers seeking low-carbon industrial development.
Paquin, R., Busch, T., & Tilleman, S. 2015. Creating Economic and Environmental Value through Industrial Symbiosis. Long Range Planning, 48(2): 95-107.
Reports and Articles

In industrial symbiosis, firms exchange materials, energy, water, and waste – and the benefits are often financial and environmental.

Maya Fischhoff
Reports and Articles

Winners of the 2016 Research Impact on Practice Award describe how they developed their work on industrial symbiosis' environmental and economic benefits.

Maya Fischhoff

Honourable mention: Caroline Flammer

Studying CSR-related shareholder proposals, Flammer establishes a causal effect of CSR on performance and informs companies and shareholders as to which types of CSR proposals are most likely to create value.
Flammer, C., 2015. Does Corporate Social Responsibility Lead to Superior Financial Performance? A Regression Discontinuity ApproachManagement Science, 61(11), 2549-2568.
Reports and Articles

Companies want to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Caroline Flammer’s work shows how corporate social responsibility (CSR) can help.

Maya Fischhoff

2015 Award

Winner: Omar Asensio and Magali Delmas 

The authors used an information-based strategy to motivate consumer decision making about household energy conservation. Their results, based on a large field experiment, showed that tailored information disclosures about the environmental and health implications of household electricity use can be very meaningful to residential customers and lead to more lasting behavioral effects, compared to framing based on cost savings. 
Asensio, O., & Delmas, M. 2015. The dynamics of behavior change: Evidence from energy conservation. Paper submitted to 2015 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.

2014 Award

Winner: Lamar Pierce and Michael Toffel

The researchers studied the conditions under which auditors provide more or less stringent audits. As many auditing firms “cross sell” additional services such as consulting, Pierce and Toffel found that auditors are more lenient when auditing customers who buy their other services.

For more stringent auditing, choose a firm solely focused on auditing. Compared to independent firms, franchises and subsidiaries also tend to be more trustworthy auditors because they are subject to monitoring by corporate headquarters, and so have stronger incentives to audit stringently.
Pierce, L., & Toffel, M. 2013. The role of governance and scope in strengthening private monitoring, Organization Science, 24(5): 1558-1584.
Reports and Articles

Not all auditors are equal: Discover the key qualities of trustworthy auditors, as identified by leading researchers.

Maya Fischhoff

Honourable mention: Elke Schüssler, Charles-Clemens Rüling, and Bettina Wittneben

These researchers studied how to advance climate negotiations. United Nations climate conferences have become huge and chaotic, the researchers report, with more emphasis on networking than policy development. For policy action, the researchers recommend streamlining negotiations in terms of actors and issues.
Schussler, E., Rüling, C.C., & Wittneben, B. 2014. On melting summits: The limitations of field-configuring events as catalysts of change in transnational climate policy. Academy of Management Journal, 57, 140-171

Honourable mention: Joern Hoppmann, Michael Peters, Malte Schneider, and Volker H. Hoffmann

 Clean energy firms balance their efforts between developing innovative technologies ("exploration") and bringing them to market ("exploitation"). The researchers studied how government policies intended to support clean energy affect that balance. From their study, they derive recommendations for how to design energy policies to support both goals.
Hoppmann J., Peters M., Schneider M., Hoffmann V.H. 2013 The two faces of market support – How deployment policies affect technological exploration and exploitation in the solar photovoltaic industry. Research Policy, 42(4), 989-1003.
Reports and Articles

Renewable energy can seem a peaceful landscape of sun and wind: but different technologies are busily competing. Joern Hoppmann explains why some triumph.

Emily Joldersma

2013 Award

Winner: Magali Delmas & Sanja Pekovic

Delmas and Pekovic found an astounding 16 per cent boost in employee productivity in firms that had voluntarily adopted sustainable practices, specifically Environmental Management Systems (EMS). EMS are associated with high productivity because they result in more employee training and connections across the company.
Reports and Articles

Adopting an EMS isn't just good for the environment. Firms with an EMS show an astonishing 16 per cent productivity boost. Why? More training and connections.


Honourable mention: Lianne Lefsrud and Renate Meyer

Nearly 100 per cent of professionals in Canada’s oil and gas industry agree that the climate is changing — but disagree on cause and required actions. In a study of 1000 engineers and geologists, many working on Canada’s oil sands, Lefsrud and Mayer identified a range of perspectives — and a potential way to unify them. They argue that everyone can agree that climate change is a risk to be managed.
Reports and Articles

People may disagree on climate change causes and actions. But framing the issue as risk management can bring everyone to the table.


Honourable mention: Stefanie Hille and Rolf Wuestenhagen

Eco-labels need to be simple for customers to understand. Hille and Wuestenhagen studied a proposal to change European Union energy efficiency labels from a seven-point A-G rating scale by adding new classes: A+, A++ and A+++. They found that the proposed changes led consumers to switch away from energy-efficient products.
Reports and Articles

Eco-labels or sustainability ratings can be an important guide for purchasing sustainable products. But not all rating systems are equally effective. 

Maya Fischhoff