Barry M. Staw

Barry M. Staw
University of California, Berkeley | UCB · Haas School of Business

Ph.D.

About

96
Publications
70,517
Reads
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25,521
Citations
Citations since 2016
2 Research Items
7973 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,200
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,200
Additional affiliations
January 1997 - December 2009
University of California, Berkeley

Publications

Publications (96)
Article
Research has documented conflicting evidence about the relationship between a leader's unpleasant affective displays and team performance. Drawing on the dual threshold model of anger, we propose a novel explanation for this paradox such that the positive relationship between leaders' unpleasant affect and team performance turns negative at high le...
Article
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I recount some of my early experiences in the field and how they shaped my views about conducting research. As I describe it, my entry into organizational behavior was not at all seamless, requiring a series of adjustments along the way. Like many of my colleagues who had moved into the field of organizational behavior, I had to find a source of va...
Article
This panel brings together recently retired academics at different stages of evolving a pattern in their retirement careers. They will deal with questions of why they chose to retire, what they anticipated it would be like, how it has turned out, and what issues or concerns they have encountered. It is meant to be informal, with each presenter talk...
Article
Consistent with the theme of the Academy of Management meeting this year, we are proposing a symposium which investigates the power of words within a relatively unique context—the world of sport. We suggest that sport, while being a relatively unique context, provides an advantageous lens with which to address how words “facilitate or hinder the ou...
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We examined whether press reports on the collective mood of investors can predict changes in stock prices. We collected data on the use of emotion words in newspaper reports on traders' affect, coded these emotion words according to their location on an affective circumplex in terms of pleasantness and activation level, and created indices of colle...
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Abstract We investigate the psychological phenomenon of rivalry, and propose a view of competition as inherently relational, thus extending the literatures on competition between individuals, groups, and firms. Specifically, we argue that the relationships between competitors – as captured by their proximity, relative attributes and prior competiti...
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The papers in this volume can be characterized by a “cohesion–creativity divide.” On one side are scholars who describe the very nature of groups – its norms, interaction patterns, social influence, and hierarchy – as anathema to creativity. On the other side are advocates of cohesion and coordination, where the primary benefits of groups are to dr...
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Current research in organizational behavior suggests that organizations should adopt collectivistic values because they promote cooperation and productivity, while individualistic values should be avoided because they incite destructive conflict and opportunism. In this paper, we highlight one possible benefit of individualistic values that has not...
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This study explored how affect relates to creativity at work. Using both quantitative and qualitative longitudinal data from the daily diaries of 222 employees in seven companies, we examined the nature, form, and temporal dynamics of the affect-creativity relationship. The results indicate that positive affect relates positively to creativity in o...
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This paper readdresses the person–situation debate in organizational research. The well-known arguments of Davis-Blake and Pfeffer (1989) are evaluated in light of research and theory that has transpired since the publication of their original critique. A new dispositional model of job satisfaction is then proposed. The model is based on several in...
Article
We argue that charismatic leadership can influence external support for the organization, particularly in making the company more attractive to outside investors. Two studies were conducted to test this general hypothesis. First, an archival study demonstrated that the stock of companies headed by charismatic leaders appreciated more than the stock...
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A combined programme entailing separate managerial and personality assessment staffs was employed to explore the construct validity of managerial performance dimensions. For a sample of 119 MBA (Master of Business Administration) candidates, principal components analysis of mean ratings on 14 managerial performance dimensions identified a Strategic...
Article
this paper was supported by the Institute Europen d'Administration d'Affaires (INSEAD) and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Portions of the material were presented in 1998 at a "Social Networks and Social Capital" conference organized by Nan Lin and Karen Cook at Duke University, and a "Economic and Organizational Sociology" c...
Article
This paper examines some of the important organizational consequences of popular management techniques. Using informational reports on quality, empowerment, and teams, as well as a measure of the implementation of total quality management programs, we found that companies associated with popular management techniques did not have higher economic pe...
Article
This research examined relationships between alternative measures of affect and supervisory performance ratings. The first study showed that dispositional rather than state affect significantly predicted supervisory ratings of performance over time. Since the measures of affect differed on both content and temporal dimensions, a follow-up study was...
Article
Replies to G. Ledford's commentary (see record 1999-10337-002) on the article by T. A. Wright and B. M. Staw (see record 1999-10337-001) concerning affect and supervisory performance ratings. The author's believe Ledford's commentary is a thought-provoking attempt to place the research and its findings in a larger theoretical context. His comment...
Article
Ledford's commentary on our paper titled, 'Affect and favorable work outcomes: Two longitudinal tests of the happy-productive worker thesis', is a thought-provoking attempt to place the research and its findings in a larger theoretical context. His comments address three general questions. First, why have so many academics and practitioners alike b...
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Although the escalation literature has grown steadily over the past 20 years, there has been very little research bridging the gap between laboratory experiments and qualitative field studies on escalation. What has been missing are quantitative tests of escalation hypotheses in their natural context. This study helps fill such a gap by testing the...
Article
This study represents one of the first quantitative field tests of the sunk-cost effect. We tested whether the amount teams spent for players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) influenced how much playing time players got and how long they stayed with NBA franchises. Sunk costs were operationalized by the order in which players were selec...
Article
This essay describes differences between papers that contain some theory rather than no theory. There is little agreement about what constitutes strong versus weak theory in the social sciences, but there is more consensus that references, data, variables, diagrams, and hypotheses are not theory. Despite this consensus, however, authors routinely u...
Article
Empirical research in organizational psychology has generally failed to support the popular notion that happy employees are also productive employees. This study examined the relationship of state and dispositional measures of affect to performance ratings. Results showed that dispositional but not state affect was a significant predictor of subseq...
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Reviews research in psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior to develop a conceptual framework that specifies how positive emotion (PE) helps employees obtain favorable outcomes at work. It is proposed that feeling and expressing PEs on the job have favorable consequences on (1) employees, independent of their relationships with others (e...
Article
Although there is a relatively large literature on escalating commitment, almost all the research it describes has concerned individuals rather than organizations. Therefore, to provide additional grounding for an organizational theory of escalation, we examined the Long Island Lighting Company's decision to build and operate the Shoreham Nuclear P...
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This study provides a comparative test of two psychological theories concerning the relationship between affect and performance. Managerial simulations are used to test whether people who are positive in disposition perform better or worse on both decisional and interpersonal tasks. Results are consistent in supporting the happier-and-smarter as op...
Chapter
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This chapter outlines the area of macro organizational psychology,. This subfield comprises theory and research in which individual traits and states play a central role in explaining behavior at the organizational level of analysis. Past research indicates that psychological forces can be used without reference to, in combination with, or as a rep...
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Previous research suggests that decision makers have a tendency to become locked into courses of action, to throw good money after bad in dealing with losing projects. The present study directly compared the effectiveness of several deescalation strategies designed to make decision makers more responsive to the available evidence. Three deescalatio...
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This article explores how psychological theories can be used to explain organizational action. It starts by noting that many macro actions may in fact be micro behavior in disguise. It is argued that psychological models are relevant when individuals are able to influence organizational action, when individuallevel processes mediate organizational...
Article
This study addressed the problem of task revision, a virtually unresearched issue in the work performance literature. We defined task revision as action taken to correct a faulty procedure, an inaccurate job description, or a role expectation that is dysfunctional for an organization. Two experiments were constructed to measure task revision and te...
Article
Some of Lou Pondy's closest colleagues were invited to submit letters and articles, as a starting point for this special issue. Many letters were received from leading scholars at some of the most respected institutions in the world, capturing Lou's human qualities and his unique analytic style. A selection of these letters are included here.
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This chapter presents the description of research on social influence that moves rather freely between laboratory settings and organizational contexts. The laboratory studies follow several well-developed research paradigms, with variations in conditions and resultant findings occurring in a cumulative fashion. The organizational studies of social...
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Everyday observation reveals that both individuals and organizations often become overly committed to losing courses of action; in a sense, throwing good money after bad. More than 10 years of research on this escalation problem shows that persistence is associated with at least four major clases of determinants: project, psychological, social, and...
Article
Discusses the nature of escalation situations and outlines the major lines of escalation research. A classificatory review of the literature is provided, which not only summarizes existing investigations but also explores several other social science variables that may logically influence escalation contexts. It is argued that escalation research n...
Article
The issue of how to manage an organization so that employees are both happy and productive is an old and overworked topic, but one that remains a source of confusion and controversy. This article examines the psychological perspective to provide a realistic appraisal of where we now stand in the search for satisfaction and productivity in work sett...
Article
This paper examines British Columbia's decision to host a world's fair (Expo 86) in Vancouver. Despite rapidly increasing deficit projections (from a 6-million projected loss in 1978 to over a 300-million projected loss in 1985), the provincial government remained steadfast in its plans to hold Expo. Expo is therefore a visible and prototypical exa...
Article
Recent debates between the job enrichment and social-information-processing perspectives have led to a trend toward greater situationalism in organizational research. This paper, however, argues for a more dispositional approach in which the role of the person is emphasized. Using a longitudinal sample, measures of affective disposition from as ear...
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Analyzed data on the job satisfaction of over 5,000 45–59 yr old males to investigate the dispositional argument that job attitudes are consistent within individuals, showing stability both over time and across situations. Data were collected longitudinally over multiple waves, with the majority of the sample assessed on job satisfaction during 196...
Article
Justification of organizational performance was investigated by testing for self-serving attributions in corporate annual reports. Letters to shareholders were found to show strong evidence of self-serving attributions, and these attributions took both an enhancing and defensive form. Self-serving attributions appeared to be convincing to the inves...
Article
Prevailing motivation theories from organizational behavior are outlined. Guidelines from current theories are pushed to the limit when outcome curves are examined in their extremities. Traditional reward systems are shown to have many practical limitations. Altruism as a theory is considered to explain organizationally-oriented rather than individ...
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This paper explores the case for a general threat-rigidity effect in individual, group, and organizational behavior. Evidence from multiple levels of analysis is summarized, showing a restriction in information processing and constriction of control under threat conditions. Possible mechanisms underlying such a multiple-level effect are explored, a...
Article
There are many instances in which individuals can become locked into a costly course of action. Because it is often possible for persons who have suffered a setback to recoup their losses through an even greater commitment of resources to the same course of action, a cycle of escalating commitment can be produced. In this paper, I review recent res...
Article
Reviews the book, Too Much Invested to Quit by Allan I. Teger (1980). How and why individuals become locked into a course of action is the focus of this book. As Teger notes, many of the most difficult decisions an individual must make are not choices about what to do in an isolated instance but are choices concerning the fate of an entire course o...
Article
Assessed the reactions of individuals to selected forms of administrative action. 95 practicing managers, 48 undergraduates in business, and 79 undergraduates in a psychology course were asked to study 1 of 8 case descriptions of an administrator's behavior. The case descriptions manipulated consistency vs experimentation in the administrator's cou...
Article
Several previous studies have shown that rewarding individuals for preforming an interesting task may have an inhibitory effect on tast satisfaction and persistence. In this experiment, an extrinsic reward decreased task satisfaction and persistence when a norm for no payment existed, but the inhibitory effect was not found when a norm for payment...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to reorient the study of turnover from an examination of the antecedents of leaving an organization to its consequences. Towards this end, a number of positive as well as negative consequences of turnover are discussed and moderators of these effects are proposed. Finally, the issues associated with assessing the multip...
Article
This study operationalizes and tests Campbell's trapped administrator effect. In an experimental simulation, job insecurity and policy resistance were manipulated and their effects were measured upon commitment to a course of action. Results showed that as job insecurity and policy resistance increased, so did commitment to a previously chosen cour...
Article
Subjects in an experimental simulation played the role of a decision maker in the World Bank. This simulation was designed to tap some variables relevant for policy situations and to compare specific predictions derived from six psychological theories. Subjects were asked to allocate resources to one of several courses of action and their commitmen...
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Presents a collection of articles on various aspects of organizational behavior. Written to introduce some different and more recent ideas into the literature on the subject, the book examines such topics as social comparison processes in organizations, interpersonal attraction and techniques of ingratiation in organizational settings, and informat...
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Previous research has shown that individuals are most likely to escalate the amount of resources committed to a course of action when they have been personally responsible for negative consequences. The present study examined the process of escalation over three points in time and under four experimental conditions. A 2 X 2 X 3 factorial experiment...
Article
It is commonly expected that individuals will reverse decisions or change behaviors which result in negative consequences. Yet, within investment decision contexts, negative consequences may actually cause decision makers to increase the commitment of resources and undergo the risk of further negative consequences. The research presented here exami...
Article
This study examines the relation between the scarcity-munificence of organizational environments and the occurrence of illegal acts. It is hypothesized that the less munificent the organization's environment, the more effort the organization will exert to obtain resources from that environment and, thus, the more likely it will engage in legally qu...
Article
This paper presents a general alternative interpretation of correlational findings which link perceptual or questionnaire measures to data on performance. It is posited that organizational participants possess theories of performance just as do organizational researchers, and that respondents will use knowledge of performance as a cue by which they...
Article
Self-perception theory predicts that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation do not combine additively but rather interact. To test this predicted interaction, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation were both manipulated as independent variables in an experiment with 40 undergraduate males. Ss completed puzzles under payment or nonpayment conditions. Result...
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R. deCharms (1968) has hypothesized that increasing extrinsic rewards may lead individuals to perceive their behavior as under the control of the rewards and that this, in turn, may reduce their intrinsic motivation. Recently, E. L. Deci has reported several studies dealing with this interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (e.g., see...
Article
Tested J. G. March and H. A. Simon's 1958 inducements-contributions theory and L. Festinger's 1957 theory of cognitive dissonance within an organizational setting. A natural field experiment was made possible by the fact that many young men (N = 550) who had joined an organization (the US Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps), in part to avoid bei...
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493 men recorded their opinions about when troops should be withdrawn from Indochina both before and after they were assigned a random draft lottery number. Persons assigned higher draft numbers which exempted them from military service advocated speedier withdrawal than did persons assigned numbers in the middle of the distribution. This effect re...
Article
Conducted 2 studies with a total of 382 draft-eligible and 438 draft-ineligible undergraduates to ascertain attitudes toward the number of troops in indochina and the relationship of those attitudes to draft probability. More draft-eligible men in the lowest probability category (draft numbers 245-366) advocated total troop withdrawal from indochin...
Article
This book is a collection of essays on change. Its purpose is to sharpen our conceptualizations of change. The audience is anyone concerned with developing his or her theoretical view of change. At the conclusion there is no neatly drawn theory of change. We do not see that the current state of knowledge as represented in the literature supports su...

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