TAU NEWS – Business & Management
Acceleration program partners with Cross Campus and Google to help budding women entrepreneurs incubate startups
IDEAS Immersion will bring nine of Israel's most talented, aspiring women entrepreneurs to California's tech epicenters for a three-week intensive start-up acceleration program, hosted by Tel Aviv University (TAU) and its American Friends. The opportunity-filled platform, which kicks off at Cross Campus Downtown LA on June 5, is designed to engage and encourage an elite new generation of innovators, with a special focus this year on women in tech.
While women represent more than fifty percent of the US labor force, only a quarter of tech jobs at the top US tech firms are held by women, with only 18 percent of women holding leadership positions. Yet studies have shown that, despite receiving 50 percent less venture capital funding, women tech entrepreneurs are able to generate 20 percent greater revenue than their male counterparts. Still, only seven percent of VC funding goes to women-led startups.
IDEAS (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts and Science) Immersion partners with Los Angeles- and San Francisco-based tech/entertainment/science business leaders, angel investors and venture capitalists to serve as mentors to the participants, providing them with the tools and networks to succeed, as well as serving as a launch pad for their startups.
Five companies and nine outstanding female scholars were selected to participate from TAU's Delta pre-accelerator program:
- AuDry: "Auto Diary" automatically gathers information to help preserve the user's most important memories by using qualitative data. Represented by Eden Zohar.
- Botcast: An on-demand smart advisor that helps users discover and consume personalized podcasts. Represented by Leeron Kalish and Adi Dekel.
- Co-Lab: A mobile platform which creates and promotes collaborative pop-up events between creatives and local businesses. Represented by Shani Singer, Tanya Cohen and Corrine Gotlieb.
- CraftRide: A mobile truck that helps bring crafting activities to collaborators, such as craft stories, parks, artists, suppliers and more. Represented by Dana Arp and Janice Karbachinskiy.
- DIT (Do It Together): A platform that helps plan productions by connecting users to crew members and contracted workers on a needs-basis. Represented by Mor Glotter.
"IDEAS Immersion is a unique experience that will help prepare these outstanding women to become the future leaders of the digital technology world," said David Dorfman, Executive Director of IDEAS Immersion and Vice President of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University Western Region. "The program is designed to enable our participants to work collaboratively and learn from some of the chief thought-leaders in the industry. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this cohort of entrepreneurs, along with our corporate sponsors, to help further fuel the digital technology industry in Israel."
Uri Bar, a 2016 IDEAS Immersion participant, and his company Easy2Hike were recently awarded $100,000 as part of a start-up competition at TAU.
The University has played a key role in Israel's rise as a world leader in research and as a tech hotbed. Approximately fifty percent of all Israeli entrepreneurs are alumni of TAU and the university is ranked ninth globally for producing the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs.
With this in mind, TAU created TAU Ventures, a new $10 million venture fund focusing on early stage ideas from students, alumni and the wider Tel Aviv ecosystem. With its first close expected in June 2017, TAU Ventures will be able to invest in this year's participating IDEAS Immersion startups.
The second-year program, developed in partnership with Cross Campus and Google, includes a series of in-depth workshops, educational panels, community events, and on-site visits to major California corporations, culminating in a community-wide Demo Day.
Community events that will be open to the public include:
- "The Start-Up Lifecycle: Seed, Raise, Exit, Fail" mini-conference (June 8th, 6-9PM at Cross Campus DTLA)
- "Launchpad to Success: Finding the Next 1 Billion User Platform" (June 13th, 6-9pm at Google SF)
- Demo Night (June 22nd, 5:30-9:30pm at Cross Campus DTLA)
The program will also be held in Chicago starting August 27, 2017 in partnership with 1871.
IDEAS Immersion partners with dozens of corporations, community organizations and influencers in the technology, media, entertainment, lifestyle and health industries in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to present the multi-week program.
For more information, please visit: www.ideasimmersion.com
New TAU study confirms that nice women finish last
A new study finds that the nicer, or more agreeable, a woman is at work, the lower her salary is likely to be. The new research, published in The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, examines status inconsistencies between men and women through the lens of traditional male and female characteristics.
Dominant, assertive women, who clearly express their expectations and do not retreat from their demands, are compensated better than their more accommodating female peers. According to the researchers, the same goes for dominant men versus their more conciliatory male counterparts — but even dominant women earn far less than all of their male colleagues, dominant or otherwise.
The study was conducted by Prof. Sharon Toker of the Tel Aviv University Coller School of Business Management, Dr. Michal Biron of the Department of Business Administration at the University of Haifa, and Dr. Renee De Reuver of the Department of Human Resource studies at Tilburg University in The Netherlands.
Sugar and spice and everything nice?
"We have witnessed dramatic changes in the definition of traditionally male and female qualities over the past several decades. But some people still really cling to the idea that some qualities are exclusively male and exclusively female," Prof. Toker said. "Some professional women are still afraid to exhibit a trait that's incongruent with presumed notions of female character. The result is financial retribution."
"We found that women aren't aware that more agreeable women are being punished for being nice," said Dr. Biron. "The nice women we polled in our study even believed they were earning more than they deserved."
For the purpose of their study, the researchers surveyed 375 men and women at a Dutch multinational electronics company with 1,390 employees. The subjects were selected at random from all 12 of the company departments.
The researchers used both objective and subjective criteria for the study. For objective data, they analyzed tenure, education, and performance data relative to income and promotion statistics. For subjective data, they examined how the individual perceived the fit between their education, experience, and performance on the one hand, and their income and rank on the other.
More effort for less return
"We found that women were consistently and objectively status-detracted, which means they invest more of themselves in their jobs than they receive; and are compensated less than their male colleagues across the board," Dr. Biron said.
"But dominant women were not punished for reflecting such female-incongruent traits as extroversion and assertiveness," Dr. De Reuver said. "In fact, we found that the more dominant a woman is at work, the less likely she is to be status-detracted. We found a similar pattern among men — the more dominant a man is, the more likely he is to be better compensated. But alarmingly, dominant women were still found to earn less than even the most agreeable men who aren't promoted."
In the subjective part of the study, nearly all the employees responded that they felt dissatisfied with their input-compensation ratio, but agreeable and non-dominant women answered that they felt they earned too much.
"This blew our minds," said Prof. Toker. "The data shows that they earn the least — far less than what they deserve. And they rationalize the situation, making it less likely that they will make appropriate demands for equal pay."
The researchers hope to replicate the study in Israel and the U.S.
TAU joins Stanford, UC Berkeley, and MIT on global VC database list
Tel Aviv University ranked ninth in the master list of global universities producing the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, according to the 2016-2017 PitchBook Universities Report. TAU placed ahead of Ivy League universities Yale (#12), Princeton (#13), and Columbia (#18).
TAU appears on the list for the third year in a row, powerfully reflecting the university's continuing success in the global business/investor community.
The prestigious list is topped by Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. TAU is the only non-US university to make the top ten.
Its MBA program is ranked 12th in the world in terms of producing VC-backed entrepreneurs. According to PitchBook, entrepreneurs who got their start at TAU have raised capital in the amount of $5.1 billion.
Shlomo Nimrodi, CEO of Ramot, Tel Aviv University's Business Engagement Center, said, "This report is a testament to the successful strategy TAU's leadership has been implementing in translating excellent research into practical innovation and entrepreneurship. It involves creating a support system to encourage promising innovations, interacting with multinational corporations from around the world, and opening opportunities to the east, with strong and expanding relations with the emerging markets in both India and China.
"The number of inventions generated every year by TAU scientists and students compares favorably with all the other academic institutions in Israel. In fact, we rank among the top 50 in the world," he continued. "Our faculty and students establish more than 10 new companies centered on TAU technology every year."
Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, the second largest technology sector in the world, TAU is the innovation hub of the "Start Up Nation." With more than half the 30,000+ student body engaged in multi-disciplinary research, TAU is uniquely positioned as an incubator of groundbreaking ideas.
As a venture capital data provider, PitchBook is largely known for its exhaustive data platform, which includes information on tens of thousands of VC-backed companies, investors, and service providers, including more than 16,000 valuations. Pitchbook's database taps into the educational backgrounds of over 13,000 VC founders worldwide. The list ranks the top 50 universities that produced VC-backed founders on a global basis, and is based on the number of founders that received first-round venture funding between January 1, 2006, and August 15, 2016.
TAU study finds women achieve better results when negotiating on behalf of friends
A new Tel Aviv University study on women in the workplace finds women are as savvy and exacting as their male counterparts when negotiating with or on behalf of friends.
The study was conducted by Dr. Hilla Dotan of TAU's Coller School of Management and Prof. Uta Herbst of Potsdam University in Germany. It will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing.
Dr. Dotan and her team conducted two laboratory studies, which paired 216 MBA students in single-gender teams, some of whom were friends and some of whom were not. The teams engaged in several multi-issue negotiations — concerning pesticide products in one scenario, and airplane engines and parts in another.
"When we looked at the negotiation tactics and outcomes of these young professionals, we found several differences between men and women," said Dr. Dotan. "However, the one condition under which we found no difference between men and women was when women negotiated in teams of friends.
"We found that women negotiate better outcomes when negotiating on behalf of others whom they care about. Men do not exhibit a difference in this respect. What's important for women is the sense of fighting for others, for their friends, for something bigger than themselves."
According to Dr. Dotan, existing research is "disheartening." Men initiate negotiations four times as often as women; women negotiators generally achieve 30% less than their male counterparts; 20% of women do not negotiate at all even when they believe they ought to; and women consider negotiations a chore rather than a pleasure.
"We consistently read that women negotiate lower outcomes than men. But is this really true?" said Prof. Herbst. "We know that women generally behave differently in the workplace. They focus on maintaining relationships and cooperation and fostering harmony, which are ripe circumstances for negotiations. This behavioral aspect and the process of negotiations have commonly been overlooked in existing research."
"Women tend to focus on the process of negotiations and on building relationships and reputations," said Dr. Dotan. "These outcomes may not be seen in the immediate commercial outcomes, but may be observed over time. This difference may indeed explain the differences between the genders and calls on researchers to take a more longitudinal perspective to evaluating negotiation outcomes."
The business benefit of workplace friendships
Dr. Dotan believes that company management would benefit from fostering and encouraging personal relationships at work.
"Women naturally form relationships and these organic friendships shouldn't be touched, because they ultimately prove profitable for the company," said Dr. Dotan. "Companies would also be wise to recruit employees' friends — although we should remember that 'not all friendships are created equal.'"
In prior research Dr. Dotan studied how friendships in organizations impacted various organizational outcomes, including performance. "I found that trust-based friendships are best for individuals and organizations," she said. "We're now studying whether women who form such trust-based friendships and negotiate in teams of friends achieve equal or better commercial outcomes than men."
Dr. Dotan and her colleagues are also currently exploring the implications of friendships among individuals on opposing teams and how they affect negotiation outcomes.
A new TAU study finds talent is less important than passion when it comes to professional success
More than half of working Americans feel disengaged from their jobs, according to Gallup's latest State of the American Workplace poll. Unenthusiastic, uncommitted, and uninvolved, male and female workers alike are now, more than ever before, unlikely to be "doing what they love" at work. Should you pursue your passion or strive toward a secure living?
A new Tel Aviv University study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology finds that the two objectives are not mutually exclusive — in fact, each feeds the other. Young people with strong callings are more likely to take risks, persist, and ultimately get jobs in their chosen fields, satisfying both their personal and professional career needs. The researchers also found that those who exhibit a passion for these interests in their teens are more likely to be successful later on, regardless of their inherent talent.
The research was conducted by by Dr. Daniel Heller of TAU's Recanati School of Business, in collaboration with Dr. Shoshana Dobrow Riza of the London School of Economics.
The head vs. the heart
"Given the economic reality today, people commonly face trade-offs as they make decisions that pit the two sides of careers — the 'heart,' or intrinsic side, and the 'head,' or extrinsic side — against one another," said Dr. Heller, "We wanted to examine people who chose to follow more challenging career paths, such as those in the arts, and assess their chances of 'making it.'"
Dr. Heller and Dr. Riza surveyed some 450 high-school music students at two elite US summer music programs over the course of 11 years (2001-2012) as they developed from adolescents to young adults to professional musicians.
"We found that participants with stronger callings toward music in adolescence were likely to assess their musical abilities more favorably and were more likely to pursue music professionally as adults regardless of actual musical ability," said Dr. Heller.
Even so, difficulties in pursuing their dreams were still evident. According to the study, participants who were involved in music professionally, even at a minimum, earned considerably less (a gap of $12,000 per year on average) than freelancers or amateurs who pursued their musical interests outside of work. But they also reported similar or greater satisfaction with their jobs and lives. For those with strong callings, personal rewards such as satisfaction may matter more than professional rewards such as income.
Weighing the options
"If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognizant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly," said Dr. Heller. "However, we found that, in certain fields, one's drive or passion afforded a competitive advantage over others, even when unrelated to objective ability or talent.
"In general, society benefits from an excess of talented people competing for a limited number of positions in winner-take-all labor markets," Dr. Heller continued. "Individuals who 'win' in this market are exemplary. Although individuals entering this type of market eventually 'lose' in extrinsic terms by definition, they still benefit from intrinsic rewards and garner subjective value and well-being, such as the satisfaction derived from attempting to fulfil their calling, even for a short time."
The researchers are currently examining the implications of career choice on overall wellbeing.
TAU researcher finds incivility has grave consequences for quality of medical care and diagnostic accuracy
Researchers have proven that rudeness — like poison in the water cooler — is toxic in the workplace, affecting both job and business performance. But what if your office is a hospital Intensive Care Unit where lives hang in the balance?
A new Tel Aviv University study published in Pediatrics suggests that even the most benign forms of impoliteness may impede medical personnel's ability to perform under pressure and damage the quality of patient care. Rudeness alone accounts for a significant drop in hospital staff's diagnostic and professional performance, according to research led by Prof. Peter Bamberger of TAU's School of Management. Prof. Bamberger collaborated on the study with Dr. Arieh Riskin, also of TAU's School of Management and the Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa, and Dr. Amir Erez and Trevor Foulk of the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration.
"Relatively benign forms of incivility among medical staff members — simple rudeness — have robust implications on medical team collaboration processes and thus on their performance as a team," said Prof. Bamberger. "This is important because rudeness is rampant in many medical contexts. Patients and their families may be rude to caregivers, and caregivers may be rude to one another."
Dr. Rude and Dr. Nice
For the purpose of the research, 24 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) teams from hospitals around Israel participated in a simulation exercise involving a premature infant suffering from the common but severe medical complication necrotizing enterocolitis (in which bowel tissue disintegrates).
The teams were informed that an expert on team reflexivity from the United States would be observing them by live video throughout the stimulation, occasionally making suggestions over the two-way link. Half of the teams performed in the presence of a "rude" expert, whereas the other half completed their tasks under the watchful gaze of a "neutral" commentator. The expert's rudeness was expressed in a comment made before the team he was observing even got to work: "I've observed a number of groups from other hospitals in Israel, and compared to the participants observed elsewhere in the past, I can't say I'm impressed with the quality of medicine in Israel."
The simulations were videotaped and presented to a team of management experts, who evaluated them based on dimensions of help-seeking and information-sharing behavior among the medical staff, as well as their overall diagnostic and procedural performance. The researchers found that teams exposed to ill-mannered behavior shared less information with (and passed less information on to) each other, and demonstrated poorer diagnostic and procedural performance than those not exposed to rudeness.
A shift in focus
"We hope our findings will shift the focus of research on medical error toward interpersonal interactions and cognition," said Prof. Bamberger. "From a practical perspective, we hope it will call attention to the need to shift behavioral norms in medical contexts."
The researchers are continuing to explore the implications of rudeness in medical situations using other approaches and with an eye to better understanding protective and vulnerability factors.
TAU study finds attractive money managers attract more clients — but are also more likely to disappoint
First impressions are the most important, and that's as true in the business sector as well as anywhere else. But does a good first impression lead to investment success — and for whom?
According to a new study by Dr. Roy Zuckerman of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management, hedge-fund managers who appear "trustworthy" in photographs attract more clients than their more "undependable"-looking counterparts. But their clients also saw lower returns on their investments — rendering them less successful than their less "trustworthy" colleagues.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Ankur Pareek of Rutgers University and published in Social Science Research Network.
"There is no evidence to suggest that perceived trustworthiness predicts actual managerial skill," said Dr. Zuckerman. "On the contrary, we found that the 'trustworthy' managers tended to make less money for investors and more money for themselves by leveraging the way they looked and how they presented themselves. 'Untrustworthy' execs were found to charge lower fees and generate more income for investors and less for themselves."
According to Dr. Zuckerman, personal appearance plays a dominant role in establishing the perceived trustworthiness of a hedge-fund manager. While facial appearance is an important determinant of trustworthiness for all individuals, institutions and high net-worth individuals use face-to-face meetings with hedge fund managers as an important criterion for making investment decisions.
The research used dozens of publicly available photographs of hedge-fund managers found on Google. The pictures were rated for personal characteristics, such as age and attractiveness, by a group of 25-30 subjects in an online survey platform. As part of the survey, respondents were also asked to rate the trustworthiness of the managers on a scale of 1 to 10 based only on their photographs.
"Using this measure of trustworthiness, we attempted to answer two questions: whether perceived manager trustworthiness had an effect on investors' behavior, and whether this effect was rational, i.e., was supported by results," said Dr. Zuckerman.
Investors, look deeper
The study found that the managers characterized as "less trustworthy" by the survey in fact performed much better than their "upright" colleagues. "When hedge funds begin to perform poorly, people are less likely to pull out their investments if their managers appear trustworthy," said Dr. Zuckerman. "But this just should not be the case. All evidence points to the fact that appearance should not matter in hedge fund decisions by investors. Unfortunately, in this study we found that it does."
According to Dr. Zuckerman, investors should avoid the simple mistake of buying into the physical appearance of hedge-fund managers. "Hedge fund investors are usually considered to be highly sophisticated, whether they are large institutions or high net worth individuals, and even they make the simple mistake of relying on the looks of hedge fund managers," said Dr. Zuckerman. "My advice would be to ignore the way a person looks when researching investment opportunities. Ignore your intuition. Focus only on the numbers, look at accounting reports. The idea is to focus on the hard data, and ignore the soft data."
Dr. Zuckerman is currently researching repeat insider-trading offenders.
TAU study finds anxiety-related insomnia depletes vital resources, paving the way for occupational burnout
Terrorist attacks around the world continue to grow in scope and severity. In the aftermath of such attacks, authorities are usually quick to address the needs of victims and their relatives. But what about terrorism's impact on a general public seemingly distant from the scene of attacks — "indirect" victims of terror?
A new Tel Aviv University study, published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, addresses for the first time the direct link between terrorism and increased incidence of job burnout over time. The research, led by Dr. Sharon Toker of TAU's Faculty of Management, in collaboration with Dr. Gregory A. Laurence of the University of Michigan and Dr. Yitzhak Fried of Syracuse University and Texas Tech University, examines how the fear of terrorism can lead to insomnia, a major player in job burnout — the state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. The study suggests that fear of terror should be considered as a major job stressor and it also explores the positive contribution of workplace colleagues in reversing this troubling trend.
"Terror brings the saliency of death into our awareness," said Dr. Toker. "One tends not to be reminded of death on a daily basis, but terrorism every day drives home the idea that one can die at any moment. With terror attacks, there is nothing to be done, and that is really frightening."
The study was conducted in Israel, and the first measurements took place between 2003-2004, the peak of the Second Intifada, during which 550 attempted terrorist acts led to the deaths of 880 civilians. The researchers defined terrorism as a "sudden, rare, violent and destructive event capable of targeting anyone at any time," and characterized job burnout according to physical exhaustion, cognitive weariness, and emotional lethargy.
A random sample of 670 Israeli employees underwent routine checkups at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center as part of the Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey led by Prof. Itzhak Shapira and Prof. Shlomo Berliner, and completed questionnaires to assess the incidence of insomnia, fear of terror, fear for personal safety, tension experienced in public places, level of workplace support, and signs of job burnout. Employees were followed from 2003 to 2009, and completed two additional questionnaires through the duration of the study. This extended follow-up period provided insight into the improvement and/or deterioration of their condition.
"We found that the higher your levels of fear of terror at baseline, the higher your risk of developing insomnia — and those who were more likely to develop insomnia were also most likely to experience job burnout several years later," Dr. Toker says. "Burnout is a direct outcome of depleted resources, so those who consistently don't get enough sleep report job burnout. Interestingly, we found that those who reported support from colleagues — but not managers — developed significantly less insomnia and little incidence of job burnout after several years."
While the researchers found that managerial support was not helpful in assuaging workers' fears of terror, the emotional and technical support provided by colleagues was instrumental in reversing insomnia and resulting job burnout as a result of the fear of terror.
Managers, take heed
But the research still bears a take-home message for those managers, Dr. Toker believes. "A workplace environment that is conducive to a strong social support network has the power to substantially alleviate the effects of fear of terror," she says. "Managers can promote interventions for healthy sleep habits, initiate retreats, and launch employee assistance programs, particularly in peak periods of terrorism. We believe these measures are very productive in alleviating symptoms of worker burnout."
Dr. Toker is currently working on developing interventions aimed at reducing burnout and enhancing well being, as well as identifying barriers to participating in such interventions.
TAU research finds conditions of retirement can lead to substance abuse disorders among older adults
Close to three million Americans aged 55 and older suffer from alcohol abuse — and this figure is expected to reach nearly 6 million by 2020. While alcohol abuse remains prevalent among them, the rate of illicit drug abuse in adults over 50 more than doubled between 2002 and 2013.
Many of the older Americans suffering from substance abuse are retired. But according to Tel Aviv University research, it is not retirement alone that leads to drug and alcohol abuse, but rather a host of circumstances surrounding leaving the work force, which often coincides with painful later-life events such as the death of spouses and friends.
Published in the inaugural issue of Journal of Work, Aging and Retirement, the comprehensive ten-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was conducted by Prof. Peter A. Bamberger of TAU's Faculty of Management and Cornell University's Smithers Institute, and Prof. Samuel B. Bacharach of Cornell University. The two also co-authored Retirement and the Hidden Epidemic (Oxford University Press, 2014), a layman's summary of their many studies on the subject.
More than lack of work
According to the study, older adults often lack the skills required to cope with the sudden vacuum produced by retirement as well as events common to later life — such as deteriorating health and the death of spouses and friends. The research also pointed to the impact of circumstances and conditions of retirement on feelings of depression, purposelessness, and financial strain, which are known to lead to substance abuse.
"We found that the conditions under which people retired — whether they were pushed into it or it was something expected, which they planned for — had great bearing on alcohol and drug habits," said Prof. Bamberger. "The worst combination we found was among people who took early retirement from jobs they loved because they were terrified their companies were going under. Among all groups studied, this one exhibited the highest incidence of substance abuse.
"Our second major finding was that the conditions experienced once in retirement influenced alcohol and drug habits," Prof. Bamberger continued. "Even if an individual plans for retirement, he/she might not fully grasp the changes that must be made to his/her lifestyle. As a result, many people experience serious financial straits. Feeling unstable, lonely, and depressed, it isn't surprising perhaps — but it is unfortunate — that many retirees look to alcohol or drugs for comfort."
The study, conducted as an annual phone-based survey of 1,200 service, construction, and manufacturing workers aged 52-75, also found that retirement can cause marital strain, and this too may precipitate or exacerbate substance misuse or abuse. "Financial strain and marital strain, both potential consequences of retirement, elicited problems with sleep. This in particular explained much of males' misuse of alcohol," said Prof. Bamberger.
A silver lining for the silver years
Much can be done to prevent retirees from bottoming out, including screening and brief interventions aimed at identifying behavioral changes that could lead to substance abuse. "Sometimes awareness alone is enough to bring about positive change," said Prof. Bamberger. "Even short phone calls or brief Internet-based feedback can be so instrumental. The other way of reversing this trend is to provide ways of coping with the stresses of retirement. Retirement groups and mentors are often able to pick up on signs of deterioration before they become a problem."
Prof. Bamberger is currently working on a new NIH-sponsored study examining the alcohol-related consequences of the college-to-work transition among younger people.
Eduniversal awards Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration highest "5 Palmes" accolade, rating it best business program in Israel
Last month Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management — The Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration was ranked the best in Israel; second in Eurasia and the Middle East; and in the same "universal" category as the top business schools around the world, including North America and Western Europe.
Eduniversal, a global ranking and rating agency headquartered in Paris, released its annual ranking of the world's top 1,000 business schools in November, classifying the institutions according to "Palm leagues" of excellence — 5 Palmes (strong global influence), 4 Palmes (significant international influence), 3 Palmes (reinforcing international influence), 2 Palmes (strong regional influence), and 1 Palme (considerable local influence).
TAU's Recanati Business School received 5 Palmes and ranked in the top league as a leading "universal" business school along with Harvard, London Business School, and Yale. It was also rated the top business school in Israel, followed by business programs at Hebrew University (3 Palmes) and University of Haifa (3 Palmes).
Dean of TAU's Faculty of Management Prof. Moshe Zviran said the prestigious ranking was "another acknowledgment of the quality of research, faculty, programs, and worldwide reputation Recanati has enjoyed for years."
World-class entrepreneurship education
"Why did we receive it out of all the Israeli schools? First and foremost, the quality of our research and the quality of our programs, which are geared toward entrepreneurship and innovation," said Prof. Zviran. "In addition, we have a wide global outreach in teaching and research. In teaching, we have more than 100 student exchange programs with leading business schools across the world. In research we host international workshops and conferences in various functional areas, and our faculty members are invited to contribute to international research collaborations and share their knowledge with peers at top schools around the world."
Prof. Zviran added that Recanati is the only business school in Israel that enjoys international accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).
Recanati's MBA program placed 11th out of the top 25 MBA programs in the world for alumni who became successful entrepreneurs, according to a global survey of some 13,000 entrepreneurs conducted last summer by PitchBook, a Seattle-based venture capital research company.
"Being identified with Israel, the Start-Up Nation, we are now restructuring both our local and international MBA programs in entrepreneurship and innovation to adapt to the rapid changes in MBA education and to ensure our global leadership in this area," said Prof. Zviran.
TAU research finds personality traits affect home-buying decisions on both micro and macro levels
Do you consider yourself a conscientious person? Then sign up for a fixed-rate mortgage. Neurotic? You'll probably opt for home ownership over renting.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, personality traits are strong indicators of real-estate decisions. The research, by Dr. Danny Ben-Shahar of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management and doctoral candidate Roni Golan of the Technion Institute of Technology, finds a correlation between personality and individual real estate choices, and a follow-up study by the same team finds an identical link between local personality types in America and statewide real estate trends.
"This research falls within the scope of a much larger discussion in the social sciences in general, and in economics in particular, about what constitutes decision-making: the rational view versus that affected by emotional and cognitive biases," said Dr. Ben-Shahar. "My work shows that people in the real estate framework act 'irrationally,' as economists say, and not according to traditional economic assumptions."
The "Big Five" and home ownership
In their first study, the researchers administered a widely-used personality assessment test called the "Big Five" to a diverse sample of 1,138 respondents. The test asks takers to rate themselves on a scale from 1 to 5 on questions that measure standard personality traits: Openness (artistic, curious, imaginative), Conscientiousness (efficient, organized), Extroversion (sociable, outgoing, energetic), Agreeableness, (forgiving, undemanding) and Neuroticism (tense, discontented).
Once the researchers established the personality types of the respondents, they asked five questions about their real estate preferences — such as the type and duration of a mortgage, whether to rent or buy, and whether to invest in real estate or stocks. The findings were controlled for a series of variables including, among others, level of education, homeownership, age, gender, and income.
The results showed a clear link between personality and real estate decisions. Neurotic people, for example, prefer homeownership over renting. When they do buy, they opt for a mortgage with a lower "loan-to-value" (LTV) ratio, which means the loan amount is low compared to the price of the home.
"It turns out, not surprisingly to psychologists and behavioral economists perhaps, that there are very significant correlations between personality traits and preferences in real estate," said Dr. Ben-Shahar.
In the follow-up study, Dr. Ben-Shahar examined the results of the Big Five personality test with respect to a much larger sample of 1.6 million Americans. By matching predominant "personality types" of US states with housing data from the US Census and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the team found that here, too, personality was associated with real estate choices. The so-called "personality" of a state was defined by previous studies in which researchers averaged the responses of individuals on the Big Five test for each state.
The neurotic state of New York, for example, tended to choose lower loan-to-value ratios on mortgages, whereas states with relatively high marks for openness, like South Carolina, leaned toward a relatively greater share of fixed-rate mortgages. Vermont, on the other hand, scored relatively highly on openness and tended to choose lower LTVs. "While not every state's real estate profile lined up exactly with its predominant personality, we saw the macro level reflect trends detected at the micro level," Dr. Ben-Shahar said.
Dr. Ben-Shahar is currently working on other models of non-rational decision making in the real estate market.
TAU joins Stanford, UC Berkeley, and MIT on global VC database list
Tel Aviv University ranked ninth in the master list of global universities producing the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs. In the August/September edition of the venture capital database Pitchbook's VC Monthly, TAU vaulted to the number nine spot, ahead of Ivy League universities Yale (#11), Princeton (#17), and Columbia (#19).
The prestigious list is topped by Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell, but also includes the Indian Institute of Technology, the first non-U.S. university to make the top ten.
TAU's emergence comes as no surprise. Over the last several years, Israel has emerged as a technology epicenter and a hub for VC investment. In the last five years, TAU is one of only 19 universities whose alumni garner a combined total of $1 billion or more in venture capital financing. Two other Israeli colleges made the top 50 — the Technion (#19) and Hebrew University (#37).
As a venture capital data provider, PitchBook is largely known for its exhaustive data platform, which includes information on tens of thousands of VC-backed companies, investors, and service providers, including more than 16,000 valuations. Pitchbook's database taps into the educational backgrounds of over 13,000 VC founders worldwide. The new and expanded list ranks the top 50 universities that produced VC-backed founders on a global basis, and is based on the number of founders that received VC funding from 2009 through the end of July 2014.
For the list and more, read the article in Pitchbook's VC Monthly:
TAU study finds police more inclined to issue arrests when prisons have administrative responsibility for detainees
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court forced California to deal with the massive overcrowding in its prison system. The resulting reform shifted administrative and budgetary responsibility for low-level criminals from the state prison system to county jails. As a result, local California jails now face more overcrowding than ever, and local law enforcement is saddled with additional costs for imprisoning arrestees.
A new study evaluating the exact opposite reform in Israel, published in the Journal of Public Economics, offers insight into the long-term impact of the California experiment. In their research, Dr. Itai Ater of Tel Aviv University's Recanati Business School, Dr. Yehonatan Givati of Hebrew University, and Dr. Oren Rigbi of Ben-Gurion University examined the impact of transferring authority over jails from the police to the Prison Authority made on arrests and crime in Israel.
According to the study, crime dropped as a result of the reform largely because the police — feeling less budgetary pressure — felt free to arrest more suspects, many of whom would have gotten off in the past with a warning. Based on the results of the study, Dr. Ater predicts that the California reform may result in an increase in the crime rate.
Basing their study on Israel Police data, the researchers evaluated every criminal arrest in Israel between September 2006 and September 2009: a total of 153,960 arrests and 95,521 arrestees. In addition to the arrest data, the researchers analyzed each of the nearly 834,000 crimes reported to the police during the same time period.
Between April 2007 and January 2008, control over jails in Israel was transferred from police departments to the Prison Authority. Police officers who manned the jails and budgets associated with the jails also became the responsibility of the Prison Authority. This transfer took place gradually, region by region, allowing Dr. Ater and the researchers to identify arrest and crime trends.
Once police departments no longer bore responsibility for arrestees' room and board, arrests went up by about 11 percent, Dr. Ater says. Arrestees were also held for longer periods of time, even though the newly added captives were arrested for less serious crimes.
Feeling less pressure on their budgets, police departments started arresting not only those suspected of lesser crimes, they also started arresting people less likely to be charged at all in the end. But some of the new arrests were valid, and reported crime dropped by 4 percent after the reform.
Beyond the jails
"Though we focus on law enforcement agencies in this paper, we believe that there are other settings, characterized by comparable underlying forces, to which our findings might apply," said Dr. Ater. "In a hospital, for instance, bottlenecks are likely to occur at the interface between the emergency department and internal wards, because the decision whether to accept a patient into the ward is subject to the ward's approval. Our study can help provide insight into many fields grappling with the same budgetary issues.
"It's true that unfortunately the reform has seen an increase in innocent people being charged — because more arrests automatically means more faulty arrests," said Dr. Ater. "But the trade-off has had a generally positive outcome in lowering crime rates."
But what does all this suggest for California, where control over prisons shifted in the other direction, closer to local law enforcement?
"Using the same logic of organizational responsibility from the case in Israel, the shift in California will likely lead to fewer arrests, reducing budgetary pressures to be sure," said Dr. Ater. "However, it may also result in an increase in crime rates."
Dr. Ater is continuing to study the link between police incentives, police activity, and crime.
Shifting images in advertisements can create a negative feeling about a product, says TAU researcher
Television commercials for luxury vehicles pack a lot in their 30-second running times: the camera offers quick shots of the soft leather upholstery, the shiny colors, the state-of-the-art entertainment system, and the four-wheel drive. But these multiple angles and shifting perspectives have a negative impact on consumer evaluation of products, according to a new study from a Tel Aviv University researcher.
Dr. Yael Steinhart of TAU's Recanati Business School and her collaborators Yuwei Jiang of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Rashmi Adaval of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Robert S. Wyer Jr. of Chinese University of Hong Kong say that multiple angles and perspectives in commercials may actually prevent consumers from forming positive associations about the products. The researchers found this to be particularly true for consumers who imagine using the products themselves in the course of evaluating them, according to the study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
"We have shown through four different studies that the perspective shift has a negative effect when consumers conjure personal narratives about the advertised product," said Dr. Steinhart. "On the other hand, the effect of perspective shift may be positive if consumers are only intent on collecting information about the advertised product."
Keeping it simple
Over a thousand people took part in four separate studies conducted in Hong Kong and the US. Using questionnaires, an eye-tracking system, and a memory-based cognitive study, the researchers measured distinct responses to ads featuring pictures from both similar and multiple angles. They then analyzed the impact of these responses on product evaluation.
In one study, participants were asked to view an ad for a resort hotel and to form a story about their own experience at the resort. There were two type of ads — each consisting of four photos. In one type of ads the images were from the same perspective, and in the other the images were from multiple angles. Participants who viewed the photos from different perspectives expressed more difficulty in conjuring a narrative and were also more likely to form a negative impression of the resort.
"There are practical implications for this research," said Dr. Steinhart. "Marketers want to provide as much information as possible about a product, but we have shown that the default strategy of consumers is to construct a personal narrative when forming their evaluation, and too much information from multiple perspectives may backfire."
"The best thing a company can do is allow the consumer to imagine himself in a scene with the product, without providing too much distracting stimuli — or information from too many perspectives," Dr. Steinhart advised. "The consumer finds it too difficult to move from one perspective to another, remembers less about the product and — ultimately — likes the product less."
Dr. Steinhart, an expert on consumer psychology, is currently working on various research projects, such as the effect of "brand arrogance," possible biases in financial decisions, and the tendency of early adopters to "share" and "scare" others about the innovations they adopt.
TAU research shows women experience more stress at work than their male counterparts
It's universally acknowledged that a gender gap exists in workplace salaries — but a new study from Tel Aviv University shows that it's not only money that's distributed unfairly.
TAU's Prof. Haya Stier and University of Haifa's Prof. Meir Yaish found that women's jobs not only pay less — they're more stressful as well. Women in industrialized countries lagged behind men in most elements of job quality. Women surveyed reported a lack of upward mobility, flexibility, and job security, adding insult to economic injury. The study was recently published in Work, Employment and Society.
"That women are paid less than men is well known. The study shows that in addition to lower wages and fewer opportunities for promotion, their jobs are also more stressful," said Prof. Stier. "We further argue that gender inequality is even higher in those occupations that demand higher education."
Researchers drew on data from the International Social Survey Programme, eliciting responses about work life from 8,500 men and 9,000 women in 27 industrialized countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, Israel, and Australia. According to the researchers, the gender gap in job quality tends to narrow as the number of women in the occupation rises, so moving more women into male-dominated fields could help redress the imbalance of women's workplace problems.
"We show that in many cases gender inequality declines in women-dominated jobs, so by choosing these occupations they minimize these penalties," said Prof. Stier.
For more, see the Huffington Post story:
TAU research finds that current practices "downsize diversity"
Research from Prof. Alexandra Kalev of Tel Aviv University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology reveals that current workplace downsizing policies are reducing managerial diversity and increasing racial and gender inequalities. According to the study, layoff practices focusing on positions and tenure, rather than worker performance, minimized the share of white women in management positions by 25 percent and of black men by 20 percent. Prof. Kalev found that a striking two-thirds of the companies surveyed used tenure or position as their core criteria for downsizing.
The study, published in the most recent issue of the American Sociological Review, was based on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data compiled between 1980 and 2002, as well as data collected from a survey of 327 private US-based companies. Prof. Kalev, together with Prof. Frank Dobbin of Harvard University, is currently using all EEOC data to date to examine the effect of workforce diversity on corporate financial performance. "This study is a wake-up call," said Prof. Kalev. "Downsizing is increasingly done in ways that hit managerial diversity hardest, and practices that help protect diversity have become less and less common. Most diversity programs in place today are based on 'best practices', not on best data, which appear to undermine efforts at managerial diversity."
The law of unintended consequences?
Prof. Kalev's statistics-based study, one of the first of its kind, found that American corporations were losing managerial diversity in downsizing — at times even without their knowledge. Companies have formalized downsizing procedures to make them transparent and fair but by relying on position- or tenure-based rules for downsizing, they wiped out positions typically held by women or minorities.
"There has been little to no attention to the fact that women and minorities bear more of the risk and disproportionately lose their managerial jobs," said Prof. Kalev. "American corporations are investing a lot of effort in increasing managerial diversity, and they are not always aware that they are losing that diversity in position- or tenure-based downsizing."
Mining the data for evidence
The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in the US on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. What followed, however, were several decades of experiments with "compliance" on the part of human resources departments. In 1965, the EEOC was established to monitor the representation and promotion of minorities and women in the workplace. But the research potential of EEOC-collected data was only fully utilized decades later, and companies were often left to define for themselves what constituted fair and equal treatment.
According to Prof. Kalev, employment practices in the US are not research-driven and instead follow the country's shifting political map. The 1970s were considered a "decade of enforcement," in which Supreme Court decisions and high enforcement budgets kept companies on their toes. This period saw the most significant gains in diversity to date.
The 1980s, however, ushered in an era of free market rule, brandishing a policy of small government and big economy. A period of weak enforcement ensued, and equal opportunity managers and affirmative action officers rebranded themselves as "diversity management," a new industry that made the "business case" for diversity. Their argument was that a more diverse workforce would boost creativity and innovation and expand a given company's customer base, making it that much more profitable.
The knowledge to act
"We have come full circle," said Prof. Kalev. "Starting with government issuing a law, then industry organically defining compliance for itself, then back to government accepting industry-defined compliance as evidence of non-discrimination — all this without ever using an evidence-based approach to diversity management."
But according to Prof. Kalev, there is a bright side to the story. With the right tools in their toolbox and the knowledge to support more equitable practices, human resources departments and diversity committees can make a major contribution to workplace equality. "We found that when managers become aware of the disproportionate impact of their layoff decisions, they make every effort to keep women and minorities on board," said Prof. Kalev. "Executives can make a difference if they are motivated and have the knowledge to do so."
Prof. Kalev's study was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Together with Prof. Dobbin, Prof. Kalev is currently conducting a survey of 1,000 universities in the U.S. to examine the effect of personnel structures on faculty diversity.
TAU researcher finds that "pay secrecy" discourages employees from improving their job performance.
Just as she was about to retire, Lily Ledbetter, a production supervisor at an Alabama tire plant, learned that her employers had financially discriminated against her throughout her career. She filed suit for pay discrimination, losing due to a statute of limitations on equal-pay suits. As a result, President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law in 2009, drawing attention to the effects of pay secrecy on the workplace.
Now Prof. Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University's Recanati School of Business and Dr. Elena Belogolovsky of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations have published a study that explains why pay secrecy is likely to hurt an individual's work performance and prompt top talent to seek new employment. They conclude that pay secrecy weakens the perception by employees that a performance improvement will be accompanied by a pay increase. It also finds that high-performing workers are more sensitive than others when they perceive no link between performance and pay — suggesting that pay secrecy could limit a company's ability to retain top talent.
The study was recently published by the Academy of Management Journal.
The more secrecy, the worse performance
"We found only a negative effect of secrecy on individual worker performance," said Prof. Bamberger, who has been studying human resources compensation strategies for over 10 years. "But there are many different variables in pay transparency, and we wanted to study several variables in one experiment."
In that experiment, 280 Israeli undergraduates were paid a base fee to play a computer game for one hour. Half of the participants were told the amount of the bonus they and their peers would earn, but the other half were informed only about their own bonuses; the latter group was also asked not to discuss wages during breaks in the game. By measuring performance and peer-perception repeatedly over several performance rounds, Prof. Bamberger and Dr. Belogolovsky were able to reach conclusions about the effect of pay secrecy on performance.
"Secrecy has a negative effect on worker performance, but not for the obvious reasons," said Prof. Bamberger. "Trust and fairness may be part of it, but we found from our experiment that most of the effect is explained by a reduction in the perceived expectation of additional pay for better performance — for trying harder."
Little reward for working harder
Part of the basis for their research was a finding from earlier studies that participants who are unaware of what their peers earn tend to underestimate how much successful performers earn, while overestimating how little poor performers earn. "When the economic gap is imagined to be so minimal between good and bad performers, the employee thinks that working harder just isn't worth the effort," said Prof. Bamberger.
Pay secrecy can have negative ramifications on companies, which — as a result of undisclosed pay scales — have to contend with decreased worker performance and increased turnover, Prof. Bamberger says. "Companies don't value pay transparency, because it's thought to weaken overall efficiency. There are no shortcuts in transparency. For example, you can’t pay bonuses on the side to secure valued employees who are threatening to leave."
Prof. Bamberger is currently working with colleagues in other countries and using other approaches to better understand the consequences of transparency in pay systems.
TAU research shows that some warning labels can make products like cigarettes more appealing
Many products, like cigarettes and medications, are stamped with warning labels alerting consumers to their risks. Common sense suggests these warnings will encourage safer choices.
But now Dr. Yael Steinhart of Tel Aviv University's Recanati Business School, along withProf. Ziv Carmon of INSEAD in Singapore and Prof. Yaacov Trope of New York University, has shown that warning labels can actually have the opposite effect. When there is a time lag between reading a warning and then buying, consuming, or evaluating the associated products, the warnings may encourage trust in the manufacturers of potentially dangerous products, making them less threatening. Published in Psychological Science, the study findings could help improve the efficacy of warning labels.
"We showed that warnings may immediately increase concern and decrease consumption," said Dr. Steinhart. "But over time, they paradoxically promote trust in a product and consequently lead to more positive product evaluation and more actual purchases." The findings have important implications for regulators and managers in fields including consumer products, healthcare, and finance.
The best laid plans
The study is based on an idea called "the construal-level theory" (CLT), developed by Prof. Trope and Prof. Nira Liberman of TAU's School of Psychological Sciences. When thinking about objects over a period of time, people tend to construe them abstractly, emphasizing what they describe as "high-level features" and suppressing "low-level features." The high-level feature of warning labels is that they build trust in consumers by creating the impression that all the relevant information about the products is being presented. The low-level feature of warning labels is that they make consumers more aware of the products' negative side effects.
The CLT holds that over long periods of time, consumers deemphasize side effects and emphasize the feeling of trust communicated by warnings over time. Ironically, this may increase the purchase, consumption, and assessment of the associated products.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
To test this prediction, the researchers ran a series of experiments. In one experiment, they showed smokers one of two ads for an unfamiliar brand of cigarettes: either with or without a health warning. When smokers were told the cigarettes would arrive the next day, the warning worked — decreasing the number of cigarettes purchased by an average of 75 percent compared to a group that was not shown the warning. But when smokers were told the cigarettes would arrive in three months, the warning backfired — the number of cigarettes purchased increased by an average of 493 percent compared to a group that was not shown the warning.
In another experiment, the researchers showed women ads for an artificial sweetener, again either with or without a health warning. When women were given the chance to order the sweetener right away, the warning worked — decreasing the packages of sweetener ordered by an average of 94 percent compared to a group that was not shown the warning. But when women were given the chance to order the sweetener just two weeks later, purchases increased by 265 percent compared to a group that was not shown the warning.
Consumer entities that want to minimize the deterrent effects of warnings would be better off building in a delay of some sort than burying the warnings in fine print, the researchers say. But those who genuinely want to inform customers of risks should ensure warnings are seen, or repeated, shortly before products are bought or consumed.
TAU and USAID program brings together Palestinian executives and top Israeli business minds
This semester, Tel Aviv University inaugurated a pioneering business development program aimed at Palestinian executives, designed jointly by LAHAV Executive Education, and Kellogg-Recanati Executive MBA program at TAU's Recanati Business School with USAID. Addressing the unique challenges facing Palestinian high-tech companies, the 12-day course gave participants the tools to effectively manage their business, court foreign funding, and break into international markets.
Mustafa Deeb, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector lead at USAID's Compete Project and a graduate of the Kellogg-Recanati EMBA program, says that this innovative course was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. "For just over 30 slots, we received more than 90 applications – a clear indication of the high demand for this type of programming," he adds.
Top academics from Israel and the US and leaders in the fields of high-tech and venture capitalism shared their expertise on topics including software entrepreneurship, international marketing and business management, technology markets, negotiation strategy, and more.
The organizers believe that this unique initiative can bring a much-needed boost to the Palestinian economy. "The Palestinian private sector has many companies that serve their local market, but only a few in the regional or international markets. Since Palestinian companies are typically either family-owned or led by engineers, their executives need to develop proper business skills to penetrate the complicated international marketplace," says Deeb.
Finding common ground
In selecting a host for the project, USAID wanted a university program that not only offers outstanding academics but also brings international expertise and top managers from technology-driven companies to share their knowledge and international experience with the participants. Having graduated more than 50 Palestinian Executive MBA students over the last 17 years and boasting a top world ranking, the Kellogg-Recanati program was a natural fit. The additional involvement and expertise of LAHAV, the executive education unit at the Faculty of Management, made TAU the ideal home for such an ambitious project.
Combining academic theory and on-the-ground experience, LAHAV has 45 years of experience building executive education programs to suit a variety of sectors and audiences around the world, says LAHAV's CEO Udi Aharoni. But they have never before had the opportunity to work with their neighbors.
"At the end of the day, every manager understands similar concepts and vocabulary of business, putting aside cultural, religious, or political issues," Aharoni says. "From our point of view, this is the first stone in a long bridge to business collaboration." Lecturers, guest speakers. and participants continue to be in touch outside of class, he says proudly, which contributes towards the program's goal of facilitating a network of Palestinian business leaders with ties to the Israeli market.
Dr. Itay Kama of TAU's Faculty of Management, who was one of the lecturers during this session, calls this one of the most important programs he has been involved with. A teacher of financial accounting who believes that the language of numbers transcends boundaries, he thinks this program has similarly allowed Israelis and Palestinians to engage in a common dialogue. "If we are going to have a better future, based on peace and understanding, then we must learn to communicate," he says.
Forging a new way forward
Participants have been inspired by this unique experience and are enthusiastically recommending their colleagues for future sessions. "The topics we addressed and our guest speakers were extraordinarily relevant to their businesses and the issues that they encounter on a day-to-day basis," notes Denis Gallagher, Director of USAID's Compete project.
On the heels of such success, the organizers are hoping to design courses for Palestinians dedicated to professionals in a variety of fields, including commercial agriculture and tourism. Aharoni acknowledges the strong support of USAID for its significant role in this initiative.
Powerful people feel freer to be their authentic selves, TAU researchers find
Television characters from mob boss Tony Soprano to 30 Rock's Liz Lemon suggest that power is a gateway to loneliness, corruption, and unhappiness. But new findings from two Tel Aviv University researchers are challenging this perception.
In a quest to discover whether power inevitably brings misery and emotional devastation, PhD candidate Yona Kifer and her supervisor Prof. Daniel Heller of TAU's Department of Organizational Behavior at the Faculty of Management have shown that power can actually make people happier. In their study, published in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers found that a sense of power led to a heightened sense of well-being, and that one of the reasons for this effect is that power increases "authenticity"—the extent to which people feel they are being true to their deepest desires.
Overall, those who felt more powerful in their lives described themselves as 16 percent more content than those who did not. The effect was the most pronounced in the workplace, where those who reported having more power at work were 26 percent more satisfied at their workplace than lower-power colleagues. These findings reveal an interesting paradox, notes Kifer. While the pursuit of power has been found to reduce happiness, possessing power actually increases it.
Embracing your "true self"
Despite the prevailing notion that power leads to misery and alienation from the self, the researchers hypothesized that in reality, those who are powerful have the ability to live their lives more authentically—appeasing their internal desires and inclinations—and can therefore be happier.
In a set of three studies, they surveyed 600 participants about the effect of power on feelings of authenticity and well-being, both generally and in specific contexts such as work and personal relationships. The results showed that the possession of power leads people to be more authentic and true to themselves, allowing their actions to reflect their own beliefs and desires.
This effect was stronger in the context of the workplace than in a person's personal relationships, Kifer adds. The researchers believe this may be due to the different nature of the social relationships in each environment. Whereas work relationships are typically formed within the hierarchical structure of the workplace, personal relationships—whether with a romantic partner or friend — are usually based on mutual affection, meaning that power plays less of a defining role.
These findings can be a valuable tool for managers who wish to boost employee morale. "In organizations, giving people a sense of power can dramatically improve job satisfaction, which is linked to improved performance," Kifer advises. This can also have a positive impact on creativity. If an employee feels more authentic, they may be less guided by expectations and mainstream norms, and more willing to think outside the box.
Cross-cultural concepts of power
The researchers hope to expand on the study by exploring the impact of power in other cultures. Of particular interest is the East Asian culture, where power has different connotations. Whereas Western cultures are individualistic and glorify independence and self-actualization, East Asians are typically more collectivistic, Kifer explains. The researchers hope to discover whether the happiness associated with power is more common in individualistic cultures.
In addition, Kifer believes that it is important to look at whether the type of power a person exerts can make a difference in terms of happiness. One question is whether people are happier if their power is exerted through positive means, such as charisma, rather than negative means, such as physical punishment.
This work was done in collaboration with Prof. Wei Qi Elaine Perunovic of the University of New Brunswick, and Prof. Adam D. Galinsky of Columbia University.