STI Awards Research Grants to Five New IESE-Led Projects

30 Aug 2021

The 2021-22 academic year will be the second in which STI offers direct financial support to research projects led by IESE professors.

In the spirit of cooperation laid out in the June 2018 agreement between the Social Trends Institute and IESE Business School, the two institutions launched in May 2021 their second annual joint call for proposals for original scholarly investigations led by IESE faculty. STI, with guidance from IESE’s Research Division, chose five projects with the potential to foster new understanding of globally significant social trends – STI’s foundational purpose.

The following projects (in alphabetical order by lead researcher) will benefit from STI’s financial and institutional support during the 2021-22 academic year.

Marta Elvira, Professor of Strategic Management & Managing People in Organizations and Chair of Family-Owned Business has received the grant in support of the project “Family-firm Governance vis-à-vis Employee and Environment Orientation.” She will be aided in her research by IESE Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Jeroen Neckebrouck, and by post-doctoral researcher Sumeet Malik.

The project will encompass two studies: ‘Family Firms and Employees’; and ‘Family Firms and Environment’, that aim to increase current understanding about family firms’ care for nonfamily stakeholders by investigating specifically family firms’ orientation towards employees and the environment. This research will inform managers regarding crisis management and policymakers about the particular family firm characteristics that lead to better outcomes.

Núria Mas, Professor and Head of IESE’s Economics Department and holder of the Jaime Grego Chair of Healthcare Management, will lead the “Dual Practice of Physicians Working in Both Public and Private Hospitals:  Impact on Health Outcomes” project. Her research team includes two researchers from MIT (Professor Jon Gruber and doctoral candidate Jaume Vives) and University of Barcelona Professor Judit Valls Castellló.

The project will address a key policy question in health economics: the impact on population health, access, physicians’ labor supply and equity of public doctors being allowed to work also at the private sector. It aims to provide the first causality analysis of the implementation of income incentives for doctors to work exclusively in the public sector on the supply of physicians and the health of the population.

Gaizka Ormazabal, Associate Professor of Accounting and Control, and Grupo Santander Chair of Financial Institutions and Corporate Governance, will carry out a study entitled "Regulating Sustainability Reporting to Achieve Net-Zero Emissions by 2050,” with the aid of IESE team Pietro Bonetti, Igor Kadach, Fernando Peñalba, and Robert Raney.

Corporate reporting is at the center of the current debate on how to curb carbon emissions. Nonetheless, the financial information traditionally provided by firms is deemed insufficient to understand the impact of corporate activities on the environment. As governmental and civil entities work to regulate sustainability reporting, they face important challenges. What kind of (non-financial) information should firms be required to disclose? How can sustainability reporting standards be enforced? And what will the “real effects” of disclosure regulation have on companies?

As standards that will become mandatory in the EU in the next years are being developed, academic research like this should help in the urgent task of developing rules that are based on sound economic logic and rigorous evidence.

Anna Sáez de Tejada Cuenca, Assistant Professor of Production, Technology and Operations Management, will study “Crossovers between Sustainability Dimensions of Fashion Products: From Consumers’ Perceptions to Reality.” Her objective is to study whether a crossover effect exists between different dimensions of sustainability, both in consumers’ perceptions and in reality.

Do consumers believe that clothes with an environmental sustainability attribute (e.g., organic cotton or recycled fibers) are more likely to have been produced in safe, compliant factories, and vice versa? Are fashion products that are sustainable in one dimension (e.g., made with organic cotton) actually sustainable in other dimensions (e.g., made in a compliant factory)? Answering these questions with solid data will serve both to help retailers market their products more effectively and to reduce corporate greenwashing.

Professor of Strategic Management Giovanni Valentini’s project, “Politicization, Mass Media, and the Direction of Science and Technology,” includes an IESE team formed by Strategic Management Department colleague Professor Bruno Cassiman and PhD candidate Giacomo Marchesini.

The project will shed light on the ways divergent incentives and frictions can create distortion and misallocation of resources in science and technology, favoring some scientific areas and penalizing others, pursuing directions that might not necessarily be the best for society and welfare. The project seeks to highlight in particular how the dependence of science on public funding and resources requires it to compete for public attention, exposing scientific research to media spotlight and politicization.

Promoting and disseminating pioneering academic research is among the objectives shared by The Social Trends Institute and IESE Business School, to which STI is very pleased to contribute. STI extends to all the grant recipients its thanks in advance for their work.