Research

My research agenda focuses on how the external institutional environment affects firm strategy and firm performance. To excel, firms must not only develop effective market strategies that address their competitors and customers but also non-market strategies appropriate to their broader surroundings. Organizations such as rating and certification agencies, regulatory and standard-setting bodies, industry associations, and political parties can have widespread impact on firms and are also strategic actors in their own right. The diversity of these organizations provides a rich setting in which to build a research program that offers insight to firms, as well as policy makers and other stakeholders.

Marijuana Industry – I have begun a new research stream examining the nascent marijuana industry in Colorado and beyond. To date I have published a teaching case on the subject in Case Research Journal, “Medical Marijuana Industry Group: Outdoor Advertising in Denver“, organized an industry panel at the April 2015 Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference, organized an academic symposium that took place in August at the 2015 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC (with my Daniels colleague Aimee Hamilton) as well as organized a pre-conference workshop held on Oct. 2, 2015 prior to the 2015 Strategic Management Society (SMS) Conference in Denver, CO (with Eva Xio and Josh Keller) as well as a Showcase Symposium at the same SMS conference.

My Research Statement

Future Projects and Data Sources
As an applied researcher, gaining access to firm and industry data is a critical step in the research process. I am always interested in new research projects and data sources, particularly those related to ratings, rankings, industry associations, regulation/policy, standards and politics. Contact me at any time!

I am in the process of building the most comprehensive database of information on Colorado’s marijuana industry including information on owners, locations, and licenses. This database will be useful and valuable for both academic research as well as drawing practical implications for for firm strategy and policy.

Dissertation Research
In my dissertation research, I examined differences in ratings among raters with different business models (some paid by buyers and others by sellers) who are rating the same product. Theoretically, payment for ratings could generate a conflict of interest that biases rating agency decisions or could be counterbalanced by reputational rewards for rating accuracy. I move beyond the common assumption that seller-paid ratings will be upwardly biased relative to buyer-paid ratings and propose that ‘who pays’ will have a clear impact on the variability and timeliness of rating changes. I conduct my empirical evaluation in the U.S. credit rating market where some agencies derive their primary revenue from bond issuers (sellers) and others from institutional investors (buyers). The financial crisis of 2007-2010 provides a negative informational shock that I use to help me distinguish between conflict of interest and other mechanisms leading to rating differences. Seller-paid agencies are slower to incorporate this negative information, particularly where the potential for conflict of interest is strongest, for financial services ratings and for ratings above the critical investment grade cut-off. Buyer-paid rating changes are more frequent and generally precede corresponding seller-paid changes, consistent with the preferences of each business model’s paying customers.

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