2013 Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper

The Illusions of Power

Dr. Murad Mithani, Assistant  Professor, Howe School received the 2013 Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award. The Pondy Award winner was announced at the OMT Business Meeting during the Academy of Management Annual Meeting which was held in Orlando, Florida in August 2013.

This paper examines the effects of performance feedback and slack on the dominant coalition’s control of organizational choices. I contend that organizational influence is shaped by the forces of anticipation and satiation. Performance below the aspiration level undermines the capacity of the dominant coalition to influence the internal environment. When performance improves and the threats to survival abate, control of the dominant coalition is reinforced. However, slack and the absence of external threats can also provide a fertile breeding ground for the pursuit of self-interest by competing coalitions, thereby limiting the extent to which strong performance reinforces control. Using a multi-industry panel of 809 firms from S&P 1500 between 1992 and 2008, my empirical results confirm that the control of the dominant coalition is sensitive to changes in performance relative to aspirations, and that the erosion effect of performance shortfalls is much stronger than the reinforcement effect of performance surpluses. Furthermore, unabsorbed and potential slack increase the control of the dominant coalition, but absorbed slack, which helps give rise to experimentation, actually decreases the dominant coalition’s control.

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About the Academy of Management  

Management professors attended an organizational meeting in Chicago on December 28, 1936, they agreed that the new organization should be called the Academy of Management. Future annual meetings were to be used for exploring the organization's purpose and presenting and discussing scholarly papers. Today the AOM's vision and mission are stated —

Vision: We inspire and enable a better world through our scholarship and teaching about management and organizations.

Mission: To build a vibrant and supportive community of scholars by markedly expanding opportunities to connect and explore ideas.

The annual meeting includes recognizing best papers — one such is the Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award which recognizes the best paper based on a dissertation. To be eligible, the paper must be individually authored by the student. All manuscripts are sent out for anonymous review and rating.