I am a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School, researching social capital formation in the context of entrepreneurship and the cultural dynamics that influence this process. In my dissertation, I study how cultural frames affect the formation of social capital among micro-entrepreneurs in Togo. Through a field experiment, I provide evidence that interaction frames affect the formation of entrepreneurs’ social networks, in terms of size, composition, and performance implications. This research is supported by the Kauffman Foundation and the Strategic Management Society. Before joining the doctoral program, I worked as a research associate at Harvard Business School with Professor Julie Battilana. Earlier on, I graduated from Oxford University with an M.Phil. in economics and prior to that I received a B.A. in economics and interactional development from McGill University.
How socialization into reciprocity frames leads to entrepreneurial social capital: A field experiment with micro-entrepreneurs in Togo
Job market paper
In this paper I study how framing processes affect the formation of social capital for micro-entrepreneurs. Building on insights from social exchange theory, I argue that framing potential interactions as reciprocal exchanges will increase the number of interactions among micro-entrepreneurs and that these interactions will be characterized by attempts to provide advice. These reciprocity interactions create a foundation for micro-entrepreneurs to learn about each other, which in turn facilitates the formation of social relationships and social capital for micro-entrepreneurs. To test this theory, I ran a field experiment with 321 micro-entrepreneurs in Lomé, the capital of Togo, a context where interactions among entrepreneurs are particularly risky. Results from the field experiment show that socializing groups of micro-entrepreneurs into reciprocity frames leads to the formation of more ties among micro-entrepreneurs and that these ties are directed at micro-entrepreneurs with complementary skill sets. Moreover, the formation of ties under reciprocity frames leads to higher profits for micro-entrepreneurs’ businesses. Overall, this study helps unpack the process by which interaction frames affect tie formation and the accumulation of social capital by micro-entrepreneurs. As a result, it makes contributions to the literatures on social capital and entrepreneurship, framing and network formation, as well as the study of unstable institutional environments.
Blurring the Boundaries Between the Social and Commercial Sectors: The Interplay of Gender and Local Communities in the Commercialization of Social Ventures
Organization Science (2017)
This paper examines the critical role of gender in the commercialization of social ventures. We argue that cultural beliefs about what is perceived to be appropriate work for each gender influence how founders of social ventures incorporate commercial activity into their ventures. Specifically, we argue and show that, although cultural beliefs that disassociate women from commercial activity may result in female social venture founders being less likely to use commercial activity than their male counterparts, these effects are moderated by cultural beliefs about gender and commercial activity within founders’ local communities. The presence of female business owners in the same community mitigates the role of founders’ gender on the use of commercial activity. We examine these issues through a novel sample of 584 social ventures in the U.S. We constructively replicate and extend these findings with a supplementary analysis of a second sample, the full population of new non-profit organizations founded during a two-year period in the U.S (n = 31,160). By highlighting how gendered aspects of both the social and commercial sectors interact to shape the use of commercial activity by social venture founders, our findings contribute to research on hybrid organizations in the social sector, communities as a context for the enactment of gender, and the enactment of gender in entrepreneurship.