Area of Expertise
- Business and Sustainability
- Emerging Economies
- Entrepreneurial Studies
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Social Innovation
- Social Organization
My primary research interests involve social entrepreneurship and innovation on the part of for-profit and nonprofit organizations, principally within the context of poverty alleviation efforts in least-developed markets. My projects are often action-oriented in nature in that they are phenomenologically driven, and involve field quasi-experimentation coupled with qualitative methodologies.
2018 Winner of Seymour Schulich Teaching Excellence Award for undergraduate level business students, 2018-2019 - Kistruck, G.
2017 AMA 2017 Gerald E. Hills Award for best paper on entrepreneurial marketing – Webb, J., Ireland, D, Hitt, M., Kistruck, G. , and Tihanyi, L., “Where is the Opportunity without the Customer? An integration of Marketing Activities, the Entrepreneurship Process, and Institutional Theory”
2017 Finalist for Academy of Management 2017 Carolyn Dexter Award for all-academy best international paper – Slade-Shantz, A., Kistruck, G., and Zietsma, C., “The Opportunity not Taken: Entrepreneurship as an Occupational Identity in Contexts of Poverty”
2016 Winner of Academy of Management Journal, Best Reviewer Award
2016 Winner of Seymour Schulich Teaching Excellence Award for undergraduate level business students
2014 Winner of Academy of Management 2014 Carolyn Dexter Award for all-academy best international paper – Kistruck, G., Lount, R., Smith, B., Bergman, B., and Moss, T. “Competition vs. Cooperation: Motivating Groups in Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets”
2011 Winner of Outstanding Full-Time MBA Core Professor at The Ohio State University
2010 Winner of Satter Best Paper Award at the 7th Annual NYU-Stern Conference on Social Entrepreneurship – Kistruck, G., Sutter, C., & Smith, B. “Identity Spillover: A Social-Psychological Perspective on Mitigating Principal-Agent Problems in Base-of-the-Pyramid Ventures”
2009 Winner of Academy of Management Barry M. Richman Best Dissertation Award in the International Management Division – Kistruck, G. “Comparative Institutional Arrangements of Social Intermediation in Developing Countries”.
2009 Winner of Academy of Management Best Dissertation Award in the Public and Nonprofit Division - Kistruck, G. “Comparative Institutional Arrangements of Social Intermediation in Developing Countries”.
2009 Winner of Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division and Rowan University Best Paper in Social Entrepreneurship Award – Kistruck, G. “The Interplay of Form, Structure & Embeddedness in Organizational Social Entrepreneurship”.
2008 Winner of Academy of Management Samsung Distinguished Paper Award in the International Management Division – Kistruck, G., Qureshi, I., & Beamish, P. (2008) “NGOs as Multinationals: The Implications of Diversification”.
2007 Winner of Academy of Management Conference Sage Award for Best Student Paper in Public & Nonprofit Division - Kistruck, G. & Qureshi, I. (2007) "Not Too Big and Not Too Small: Identifying the 'Sweet Spot' for Nonprofit Boards".
2006 Winner of Administrative Sciences Association of Canada Conference Best Student Paper Award for Strategy Division - Kistruck, G. (2006) "A test of moderated mediation between board size and financial performance in the nonprofit sector".
2006 Winner of Administrative Sciences Association of Canada Conference Best Student Paper Award for International Business Division - Kistruck, G. (2006) "The Impact of Geographic and Product Diversification on Performance in Charitable Organizations".
Shulist, P., Rivera Santos, M., Kistruck, G., and Nguni, W. (Forthcoming), "Can I Sell You Avocados and Talk to You About Contraception? Well, it Depends which Comes First: Anchor Roles and Asymmetric Boundaries", Academy of Management Journal .
Role theory generally predicts that when the demands and norms of two roles are highly contrasted, individuals will construct a strong boundary to separate the roles. However, such predictions are grounded primarily in the Global North, emphasizing role pairings such as ‘work-family’ and hybrid ‘work-work.’ Comparatively, the Global South is characterized by a relative lack of public services that creates a highly contrasted, highly salient, and yet understudied role pairing – ‘work-community.’ Additionally, the socioeconomic features of the Global South (e.g., dense and overlapping community networks, financial poverty) call into question whether existing predictions surrounding boundary strength are likely to hold. We conducted a qualitative study of 73 Tanzanian participants who had both a self-employed work role and a family planning counsellor community role. We found that highly contrasted roles can be simultaneously perceived as both incompatible and compatible. Specifically, the boundaries we observed were neither uniformly strong nor weak, but rather of asymmetric strength: strong when a social interaction was anchored in the community role, but weak when anchored in the work role. The specific role contrasts we identify, and the importance of role anchoring we observe, have important implications for role theory and literature on boundary setting more broadly.
G. Kistruck and Slade Shantz, A (2021), "Research on Grand Challenges: Adopting an Abductive Experimentation Methodology", Organization Studies.
There has been a growing interest among management scholars in conducting research on grand challenges. Despite recognizing that studying such highly complex and uncertain phenomena likely requires more unconventional approaches, there has been very little methodological guidance provided to interested scholars. Drawing upon our own grand challenge projects undertaken over the past decade, we put forward a methodological approach we term ‘abductive experimentation’. Such an approach is an action-oriented process of inquiry that cycles between generating ‘doubt’ and generating ‘belief’. More specifically, abductive experimentation iterates between induction, abduction, and deduction to both generate and reconcile ‘surprising’ findings and causal mechanisms. While we submit abductive experimentation as a methodological approach particularly well suited to the study of grand challenges, we believe that the process depicted also provides a general roadmap for scholars seeking to dismantle the artificial dualism between theory and practice.
Kistruck, G. and Shulist, P. (2020), "Linking Management Theory with Poverty Alleviation Efforts through Market Orchestration", Journal of Business Ethics, 173(2), 423-446.
Top-tier management journals are advocating for greater relevance from management research to Grand Challenges such as poverty alleviation. However, many scholars struggle to identify linkages between the practical undertaking of poverty alleviation and theory development opportunities in the management literature. Responding to this call, we develop and outline a framework for theorizing from an increasingly common business-based poverty alleviation approach known as ‘market orchestration.’ Core to this framework are a set of contextual difference that contrast with the Western environment in which most management theorizing has taken place. These contextual differences—at the micro, meso, and macro levels—challenge the implicit assumptions underpinning much of the management literature. As a result, a substantial opportunity exists to identify new predictors, contingencies, explanations, and outcomes that can significantly inform theory. Equally important, by focusing on the contextual differences and the challenges they create, management scholars can provide practical guidance to organizations engaged in market orchestration efforts.
Kistruck, G., Pacheco, D.F., Slade Shantz, A.F. and Webb, J.W. (2019), "How Formal and Informal Hierarchies Shape Conflict within Cooperatives: A Field Experiment in Ghana", Academy of Management Journal, 63(2), 503-529.Keywords
As an organizational form, cooperatives are increasingly being used throughout the world across different industries and sectors. While it has been suggested that various benefits can be derived from shared ownership, cooperatives are often characterized by conflict among members that, in turn, can lead to eventual failure of the cooperatives. Existing theory has suggested that the choice of formal control structure can play an important role in mitigating conflict, but a longstanding debate exists as to whether flat versus hierarchical control structures are more effective. To add further insight into this theoretical discussion, we conducted a field experiment involving 40 newly formed cooperatives in rural Ghana, which were randomly assigned to either a flat or hierarchical control structure. The quantitative results of our field experiment and subsequent qualitative data suggest that formal hierarchical control structures lead to lower levels of collective psychological ownership, which in turn result in higher levels of conflict compared to flat control structures within cooperatives. However, our results also suggest that the extent to which the choice of formal control structures influences conflict among cooperative members can be highly dependent on the absence or presence of an informal hierarchy.
Ketchen, D.J., Kistruck, G., Ireland, D., Sutter, C. and Webb, J. (2017), "Transitioning Entrepreneurs from Informal to Formal Markets", Journal of Business Venturing, 32(4), 420-442.Keywords
Informal markets encompass economic activity that occurs outside of formal regulations and is rather guided by informal norms, values, and understandings. A growing stream of research explores the transition of entrepreneurs from informal to formal markets. Past research appears to portray the transition to formality as a strategic choice made by entrepreneurs and to center on regulatory concerns, such as acquiring licenses, registering the business, and paying taxes. Such an approach to studying formalization, however, may not adequately account for the influence of informal institutions on such a transition, and ignores the facilitating role often played by institutional intermediaries, a type of institutional entrepreneur. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore a more comprehensive view of formalization in which an institutional intermediary seeks to help small producers transition from selling their goods in informal markets (where formal regulations and infrastructures do not exist or are severely underdeveloped) to formal markets (where developed formal regulations and infrastructures have engendered stronger competition and heightened quality and efficiency standards). More specifically, we examined the process by which an NGO attempted to transition approximately 1,800 dairy farmers in rural Nicaragua from informal to formal markets. Our results suggest that the success of formalization efforts by institutional intermediaries hinges on a series of inter-related tactics aimed at providing “institutional scaffolding” to encourage and facilitate informal entrepreneurs’ participation in formal markets.
Cannatelli, B., Kistruck, G. and Smith, B.R. (2016), "The Impact of Moral Intensity and Desire for Control on Scaling Decisions in Social Entrepreneurship", Journal of Business Ethics, 133(4), 677-689.
While research has focused on why certain entrepreneurs elect to create innovative solutions to social problems, very little is known about why some social entrepreneurs choose to scale their solutions while others do not. Research on scaling has generally focused on organizational characteristics often overlooking factors at the individual level that may affect scaling decisions. Drawing on the multidimensional construct of moral intensity, we propose a theoretical model of ethical decision making to explain why a social entrepreneur’s perception of moral intensity of the social problem, coupled with their personal desire for control, can significantly influence scaling decisions. Specifically, we propose that higher levels of perceived moral intensity will positively influence the likelihood of scaling through open as opposed to closed modes in order to achieve greater speed and scope of social impact. However, we also propose this effect will be negatively moderated by a social entrepreneur’s higher levels of desire for control. Our model has implications for research and practice at the interface of ethics and social entrepreneurship.
Bhatt, B., Kistruck, G. and Qureshi, I. (2016), "The Enabling and Constraining Effects of Social Ties in the Process of Institutional Entrepreneurship", Organization Studies, 37(3), 425-447.Keywords
While the past decade has produced a number of insights into the process of institutional change, scholars still lack a comprehensive understanding of the germinal stages of institutional entrepreneurship. More specifically, further knowledge is needed into what factors cause certain individuals to initiate norm-breaking behaviour while others continue to adhere to societal expectations. Prior work seeking to inform this question has focused either on individual-level or environmental-level explanations. Comparatively, we employ a social network perspective as a ‘meso-level’ lens into the space where actors and their environment intersect. Based upon our qualitative findings, we propose that social ties can serve as an important factor in enabling (heterophilic ties) as well as constraining (homophilic ties) institutional change. However, our data also suggest that these network forces are highly dynamic and contingent upon tie frequency, the sequencing of tie contact, and the prevailing social norms in which tie contact takes place.
Bergman, J.B., Kistruck, G., Lount, R.B., Moss, T.W. and Smith, B.R. (2016), "Cooperation vs. Competition: Alternative Goal Structures for Motivating Groups in a Resource Scarce Environment", Academy of Management Journal, 59(4), 1174-1198.Keywords
There is a growing consensus that cooperative goal structures are more effective at motivating groups than competitive goal structures. However, such results are based largely on studies conducted in highly-controlled settings where participants were provided with the necessary resources to accomplish their assigned task. In an attempt to extend the boundary conditions of current theoretical predictions, we undertook a field experiment within a base-of-the-pyramid setting where resource scarcity is extremely high. Specifically, we collected data on 44 communities within rural Sri Lanka who were tasked with contributing a portion of their resources to the construction of a school building; 24 were assigned to a competition condition and 20 to a cooperation condition. The results of our field experiment, and subsequent follow-up interviews and focus groups, collectively suggest that competitive goal structures generally lead to higher levels of motivation within a resource scarce environment. However, our results also suggest that cooperative goal structures can be highly motivating when groups are unfamiliar with one another, as cooperating with unfamiliar groups can provide access to valuable and rare knowledge within such settings.
Kistruck, G., Morris, S.S., Stevens, C.E. and Webb, J.W. (2015), "The Importance of Client Heterogeneity in Predicting Make-or-Buy Decisions", Journal of Operations Management, 33-34, 97-110.Keywords
Scholars have begun to merge the transaction cost economics and capabilities perspectives to examine outsourcing decisions. Further integrating these perspectives with intermediation theory, we assert that a firm’s decision to use an intermediary when entering a foreign market is largely a function of the intermediary’s relative capabilities and relative transaction costs (i.e., relative advantage). We hypothesize that the intermediary’s relative advantage is influenced by three significantly intertwined exchange conditions: client heterogeneity, intermediary risk, and firm learning. Using a sample of 929 new foreign market initiatives by a global consulting firm, our results support our theory.
Bailey, A.V.G., Kistruck, G.M., Sutter, C.J. and Webb, J.W. (2015), "The Double-Edged Sword of Legitimacy in Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets", Journal of Business Venturing, 30(3), 436-451.Keywords
As compared to developed countries, a much higher proportion of entrepreneurs within base-of-the-pyramid (BOP) markets operate unregistered businesses. Prior research has suggested that the primary cause of such informal activity in these settings is the general failure of ‘weak’ institutions to provide sufficient resources to warrant formalization. We attempt to extend such thinking by deconstructing the discrete and inter-related effects of formal business registration on the level of resources obtained by entrepreneurs from financial, labor, and legal institutions within BOP markets. Using a multi-method approach involving 299 entrepreneurs within Guatemala City, our results suggest that being seen as a ‘legitimate’, registered business can actually lead to both increased resource provision and resource appropriation. More specifically, adhering to the norms and rules prescribed by regulatory institutions within weak legal environments can convey positive signals of stability and profitability that both attract the desired attention from formal institutional actors, as well as unwanted attention from criminals.
Esper, H., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Kistruck, G.M. and London, T. (2014), "Connecting Poverty to Purchase in Informal Markets", Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 8(1), 37-55.Keywords
Base‐of‐the‐Pyramid (BoP) enterprises seek to serve impoverished customers in informal markets. While BoP enterprises have grown in prominence, comparatively little multidimensional theoretical work has explored why these customers ultimately elect to purchase their products. Using a sample of 555 potential customers in rural India, our results indicate that the influence of different dimensions of poverty on likelihood of purchase is largely a function of the strength of the formal institutional environment. Specifically, stronger formal institutional environments can act as both a complement to, and a substitute for, the influence of individual‐ and network‐level norms on purchasing decisions in informal markets. Copyright © 2014 Strategic Management Society.
Kistruck, G., Morris, S.S. and Sutter, C.J. (2014), "Adaptations to Knowledge Templates in Base-of-the Pyramid Markets: The Role of Social Interaction", Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 8(4), 303-320.
While templates may facilitate knowledge sharing within the base‐of‐the‐pyramid, it is often necessary for entrepreneurs to adapt the template for reasons of resource scarcity. We explore the role of social interaction in determining whether these adaptations are beneficial or detrimental. Our results suggest that interactions between the entrepreneur and technical experts who understand the ‘why’ behind each practice can result in improved performance while interactions with entrepreneurial peers can produce more varied results. Thus, the type of knowledge generated through social interaction plays a significant role in the degree to which adaptations to templates are principled versus presumptive in nature. Copyright © 2014 Strategic Management Society.
Beamish, P., Kistruck, G., Sutter, C. and Qureshi, I. (2013), "Social Intermediation in Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets", Journal of Management Studies, 50(1), 31-66.
Our study explores the structuring decisions made by intermediaries seeking to alleviate poverty by connecting base‐of‐the‐pyramid markets with more developed markets. Using intermediation theory to ground our study, we collected qualitative data on 29 social intermediation projects located within Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Our findings suggest that ‘socializing’ intermediation theory to more accurately explain and predict structural outcomes across more diverse contexts requires three key modifications: (1) the attenuation of opportunism, which creates an internalizing social force; (2) the accommodation of non‐monetary objectives, which creates an externalizing social force; and (3) the perception of transaction capabilities as tractable, which serves as a guidepost for reconciling these two opposing social forces.
Kistruck, G., Lount, R., Smith, B. and Sutter, C. (2013), "Mitigating Principal-Agent Problems in Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets: An Identity Spillover Perspective", Academy of Management Journal, 56, 659-682.Keywords
The potential for profitably distributing products to previously underserved “base-of-the-pyramid” (BOP) markets as a means of poverty alleviation has received growing interest within the management field. However, such business models often struggle with the agency costs that arise between the firm and local sales agents as the institutions and infrastructure in BOP markets make traditional contractual and monitoring mechanisms difficult and expensive to employ. We present the results of two complementary studies which were both conducted with salespeople in rural Guatemala. The first study employed a quasi-experimental field-study combined with in-depth interviews, while the second study was a laboratory experiment. The results of the studies suggest that identity-based mechanisms can potentially mitigate agency costs through a positive identity spillover effect in multiproduct settings.
Bailey, A., Kistruck, G., Sutter, C. and Webb, J. (2013), "Entrepreneurs’ Responses to Semi-Formal Illegitimate Institutional Arrangements", Journal of Business Venturing, 28(6), 743-758.
While prior research has discussed how entrepreneurs deal with formal institutional voids and informal institutional environments, little is known about how entrepreneurs respond to institutional arrangements involving illegitimate actors. We define such arrangements as semi-formal illegitimate institutions. Using an exploratory study, we examine one such arrangement in Guatemala City, where organized crime dominates the institutional landscape in which entrepreneurs operate. We examine the strategic responses of these entrepreneurs, and find that they vary in the extent to which they resist semi-formal illegitimate institutions; some entrepreneurs engage in defiance, others avoid the illegitimate pressures, while others simply acquiesce. Upon further investigation, we find that the differences in entrepreneurs’ network strength and network proximity, combined with their individual perception of threat and resource mobility, help to predict the different strategic responses.
ENTR 4800: Social Entrepreneurship
ENTR 6655: Social Entrepreneurship
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleReshaping Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Poverty Alleviation Role Award Amount$263,685.00 Year Awarded2018 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Project TitleStrategic Challenges Among Hybrid Organizations Program Role Award Amount$19,200.00 Year Awarded2016 Granting AgencyStrategic Management Society Project TitleSocial Impact Research Lab Role Award Amount$197,918.00 Year Awarded2015 Granting AgencySSHRC- Partnership Development Grant Project TitleSocial Impact Research Lab Project Planning Workshop RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$24,500.00 Year Awarded2014 Granting AgencySSHRC - Connections Grant Project Title“The Effect of Individual-Level Feedback on Group Performance within Impoverished Settings” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$12,400.00 Year Awarded2012 Granting AgencyMiami University - Summer Research Appointment Project Title“Alternative global structural arrangements of social entrepreneurship”– I. Qureshi & Kistruck, G. RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$58,900.00 Year Awarded2011 Granting AgencyHong Kong Polytechnic University - General Research Funding Project Title“Antecedents of Psychological Ownership within Development Projects” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$9,200.00 Year Awarded2011 Granting AgencyCenters for International Business Education & Research - Global Competence Award Project Title“Social Capital Perspectives and Social Enterprise Outcomes” – I. Qureshi & Kistruck, G. RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$23,000.00 Year Awarded2010 Granting AgencyHong Kong Polytechnic University - General Research Funding Project TitleGlobal Competence Award RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$7,500.00 Year Awarded2010 Granting AgencyCenters for International Business Education & Research - Global Competence Award Project Title“Achieving Functional Independence in Poverty Alleviation Efforts” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$2,000.00 Year Awarded2010 Granting AgencyThe Ohio State University - Small Research Grant Project Title“International Poverty Solutions Collaborative” (with 60 additional faculty members from multiple disciplines) RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$750,000.00 Year Awarded2009-2014 Granting AgencyThe Ohio State University - Centers of Innovation Project Title“Base-of-the-Pyramid Social Enterprise Survey” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$11,500.00 Year Awarded2009 Granting AgencyCenters for International Business Education & Research - Global Competence Award Project Title“The Role of Not-for-Profit Organizations as Intermediaries in Bridging Developing with Developed Markets” - I. Qureshi & Kistruck, G. RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$17,500.00 Year Awarded2009 Granting AgencyHong Kong Polytechnic University - Competitive Research Grants for Newly Recruited Junior Academic Staff Project Title“Microfranchising in Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$2,000.00 Year Awarded2009 Granting AgencyThe Ohio State University - Small Research Grant Project Title“Alternative Structures of Social Intermediation in Developing Countries” RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$5,000.00 Year Awarded2007 Granting AgencyThe University of Western Ontario - International Thesis Grant Project Title“Exploring the Impact of Organizational Ownership Structures on the Decision Making Process of Boards of Directors” – P. Bansal & Kistruck, G. (1 of 35 projects within a multi-university cluster) RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$30,000.00 Year Awarded2005 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Community/University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy