Featured Works

Institutional Context, Board Diversity, and Analyst Evaluation
Letian Zhang. "Who Rewards Diversity? Institutional Context, Board Gender Diversity, and Analyst Evaluation." (Job Market Paper). 

This study examines the consequences of diversity in evaluation. I develop an institutional framework to understand the influence of board gender diversity on an organization’s analyst rating. Using a unique longitudinal data of 290,281 stock ratings by 5069 securities analysts, I find that having more women on boards increases an organization’s analyst rating, but only when board gender diversity has been normatively accepted in institutional context. This tendency is more pronounced among female analysts; as board diversity gains normative acceptance, female analysts are much more likely than male analysts to reward an organization for having more women on board. These findings contribute to the diversity literature by showing the importance of social contexts in shaping the consequences of diversity. They also extend on institutional theory by demonstrating gender heterogeneity in the enforcement of institutional norms.

Racial Bias in Organizations
Letian Zhang. (2017). "A Fair Game? Racial Bias and Repeated Interaction between NBA Coaches and Players." Administrative Science Quarterly, Forthcoming. 

This study explores racial bias in repeated interactions. The literature gives strong evidence of racial bias in organizations but there is little understanding of how it changes with repeated interaction. I set out to examine this question using a unique dataset of 2,360 National Basketball Association (NBA) players and 163 coaches from 1955 to 2000. I find that players receive more playing time under coaches of the same race, even though there is no difference in their performance. This racial bias is greatly reduced, however, as the player and the coach spend more time on the same team, suggesting that repeated interaction minimizes coaches’ biases toward their players. But it does not reduce coaches’ racial biases in general. Even after years of coaching other-race players, coaches still exhibit the same levels of racial bias as they did upon first entering the league. These results suggest that repeated workplace interaction is effective in reducing racial bias toward individuals but not toward groups. Click here to get more information on this article.

Other Works

Social Context and Firm Performance
Letian Zhang. "An Institutional Approach to the Effect of Gender Diversity on Organizational Performance." Organization Science, Second-Round Revise and Resubmit.
Performance and Risk Taking
Letian Zhang. "Not the Same Risk: The Effect of Performance on Risk Taking in the Mutual Fund Industry." Strategic Management Journal, Revise and Resubmit.
Performance and Bias
Letian Zhang. "The Effect of Performance on Racial Bias." Organization Science, Revise and Resubmit.
Social Capital in China
Elena Obukhova and Letian Zhang. (2017). "Social Capital and Job Search in Urban China: The Strength-of-Strong-Ties Hypothesis Revisited." Chinese Sociological Review, Forthcoming.
- 2015 Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings.
Best Overall Paper Award finalist, Careers Division.