ISU College of Business Student Abstract Accepted to Workshop for Academy of Management Discoveries
March 18, 2021
Kelsey Breer, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student at the Idaho State University College of Business, had no idea she would be making research history in her graduate program when she submitted her extended research abstract to the flagship journal of the premier academic management organization in the world, the Academy of Management.
Breer has been working as a graduate research assistant with College of Business Associate Professor of Management, Dr. Alex Bolinger, exploring the variety of ways men and women gauge a leader’s charisma. After taking the lead on drafting an extended abstract of the paper, Breer submitted her work to a developmental paper workshop for the Academy of Management Discoveries and was accepted.
“Only half of the extended abstracts submitted to the workshop were accepted,” said Bolinger. “That means that this paper was selected ahead of papers submitted by a significant number of Ph.D. students and faculty in the United States and internationally.”
The Academy of Management Discoveries is a new journal for the Academy of Management, which is an international organization.
“This is undoubtedly a first for an Idaho State MBA student,” said Bolinger, who presented the paper with Breer over Zoom on Thursday, March 18.
“When I submitted the abstract, I didn’t have high expectations,” said Breer. “I wasn’t overly hopeful because I didn’t want to be let down in the event we weren’t chosen. To have my work chosen, with the help of Dr. Bolinger of course, made me really proud. Receiving [this news] was really rewarding as I know how competitive it was.”
Bolinger explained that the workshop will be used as a tool for further developing their research and paper in hopes of actually having it published in the Academy of Management Discoveries.
However, he notes that the publication process can be lengthy. “A paper usually goes through multiple rounds of revision,” said Bolinger. “My guess is that this paper will not appear in print for at least a couple of years.”
Breer and Bolinger began their research in January and have been using a unique method called ‘concept mapping’ to gather qualitative and open-ended responses to the question of describing a charismatic leader. “We took those responses from a sample of male respondents and a sample of female respondents and then had another group of participants, who were not familiar with the purposes of the research, sort those responses based on answers that were more and less similar,” said Bolinger of the process.
Bolinger said from there, they used two different tactics for determining themes in the data, then worked with MBA students Sophia Perry and Jeffrey Morgan to label those emerging themes for each set of respondents.
So far, the team has uncovered some interesting findings. For instance, they found that female respondents used the way leaders make followers feel to determine how charismatic they are, which they did not find from the male respondents. Bolinger said they also found that in terms of charismatic leadership style, female respondents evaluated leaders based on how positive and warm they are. Male respondents made these evaluations based on how visionary leaders are, judging by things such as how many risks they are willing to take. He said they have also found that females focused on leader appearance such as clothing to determine a charismatic leader while males focused on how the leaders presented themselves through communication and presentation style.
“The research process, as well as our specific findings, has reminded me of the importance of valuing differences in groups of people,” said Breer. “I can already envision future opportunities for me to apply my improved understanding of gender perceptions.”
After their presentation next week, Bolinger and Breer will take the feedback they receive and continue improving the paper. “Our ultimate goal is to submit it for publication,” said Bolinger.
Breer began her MBA after graduating from Idaho State with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and a minor in mathematics. As an undergraduate, Breer was a student athlete on the women’s softball team.
“I knew it would be hard to find an opportunity that could compete with such a special thing in my life. My position [as a GA] has been a wonderful growth opportunity,” she said.
Breer said that when she graduates, she plans to start work with Deloitte, a Big Four accounting firm as an advisory analyst in their Seattle office.
Breer is also a member of the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC), of which Bolinger is also an advisor, and is working as the chief financial officer of the team.
“These two experiences have allowed my time at Idaho State to come full circle and help me wrap up this part of my life,” she said.
Bolinger said he is thrilled to be able to provide students with opportunities like this one.
“It is a treat to get to work with students like Kelsey. She is very talented and also has an incredible work ethic. Even as she moves into industry, this kind of opportunity to engage in analysis, write it up and receive feedback at such a high level will demonstrate a unique skill set that she can include on her resume and capitalize on in her career,” Bolinger said.