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ISU College of Business Students and Faculty Co-Author Paper Presented in Italy

July 24, 2023

A paper co-authored by ISU College of Business students Ritesh Yadav and Josh Luker and Professor of Management Alex Bolinger was recently presented at the 2023 European Group of Organizational Studies (EGOS) conference at the University of Cagliari, on the Italian island of Sardinia. 

The paper, entitled “Finding a Close Confidant in a Bad Workplace,” takes its inspiration from the observation that soldiers who go to war together often form extraordinarily close friendships that persist for life. The authors wondered whether a similar principle might apply in the workplace. 

“Although work is far removed from the horrors of warfare, workplaces can all too often feel like battlefields for some employees,” said Bolinger.  

Yadav, Luker, and Bolinger investigated whether employees were more likely to seek out a close friend/confidant when faced with a bad workplace environment. Drawing on historical data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted by the University of Chicago, they found consistent evidence that the worse the workplace environment, the more likely workers were to turn to a co-worker for social support rather than to a family member, friend or adviser outside of work, etc.  

The paper’s preliminary findings were presented at the annual EGOS conference in early July, which this year focused on research about the role of relationships in the workplace. The conference, which was co-organized by faculty from Harvard University and INSEAD in Paris, France, provided an opportunity to receive feedback from some of the most knowledgeable researchers in the field. 

“Our paper was one of very few presented at the EGOS conference that was co-authored by students,” said Bolinger. “The chance to share the work that Ritesh and Josh have put into this project and to receive encouragement and suggestions for further developing this paper from internationally-renowned researchers was too good to pass up.” 

More research is undoubtedly in the future for both Yadav and Luker. Yadav graduated with his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from ISU in May and he will start his PhD in Management at the University of South Carolina next month. Luker graduated with his Bachelors of Business Administration from ISU in May and he is starting his MBA at ISU next month, with plans to pursue his PhD in Management as well. 

“The fact that this paper was included in the program and received such a positive response from the participants at EGOS is evidence of the great work that our students do here at ISU,” said Bolinger. “Like I tell people all the time, the best and brightest students at ISU can compete with anyone in the world.”


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