Donahue Center Dissertation Research Grants

In June 2021, the Center launched its first Dissertation Research Grant to encourage and support current Ph.D. students in conducting dissertation research that furthers ethics-related scholarship.

2021 - 2022

The Lived Experience of Moral Injury in Organizations
David Greenway
Individuals often encounter events or situations within organizations that challenge or violate deeply held moral beliefs. These transgressions may result from their own actions (or inactions) or the actions of others and lead to moral distress, and in some cases, moral injury. Moral injury is a ‘wound to the soul’ that may lead to lasting feelings of guilt, shame, loss of trust in oneself and others, and loss of meaning. This research examines how these violations are experienced and integrated into how individuals view themselves, their relationships, and the world around them.

2022 - 2023

Essays in Green Marketing:  Corporate Social Responsibility Strategies, Competitive Advantage, and Consumer Discernment
Debra Lee Surface
Social, political, environmental, and economic challenges are at the forefront of global society. Global warming and the intention to reduce the world’s carbon footprint have brought to light the responsibility of firms to alter consumption patterns. It was projected that by 2012, almost a third of Fortune 500 corporations had adopted a corporate social responsibility executive position (Kiron et al., 2012; Gupta et al, 2018). Additionally, companies are paying more attention to green new product development (Chen 2010; Chen & Chang, 2012). Producing less waste and conserving energy, products termed as eco-friendly, sustainable or green, have less of an impact on the environment. Green marketing encompassing all behaviors that are developed to stimulate and sustain the environmentally friendly attitudes and behaviors of consumers (Jain & Kaur, 2004; Chen, 2010), environmental concern can be an effective attribute that represents a person’s worries and compassion about the environment (Lee 2009; Alzubaidi, 20201, p. 687). Inclusive of three essays, I look at firm level green marketing strategies as a source for competitive advantage and consumer discernment. More specifically, a mixed methods quantitative approach, this research investigates green marketing claims and the relationship between eco-product labeling, innovation, and financial and reputational outcomes.

Analysis of User Generated Content in Digital Platforms
Sambit Tripathi
Recommendation systems are an important module in digital platforms that generate lists of items based on customers’ preferences. Around 35 percent of what consumers purchase on Amazon and 75 percent of what they watch on Netflix come from product recommendations based on machine learning algorithms. So, these systems can influence consumer behavior as they purchase items or consume content based on the recommended list. However, these systems employ black box machine learning models where a user cannot decipher how automatically list of preferred items are recommended. So, digital platforms can achieve the social responsibility of transparency and accountability if they provide explanations for the items recommended by complex models. This dissertation research project aims to propose a novel explainable item recommendation method for digital platforms.

Corporate Green Transition and Technological Innovation
Chongyang (William) Zhou
How does corporate green transition affect firm innovation, product development, and new competitive advantage building? Although the literature has explored the organizational underpinnings of green transition, its impact on technological innovation is underexplored. In this research, I conduct a multi-level analysis to investigate corporate green transition and how it changes firm’s innovation behaviors and product market competition. More specifically, I analyze the influence of corporate green transition on the focal company’s patent application, technical impact, and product competitiveness. This research will carry important implications to help managers better understand the influence of corporate green transition on technologies and competition.