Yanhua Zhou Bird

Yanhua Zhou Bird

Yanhua Bird

(Organizational Behavior)
Ph.D. Date: May 2020 (Expected)

Dissertation Topic: Strategic Downward Selection: Evidence from a Peer-to-peer Platform Market
Dissertation Committee: 
Julie Battilana (Chair), Ya-Wen Lei, Christopher Marquis, and Michael W. Toffel
Research Interests: entrepreneurship and social innovation, corporate non-market strategy and sustainability, organizational theory and economic sociology
Teaching Interests: strategic management, entrepreneurship and social innovation, business sustainability, emerging market

Yanhua Bird is a Ph.D. student in the Organizational Behavior program jointly offered by the Harvard Business School and the Department of Sociology at Harvard. Her research encompasses two streams: (1) entrepreneurship and social innovation — how the design and structure of alternative forms of enterprises influence their activities and success, with a focus on peer-to-peer markets and social enterprises, and (2) corporate non-market strategy and sustainability — how traditional corporations are subject to and respond to institutional demands that require them to be more resource-efficient and more responsible. Her research generates new insights to theories of social evaluation, entrepreneurship, social innovation, corporate sustainability and non-market strategy. She draws on diverse research methods including large panel datasets, experiments, and qualitative methods to study these topics across the United States, emerging markets, and the globe. She has three articles published in Organization Science. 

Yanhua Bird's dissertation looks at peer-to-peer platform markets where economic transactions are directly between individual providers and consumers under the banner of the “sharing economy”. Core to the organization of these activities is rating systems. Her job market paper (Chapter 1 of her dissertation) shows how such evaluation systems and associated evaluation anxiety might distort market transactions in the case of a peer-to-peer lodging market, with analyses of over 1 million user transaction data and in-depth interviews with platform users and company executives. It provides a novel theoretical account to explain why, in some exchanges, transaction partners with inferior market standings are more sought-after despite being less prominent with fewer resources, contrary to the general view in the literature. Chapter 2 of her dissertation brings a new perspective to a conceptual puzzle about whether quality signals widen or narrow the gap between socially advantaged and disadvantaged market participants. She compares process-based and institutional-based quality signals, and illustrates their distinct effects on peer-to-peer market participants. Taken together, her dissertation contributes to theories of exchange partner selection, social evaluation and commensuration, and advances the literature on peer-to-peer economies.

Beyond her research, she is a recipient of the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.

She earned a B.A in sociology, a B.A in economics, and an M.A in organizational behavior from Peking University, and an M.A in sociolgy from Harvard University.

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