Jason Greenberg

Jason Greenberg
  • Visiting Assistant Professor

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: Economic and organizational sociology; Social networks; Entrepreneurship

Links: CV, Personal Website

Overview

Jason Greenberg joined New York University Stern School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Management in September 2010. He is also a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Management Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Greenberg’s research focuses on economic and organizational sociology, social networks and entrepreneurship. His dissertation work investigates how social networks have a bearing on the structure, functioning and performance of entrepreneurial founding teams. This work has received awards from the Kauffman Foundation, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the Academy of Management and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Prior to joining NYU Stern, Professor Greenberg was a research fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University and a research fellow at the Departments of Computer Science and Political Science at Northeastern University. Additionally, he has worked as a specialist clerk on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and as a management consultant specializing in organization and employee research for global and local companies such as Agilent Technologies, American Express, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Boeing, CSX and IBM, among others. He has also advised several start-ups with organizational, strategic and human capital issues, and helped found and manage several family-owned businesses.

Professor Greenberg received his B.A. from S.U.N.Y. Binghamton, his M.A. from the University of Florida, his M.P.P. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Research

  • Jason Greenberg (2019), What’s Alter Got to do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties that Provide It, Sociological Theory, 37 (3), pp. 293-314.

    Abstract: The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration. To do so faithfully requires first, the concession that different types of content can be transmitted across ties (e.g., financial, informational, physical, social) and content varies in important ways that relate to alter’s interests and concerns. This article considers social network content and the strength of ties that provide different forms of it. The case of startups is used as a fruitful strategic research site because of the varied resources required at various stages of the startup process. Novel insights are proposed concerning what content flows across different types of social relationships in the context of “nascent” entrepreneurship. Examples from other contexts such as job search are also discussed to exemplify scope. Importantly, this article takes the perspective of the resource provider, alter, and considers her concerns about trust, misuse, and unauthorized transfer in dyadic exchange. In the process, a second paradoxical feature of the theory is identified and theorized, which usefully reveals the boundaries of exchange.

  • Jason Greenberg, Inequality and Crowdfunding. In Handbook of Research on Crowdfunding, edited by Annaleena Parhankangas, Colin Maon, and Hands Landstrὂm, (Edward Elgar, 2019), pp. 303-322

    Abstract: The advent of crowdfunding brought great optimism about the technological disruption’s capacity to facilitate similarly profound and beneficial economic and social change. Proponents of this optimistic viewpoint argued that crowdfunding could help reduce inequality because it reduces: (a) disparities associated with the search for, and process of gaining access to, funders; and (b) identity constraints and associated biases to the extent that specific facets of one’s identity can be selectively revealed or obscured when raising funds online. Thus it potentially affords access to larger markets or pools of funders with given characteristics and preferences. In this chapter, I take stock of the evidence concerning how, and if so to what extent and why, crowdfunding has had a material bearing on inequality of opportunity associated with gender, race, and geography. While the empirical evidence supports the optimistic case concerning gender, the evidence is mixed with respect to geography, and less encouraging in terms of race.

  • Jason Greenberg, Social Relations and the Performance of Different Startup Types: The Networks Don’t Lie. In Entrepreneurship and Collaboration, edited by Sharon Matusik and Jeff Reuer, (Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 135-155

    Abstract: There is significant and growing interest in entrepreneurship. Notwithstanding this interest, sizable barriers limit our understanding of the phenomenon and, by implication, our understanding of who is most likely to succeed in it. One fundamental challenge we face is the confounded language we employ: “Self-employment,” “business ownership,” and various conceptualizations of “entrepreneurship” have often been used interchangeably. This chapter argues that a potentially fruitful basis for predicting the probable form and performance of various startups is offered by attending to the social relational characteristics of the individuals or teams engaged in them, including their advisors and investors. Using this approach, novel propositions are proposed that draw and define boundary conditions.

  • Gino Cattani, Daniel Sands, Joe Porac, Jason Greenberg (2018), Competitive Sensemaking in Value Creation and Capture, Strategy Science, 3 (4), pp. 632-657.

    Abstract: We suggest that a systematic socio-cognitive approach to “competitive sensemaking” has been absent from theory and research on competitive strategy. We define competitive sensemaking as the social and cognitive processes that underlie how firms detect, define, and conceptualize their competitive relationships with other firms. Competitive sensemaking is a subset of the more general process of strategic sensemaking, which is the “making plausible sense” of the broad array of stimuli and circumstances that characterize complex market situations. Using the value-based view of value creation and capture as a conceptual base for our arguments, we unpack four cognitive underpinnings of competitive sensemaking: mental time travel, comparability, counterfactual reasoning, and stories. We then show how these four components were differentially involved in shaping competitive sensemaking in four actual market situations. In doing so, we illustrate how competitive sensemaking provides fundamental inputs into the value creation and value capture process. We conclude the paper by drawing out the implications of competitive sensemaking for strategy theory and research.

  • Jason Greenberg and Ethan Mollick (2017), Activist Choice Homophily and the Crowdfunding of Female Founders, Administrative Science Quarterly, 62 (2), pp. 341-374.

    Abstract: In this paper, we examine when members of underrepresented groups choose to support each other, using the context of the funding of female founders via donation-based crowdfunding. Building on theories of choice homophily, we develop the concept of activist choice homophily, in which the basis of attraction between two individuals is not merely similarity between them, but rather perceptions of shared structural barriers stemming from a common social identity based on group membership. We differentiate activist choice homophily from homophily based on the similarity between individuals (“interpersonal choice homophily”), as well as from “induced homophily,” which reflects the likelihood that those in a particular social category will affiliate and form networks. Using lab experiments and field data, we show that activist choice homophily provides an explanation for why women are more likely to succeed at crowdfunding than men and why women are most successful in industries in which they are least represented.

    Description: Winner, Academy of Management Outstanding Publication in OB, 2017.

  • John M. Eason, L. Ash Smith, Jason Greenberg, Richard D. Abel, Corey Sparks, Crime, Punishment, and Spatial Inequality. In Rural Poverty in the United States, edited by Ann R. Tickameyer, Jennifer Sherman, and Jennifer Warlick, (Columbia University Press, 2017)

  • Jason Greenberg and Roberto M. Fernandez (2016), The Strength of Weak Ties in MBA Job Search: A Within-Person Test, Sociological Science, 3, pp. 296-316.

    Abstract: Whether and how social ties create value has inspired substantial research in organizational theory, sociology, and economics. Scholars generally believe that social ties impact labor market outcomes. Two explanatory mechanisms have been identified, emphasizing access to better job offers in pecuniary terms and the efficacy of non-redundant information. The evidence informing each theory, however, has been inconsistent and circumstantial. We test predictions from both models using a rich set of job search data collected from an MBA student population, including detailed information about search channels and characteristics of job offers. Importantly, we can compare offers made to the same student derived via different search channels while accounting for industry, function, and non-pecuniary characteristics. We find that contrary to conventional wisdom, search through social networks typically results in job offers with lower total compensation (-17 percent for referrals through strong ties and -16 percent for referrals via weak ties vs. formal search). However, our models also show that students are considerably more likely to accept offers derived via weak ties. They do so because they are perceived to have greater growth potential and other non-pecuniary value. On balance, our tests are consistent with Granovetter’s argument that networks provide value by facilitating access to information that is otherwise difficult to obtain, rather than providing greater pecuniary compensation.

  • Canales Rodrigo and Jason Greenberg (2016), A Matter of (Relational) Style: Loan Officer Consistency in Contract Enforcement in Microfinance, Management Science, 62 (4), pp. 1202-1224.

    Abstract: Social scientists have long considered what mechanisms underlie repeated exchange. Three mechanisms have garnered the majority of this attention: formal contracts, relational contracts, and relationally embedded social ties. Although each mechanism has its virtues, all three exhibit a common limitation: an inability to fully explain the continuation and stability of intertemporal exchange between individuals and organizations in the face of change. Drawing on extensive quantitative data on approximately 450,000 microfinance loans made by a microfinance institution in Mexico from 2004 to 2008 that include random assignment of loan officers, this research proposes the concept of ”relational styles” to help explain how repeated exchange is possible in the face of personnel change. We define relational styles as systematically reoccurring patterns of interaction employed by social actors within and across exchange relationships—in this paper, between microfinance clients and loan officers. We show that relational styles that are consistent facilitate a clear understanding of expectations and thus exchange. We also demonstrate that consistency in the relational styles followed by successive loan officers mitigates the negative impact of a broken loan officer–client tie. This paper thus proposes and empirically tests a social mechanism based on relational styles that often accompanies relational embeddedness, but which may also serve as a partial substitute for it.

  • Jason Greenberg (2014), What You Care about or What You Know: Which Mechanism Explains the Intergenerational Transmission of Business Ownership Expectations?, Research in the Sociology of Work, 25, pp. 85-126.

    Abstract: Research has consistently shown that the children of business owners are more likely to become business owners themselves. What mechanism underlies this intergenerational correlation is still not clear. This research assesses the importance of several mechanisms proposed to drive the children of business owners to expect to become business owners using data from the 1988-1992 NELS. Results are inconsistent with arguments asserting that the children of business owners expect to become business owners because of: the transmission of human capital or financial capital; the expectation of inheriting a business; a heightened awareness of the viability of business ownership; or preferences for having lots of money, leisure time, being successful in work, or finding steady employment. Findings are consistent with the notion that the intergenerational correlation in business ownership is a result of shared preferences and/or traits, and this effect is particularly strong when accompanied by awareness of paternal business ownership. These results remain after accounting for alternative interpretations and model specifications. Finally, model and variable specification make endogeneity unlikely.

  • Roberto M. Fernandez and Jason Greenberg (2013), Race, Network Hiring, and Statistical Discrimination, Research in the Sociology of Work, 24, pp. 81-102.

    Abstract: Research has shown that employers often disfavor racial minorities − particularly African Americans − even when whites and minorities present comparable resumes when applying for jobs. Extant studies have been hard pressed to distinguish between taste-based discrimination where employers' racial animus is the key motivation for their poor treatment of minorities and variants of statistical discrimination where there is no assumption at all of racial animus on the part of the employer. This chapter proposes a test of these theories by observing whether employers use employee referrals as a “cheap” source of information to help assess applicant quality.Methodology/approach – Unique quantitative data encompassing the entire pool of 987 candidates interviewed by one company in the western United States during a 13-month period are used to test our arguments.Findings – We find that employers in this setting are making use of the cheap information available to them: Consistent with statistical discrimination theory, minority referrals are more likely to receive a job offer than non-referred minority applicants, and are not disfavored relative to referred whites.Originality/value of the chapter – Both statistical and taste-based theories of discrimination propose similar observable outcomes (lower rates of disfavored minority hiring). While different mental processes are being invoked by taste-based and statistical discrimination theories, the theories are extremely difficult to distinguish in terms of observable behaviors. Especially for the purpose of designing legal remedies and labor market policies to ameliorate the disparate treatment of minority groups, differentiating between these theories is a high priority.

Teaching

Awards and Honors

  • Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Grant, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2019
  • New York University Dale E. Zand Best Paper Award in Management, 2018
  • Academy of Management, Outstanding Publication Award in OB, 2017
  • National Science Foundation, Principal Investigator, 2017-2019
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Fellowship, 2016-2018
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow, 2015-2016
  • New York University Dale E. Zand Best Paper Award in Management, 2014
  • William H. Newman Award, Entrepreneurship Division Nominee and Finalist, 2011
  • Federation of Independent Business Certificate of Distinction, 2010
  • INFORMS/Organization Science Dissertation Proposal Competition, First Runner-Up, 2009
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Dissertation Award, 2008-2009
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Fellowship and George Henning Fellowship, 2006-2007
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Fellowship, 2005-2006
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Presidential Fellowship, 2004-2005
  • University of Chicago Dean’s Fellowship, 2000-2002

Activity

Awards and Honors

Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Grant, UNC-Chapel Hill 2019
All Awards