News about faculty and their research

On this page:

Group of basketball players taking a selfie.

Narcissists make bad teammates—in the NBA and your workplace



Narcissists curb team performance, according to a new study from the School of Management.

Recently published in the Academy of Management Journal, the study found NBA teams with higher average and maximum levels of narcissism, as well as higher narcissist members in key roles (point guard), had poorer coordination and lower overall performance.

Narcissism is characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance—believing you’re more important and special than others—and a lack of empathy.

“Narcissists prevent good things from happening,” says lead author Emily Grijalva, assistant professor of organization and human resources. “Over time, lower levels of narcissism result in teams being able to fully capitalize on the benefits of getting to know each other.”

In addition, the coordination and performance differences between low and high narcissism teams strengthened over time. Teams with lower narcissism saw improvements in coordination, while teams with higher narcissism stagnated, failing to achieve the benefits that normally occur as team members get to know each other.

For the study, the researchers developed a coding guide to analyze the narcissism levels of nearly 35,000 tweets and the Twitter profile pictures of about 400 NBA players. They then used the results of every game from the 2013-14 regular season—2,460 games total—to determine how narcissists impact overall team performance.

Study co-author Timothy Maynes, assistant professor of organization and human resources, says companies should consider narcissism when forming teams and avoid putting highly narcissistic members in the most critical roles.

“Narcissists tend to be attracted to powerful positions and are likely to emerge as leaders,” says Maynes. “It may be easier to submit to narcissists’ demands in the short term, but this will result in long-term costs to the team.”

When you can’t avoid putting narcissists on a team, the researchers say to base at least some compensation on team performance, which will force members to depend on one another and narcissists to behave more collegially.

Grijalva and Maynes collaborated on the study with School of Management doctoral student Katie Badura, as well as Steven Whiting, associate professor of management at the University of Central Florida College of Business.

Ampadu four-time award recipient


Alex Ampadu, clinical associate professor of accounting and law, was recognized with the Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award from UB’s undergraduate Student Association at a ceremony last spring.

Named for a beloved UB professor, the annual award recognizes outstanding professors who create an atmosphere of creativity, enthusiasm and participation in their classrooms. Students nominate instructors from across the university who have inspired, excited or positively affected them.

Ampadu is the first recipient in the award’s history to be honored four times. He previously received the Plesur award in 1998, 2006 and 2010.

Trump’s trade deals harm U.S. investors, research shows


New research led by Veljko Fotak, associate professor of finance, suggests the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from various multilateral trade agreements may have been misguided.

Published in the Journal of Banking and Finance, the study examined investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS), which allow foreign investors to sue a host government in a third-party international court.

“Imagine you opened a business in a developing nation and feel you’re being unfairly regulated or taxed,” Fotak says. “Without this dispute system, you’re at the mercy of that country’s potentially corrupt court system.”

Dispute panels are an important component—and source of controversy—in trade agreements from which the Trump administration has withdrawn. Proponents say the panels help American investors protect their assets abroad, while critics argue they undermine national sovereignty.

“That’s a good soundbite,” Fotak says, “but in reality, these cases are rarely, if ever, brought against the United States, and without this mechanism, U.S. firms abroad may suffer.”

To isolate and evaluate the impact of ISDS systems, the researchers looked at loans made under bilateral investment treaties, where dispute systems are virtually the exclusive feature. They compared the terms and outcomes of 45,000 loans from January 1980 to December 2013—representing 161 countries and $20.75 trillion total—and found dispute mechanisms increased the availability of capital, loan size and time to maturity, and decreased the cost of debt. On an average loan of $1.2 billion, the presence of a dispute system resulted in about $7 million in savings.

“Investors feel more confident entering developing markets where a treaty allows them to address grievances and protect their investment,” Fotak says. “By pulling out of these trade agreements, we’re not defending U.S. sovereignty—we’re abandoning U.S. investors.”

Fotak’s co-authors were Haekwon Lee, PhD ’18, lecturer, University of Sydney Business School, and William Megginson, professor and Price Chair in Finance, University of Oklahoma Price College of Business.

Faculty earn media awards



Two faculty members were recognized last spring with the School of Management’s Visibility and Impact awards for their role in enhancing the school’s reputation in the media.

Kate Bezrukova, associate professor of organization and human resources, was lauded for having the broadest reach. She has been interviewed and quoted in such outlets as Forbes, PBS NewsHour, The Atlantic, Psychology Today, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Charles Lindsey, associate professor of marketing, received the award for the most media interviews. He was quoted for his expertise in marketing and consumer behavior 40 times in the past year in a variety of print, radio and web media, including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Toronto Star.

Murray awarded grant to improve cybersecurity learning


David Murray, clinical associate professor of management science and systems, is among six UB researchers who recently received SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants (IITG).

Using the $20,000 IITG grant, Murray will lead a group of faculty to develop Open Cyber Arena, a hands-on cybersecurity learning environment. Open Cyber Arena will streamline access to the program’s server infrastructure, improving ease of use and access for both instructors and students. The software will be shared with other SUNY campuses that wish to implement a similar infrastructure.

IITG is a competitive grant program, open to SUNY faculty and staff across all disciplines, that encourages the development of innovations that meet the power of SUNY’s transformative vision. Recipients openly share project outcomes in the SUNY Learning Commons, enabling colleagues across all campuses to replicate and build upon innovations. Now in its seventh round, the program has awarded more than $1.7 million in funding.

Cichocki recognized for teaching excellence

The Undergraduate Management Association named Dianna Cichocki, clinical assistant professor of management science and systems, “Most Outstanding Professor.” Cichocki teaches various courses in statistics, analytics and data modeling at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

In memory of Frank Jen


Frank Jen, professor emeritus of finance in the School of Management, passed away on April 22. He was nearly 88 and worked for the school from 1964 until his retirement in 1997.

Jen's research interests and activities spanned a broad range of topics in corporate finance, investment and banking. He founded the Bank Management Institute in 1977, which is recognized around the world as a benchmark-level program for middle and senior commercial lending officers. In the mid-80s, when China was contemplating opening its economy to the rest of the world, Jen recognized that managers needed to understand how to manage firms in a market economy. He played a leading role in helping the School of Management establish the first-ever U.S.-China MBA program, sponsored by the U.S. Commerce Department, as well as an Executive Development program there.

Jen earned both his doctorate and MBA at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Bachelor of Science at North Central College in Illinois.

Over the course of his career, Jen served as consultant to corporations and financial institutions, specializing in ventures in China, financial planning and control, portfolio management and money management strategies.

He believed in the power of education to change lives. Here at the School of Management, he was a mentor to many, from current faculty to doctoral students who went on to outstanding academic careers at such universities as Michigan, Rutgers, Illinois, Maryland, Canisius and Ohio State. His impact is still felt in the school and beyond.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Daisy, their three children and eight grandchildren.