Edward H. Chang is a fifth-year PhD student in the Decision Processes group. His primary research interests include diversity, discrimination, and behavior change. Prior to graduate school, Edward worked as a data scientist for a variety of technology startups, and he graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy.
Abstract: Past research demonstrates that people prefer to affiliate with others who resemble them demographically. However, we posit that the strength of this tendency toward homophily may be moderated by strategic considerations when competing for scarce opportunities. Across six experiments, we find that anticipated competition weakens people’s desire to join groups that include similar others. When expecting to compete against fellow group members, women are more willing to join all-male groups and Black participants are more willing to join all-White groups than in the absence of competition. We show that this effect is mediated both by a belief that being distinct will lead your performance to stand out and by a desire to compete against demographically dissimilar others. Our findings offer a new perspective to enrich past research on homophily, shedding light on the instances when minorities are more likely to join groups in which they will be underrepresented.
Abstract: We highlight a feature of personnel selection decisions that can influence the gender diversity of groups and teams. Specifically, we show that people are less likely to choose candidates whose gender would increase group diversity when making personnel selections in isolation (i.e., when they are responsible for selecting a single group member) than when making collections of choices (i.e., when they are responsible for selecting multiple group members). We call this the isolated choice effect. Across 6 preregistered experiments (n=3,509), we demonstrate that the isolated choice effect has important consequences for group diversity. When making sets of hiring and selection decisions (as opposed to making a single hire), people construct more gender-diverse groups. Mediation and moderation studies suggest that people do not attend as much to diversity when making isolated selection choices, which drives this effect.
Edward Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, Dena Gromet, Reb Rebele, Cade Massey, Angela Duckworth, Adam Grant (2019), The mixed effects of online diversity training, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Abstract: We present results from a large (n = 3,016) field experiment at a global organization testing whether a brief science-based online diversity training can change attitudes and behaviors toward women in the workplace. Our preregistered field experiment included an active placebo control and measured participants’ attitudes and real workplace decisions up to 20 weeks postintervention. Among groups whose average untreated attitudes—whereas still supportive of women—were relatively less supportive of women than other groups, our diversity training successfully produced attitude change but not behavior change. On the other hand, our diversity training successfully generated some behavior change among groups whose average untreated attitudes were already strongly supportive of women before training. This paper extends our knowledge about the pathways to attitude and behavior change in the context of bias reduction. However, the results suggest that the one-off diversity trainings that are commonplace in organizations are unlikely to be stand-alone solutions for promoting equality in the workplace, particularly given their limited efficacy among those groups whose behaviors policymakers are most eager to influence.
Edward Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, Dolly Chugh, Modupe Akinola (2019), Diversity Thresholds: How Social Norms, Visibility, and Scrutiny Relate to Group Composition, Academy of Management Journal, 62 (1), pp. 144-171.
Abstract: Across a field study and four experiments, we examine how social norms and scrutiny affect decisions about adding members of underrepresented populations (e.g., women, racial minorities) to groups. When groups are scrutinized, we theorize that decision makers strive to match the diversity observed in peer groups due to impression management concerns, thereby conforming to the descriptive social norm. We examine this first in the context of U.S. corporate boards, where firms face pressure to increase gender diversity. Analyses of S&P 1500 boards reveal that significantly more boards include exactly two women (the descriptive social norm) than would be expected by chance. This overrepresentation of two-women boards—a phenomenon we call “twokenism”—is more pronounced among more visible companies, consistent with our theorizing around impression management and scrutiny. Experimental data corroborate these findings and provide support for our theoretical mechanism: decision makers are discontinuously less likely to add a woman to a board once it includes two women (the social norm), and decision makers’ likelihood of adding a woman or minority to a group is influenced by the descriptive social norms and scrutiny faced. Together, these findings provide a new perspective on the persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities in organizations.
Paul R. Kleindorfer Scholar Award, 2018
Baker Retailing Center Grant, 2018–2020
Graduate Student Travel Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 2018
Best Micro Paper, East Coast Doctoral Conference, 2017
Winkelman Fellowship, 2017–2020
Best Student Paper, Society for Judgment and Decision Making Conference, 2016
Marjorie Weiler Prize for Excellence in Writing, 2016
Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship, 2016, 2017
Wharton Doctoral Programs Travel Grant, 2016, 2017
Graduate and Professional Student Assembly of the University of Pennsylvania Travel Grant, 2016, 2017