Polly Kang

Polly Kang
  • Doctoral Candidate

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    526.8 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Overview

I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Operations, Information, and Decisions Department at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. During my doctoral studies, I earned an M.A. in Statistics. I am passionate about three research topics: (1) prosocial behavior, (2) negotiations, and (3) emotions. I conduct both field and lab research by using ideas and tools from management, psychology, economics, and computer science. I often use a “mixed methods” approach, combining the strengths of both archival field studies and randomized laboratory experiments.

For my CV, please visit my personal website.

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Research

Highlighted Research.

Kang, P., Daniels, D. P., and Schweitzer, M.E. Warm Glow Gambles: How Risk Fundamentally Transforms Prosocial Behavior (July 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3583884

A fundamental puzzle in the social and natural sciences is why humans, in contrast to other animals, routinely help strangers at substantial personal cost. Current literature documents three regularities in prosocial behavior: first, prosocial behavior increases if people have more economic resources (e.g., money) or psychological resources (e.g., positive affect or energy); second, prosocial behavior is positively correlated with “warm glow giving” motivations; third, prosocial behavior decays with repetition. However, these three regularities are overwhelmingly based on studies of riskless prosocial behaviors. We use field and lab studies to show that, for risky prosocial behaviors that might succeed or might fail, all three regularities actually reverse – in contrast to previous findings, theories, and lay beliefs. Our results point to fundamental differences between riskless prosocial behaviors (e.g., donating) and risky prosocial behaviors (e.g., volunteering; prosocial investing). For example, we examine a unique, massive 2013-2018 dataset of nearly 3 million time-stamped prosocial behaviors by volunteers; contradicting the first regularity, we show that positive affect shocks (e.g., positive stock returns, happier days) actually cause prosocial behavior to decrease. We argue that, in contrast to riskless prosocial behaviors which reliably create warm glow, risky prosocial behaviors instead create warm glow gambles: if a prosocial act succeeds, the actor feels better and energized, but if it fails, the actor feels worse and demotivated. While warm glow is driven by the psychology of self-signaling, warm glow gambles are instead dominated by the psychology of risk-taking, as exemplified by Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979).

  • Polly Kang, Krishnan Anand, Pnina Feldman, Maurice Schweitzer (2020), Insincere Negotiation: Using the Negotiation Process to Pursue Non-Agreement Motives, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 89 (103981).

Teaching

Past Courses

  • MGMT101 - INTRO TO MANAGEMENT

    We all spend much of our lives in organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. Organizations emerge because individuals can't (or don't want to) accomplish their goals alone. Management is the art and science of helping individuals achieve their goals together. Managers in an organization determine where their organization is going and how it gets there. More formally, managers formulate strategies and implement those strategies. This course provides a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in formulating and implementing strategies by taking a "system" view of organizations,which means that we examine multiple aspects of how managers address their environments, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people, and outputs, and how managerial decisions made in these various domains interrelate. The course will help you to understand and analyze how managers can formulate and implement strategies effectively. It will be particularly valuable if you are interested in management consulting, investment analysis, or entrepreneurship - but it will help you to better understand and be a more effective contributor to any organizations you join, whether they are large, established firms or startups. This course must be taken for a grade.

Activity

Latest Research

Polly Kang, Krishnan Anand, Pnina Feldman, Maurice Schweitzer (2020), Insincere Negotiation: Using the Negotiation Process to Pursue Non-Agreement Motives, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 89 (103981).
All Research