Derek Lief

PhD Candidate in Business Administration (Strategy) and Political Science | University of Michigan Ross School of Business


Research interests: organizational religiosity, non-pecuniary incentives, non-market strategy

Lief, D. "The Theoretical Construct of Organizational Religiosity and Its Effect on Human Capital Attraction, Wage Demands and Contributions" (Working Paper)

The importance of human capital to firm value has led organizational scholars to take an interest in non-pecuniary incentives (NPIs) such as corporate social responsibility programs and public service jobs that affect worker preferences and behavior; however, one curious omission from these studies has been the NPI of religion. The goal of this paper is to account for this omission, and to study how the theoretical construct of organizational religiosity (OR) impact a firm’s competitive positioning. With this goal in mind, and theoretically grounded in the existing literature on NPIs, the paper poses three main questions. First, how does OR affect attraction to the firm at its boundary in terms of both quantity and composition? Second, and also at the  firm boundary, do organizations with higher levels of OR get wage discounts from their workers? Finally, once inside the firm, do organizations with higher levels of OR get more effort from their workers? In an effort to answer these questions, I conduct one field experiment in partnership with a law firm, in addition to an online experiment. These experiments yield four primary results. First, less religious individuals are less attracted to firms with higher levels of OR. Second, lower-skilled workers appear to be more attracted to firms with higher levels of OR. Third, there are important differences between different religious groups in terms of attraction to the firm. Finally, I see no evidence of a wage or contributions effect, a result which I argue stems from my sample being composed largely of high-skilled workers. These results have significant implications for firms’ decisions about how and when to emphasize religious elements of their business, which I address in the discussion section.

Lief, D., Jue-Rajasingh, D., Kwon, M. "Expressions of Corporate Purpose and Their Effect on Job Interest" (Working Paper)

Scholars studying non-pecuniary incentives (NPIs) have examined a number of specific NPIs such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs at for-profit firms, the opportunity to engage in science and public service jobs. They have demonstrated that NPIs like these can attract more human capital at the boundary of the firm and induce workers to accept lower wages and give greater effort once at the firm. These researchers have also understood corporate purpose itself to be an NPI, citing how meaningful it is for members of an organization to pursue a common goal. However, they have dealt less with how different expressions of corporate purpose affect the attraction of human capital. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature, examining how various expressions of corporate purpose affect human capital attraction, in terms of quantity and composition. The results of a field experiment inform three theoretical contributions that we make. First, workers appear to be most attracted to the firm by expressions of corporate purpose emphasizing reinvestment in the firm - a "hybrid" condition. Second, certain expressions of corporate purpose may increase market-level gender- and racial based economic inequities. Finally, certain forms of corporate purpose may reduce within industry gender- and racial-based economic inequities.

Lief, D. (2023) "Social, Political, and Economic Trends in East Jerusalem, 2010 - 2022: Informing Israel's Approach to Security" Strategic Assessment, 26(2): 69 - 89. 

-Link: English/Hebrew

East Jerusalem Palestinians claim that Israeli policy in the city over the course of the last two to three decades has had the dual aim of cutting off this population from the West Bank and destroying any sense of their Palestinian national identity. They claim that this policy has not only been largely successful in achieving these aims, but has also led to economic underdevelopment, pessimism about the future, and political apathy. In turn, and in an effort to fill the void developed by these feelings, they argue that many East Jerusalem Palestinians have become more religiously extreme, and in some cases, more violent. This paper seeks to examine these claims with an empirical approach. It first outlines the Israeli policies that are said to have encouraged this situation and then analyzes public opinion data. While the study supports many of the claims by these East Jerusalem Palestinians, it also reveals some positive trends. The paper then proposes policy recommendations to improve socioeconomic conditions in East Jerusalem, reduce religious extremism, and thereby reduce terrorist attacks against Israelis.