Research Diversity

Bohns, Hyman and Litwin receive grants
Monday, December 14, 2015

Three ILR professors have received Small Grant Awards from Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences for 2016 research projects.

The recipients are Vanessa Bohns, assistant professor, Department of Organizational Behavior; Louis Hyman, associate professor,  Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History; and Adam Seth Litwin, associate professor, Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History.

The grants are distributed twice a year to tenure-line faculty in the social sciences with research awards of up to $12,000 each.

The Institute for the Social Sciences and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research provide the funding for the research.

Bohns describes her research, “Understanding Our Influence Over Others’ Moral Decisions,” this way:

Unethical acts are frequently conducted at the behest of someone else. We can successfully goad others into doing things that make them uncomfortable because it is even more uncomfortable to say “no.”

This research project explores whether we recognize the power of our own words and actions when we are in a position to influence someone else’s behavior: Do we recognize the awkward position we put people in when we make an unethical suggestion? Can we tell when another person feels uncomfortable with our request, but feels she can’t say “no?”

Hyman describes “Economic Methods for Historians Workshop (aka History of Capitalism Summer Camp)” like this:

Launched in the summer of 2013, the “summer camp” has already trained 60 graduate students and faculty in new history of capitalism methods. The camp aims to expose professional historians to methods and ideas from economics, finance and statistics to empower them to rethink the questions that they ask.

Over two weeks, campers learn microeconomics, macroeconomics, corporate finance, financial accounting, statistics and modeling, and quantitative mapping from Cornell faculty. The cohort effect and the training are already changing the way historians work.

Adam Seth Litwin’s project is entitled “Labor Unions and the Spread of Health Care-Associated Infections.”

Hospital-acquired health care-associated infections affect over 1.7 million patients in the U.S. each year and result in 98,000 deaths. Where those infections result from interconnected or cascading breakdowns in systems, one would expect labor unions to foster the sorts of worker voice mechanisms that prevent their spread and thereby improve patient safety.

This proposal requests support for a pilot study to theorize and assess the relationship between labor relations structures and one particular gauge of health care quality, the incidence of hospital-acquired infections.

Drawing on the collective social science background and clinical experience of the research team, the investigators are focusing on the work of registered nurses and supporting frontline clinicians (e.g., certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses) on approximately 12 medical/surgical wards selected to capture variation in unionization in New York state’s Southern Tier.