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Research that Impacts Business

Browse a collection of articles on the business implications of selected scholarly research.

Olin professors are renowned for their research productivity within their scholarly communities. Their research employs state-of-the-art analytical and empirical methods to address substantive questions. And their research, in turn, informs and invigorates classroom instruction. Learn how research on emerging business challenges can improve your business results; email CorporateRelations@olin.wustl.edu, call 314-935-8541, or contact one of Olin's research centers.

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https://youtu.be/ELHmxCYyX2E
Strategy
NEW

Is Health Insurance Making Your Firm Sick?

Authors:

Nov. 3, 2016

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By analyzing data from more than 15,000 small firms (500 or fewer employees) in the pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) time period, this study challenges commonly held beliefs about the impact of employee benefits on the bottom line.
https://youtu.be/emguhknmrYU
Accounting
​The role of the General Counsel in company management has evolved and often moves the legal gatekeeper into the C-suite. For the first time, researcher delve into data to determine how this change is viewed by debt market participants and what effect it may have on a firm’s credit risk. Hint: it’s not positive.
https://youtu.be/0F7tjt-HxIA
Organizational Behavior

How to remind employees to wash their hands hundreds of times a day

Authors:

Aug. 16, 2016

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​Motivating hospital workers to wash their hands frequently to meet compliance standards is harder than you think. This study based on a large data base of electronic monitoring programs has unexpected findings in the hospital workplace where disease and the threat of spreading germs are constant. One big takeaway: monitoring alone won’t solve the compliance problem.
https://youtu.be/2ooaztMX1kI
Finance

The Dark Side of Incentive-Based Pay

Authors:

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March 28, 2016

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​​​​A new study based on data culled from the filings of more than 700 of the largest publicly traded firms in the U.S., finds that, on average, firms with executive pay-for-performance packages based on specific EPS targets are probably manipulating their revenue numbers in order to hit the target.​
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Accounting

A Crystal Ball for Borrowers and Lenders

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January 26, 2016

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If a company has proven it’s good at forecasting its operations, costs, and earnings, it’s a safe bet that it will be able to negotiate favorable debt contracts. Researchers find that the accuracy of a borrower’s management forecasts is a valuable screening tool for lenders, and that borrowers with more accurate forecasts receive lower interest rates.
https://youtu.be/qFVoc8xLU5U
Strategy

The Broken Link Between R&D and GDP Growth

Authors:

Dec. 15, 2015

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Outsourced research and development has zero returns and appears to be a key culprit in the broken link between R&D and GDP growth. Knott proposes how to restore R&D productivity and higher economic growth with evidence from her Research Quotient (RQ) analytics and case studies.
https://youtu.be/GE1Puc1L7Mc
Organizational Behavior

Clues to Creating Productive Teams

Authors:

Dec. 15, 2015

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Why people defer to one another in multidisciplinary teams shapes how effectively teams can leverage the diverse expertise of team members in order to produce innovative outputs.
http://youtu.be/y7qi3nQowZ4
Strategy

The Follower's Dilemma

Authors:
Nicholas S. Argyres | Jackson A. Nickerson | Lydia Bigelow, University of Utah

Oct. 1, 2014

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Innovation shocks shake up industries frequently and leave rival firms scrambling. Find out if your firm is ready to mount a strategic response to future shocks.
http://youtu.be/f_Ume0Zifdo
Organizational Behavior

Don't Sit Through Another Meeting

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Oct. 1, 2014

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Standing instead of sitting at meetings has several known benefits, but until now, researchers didn't have empirical data to prove it. Using wearable technology, researchers now have empirical evidence that detects advantages to standing versus sitting for more creative and productive meetings.
http://youtu.be/vCHfJZ9Z13s
Accounting

Follow the Money

Authors:
Xiumin Martin | Matthew T. Billett, Indiana University | Chen Chen, University of Auckland | Xin Wang, University of Hong Kong

Oct. 1, 2014

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If division heads don't report accurate numbers to corporate HQ or withhold important information, the firm is at risk. This research identifies a new way to detect an internal imbalance of information that could negatively affect firm value and shareholder confidence. ​​
http://youtu.be/LVGV1yRlihI
Marketing
Operations

Quantity vs. Price Theory Re-visited

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Oct. 1, 2014

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In a challenge to traditional quantity vs. price competition theory, researchers find that firms don't always follow the same supply chain path as expected. In fact, competitors within certain industry sectors will often choose opposite strategies.​​
http://youtu.be/SC3T6vx7Jv4
Marketing

Shoppers Like Messy Shelves

Authors:
Stephen M. Nowlis | Iana A. Castro, San Diego State University | Andrea C. Morales, Arizona State University

Oct. 1, 2014

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Marketing professors have discovered some surprising shopping behaviors in the grocery store aisles. It involves messy shelf displays, consumer psychology, the economic principle of scarcity and purchasing decisions. Find out what happens when all of these factors collide in the soap aisle and some practical tips for store managers and marketers emerge. Clean up in Aisle 2!
http://youtu.be/e1XnIRjeNqY
Marketing

When Product Expansion is Win-Win for Rivals

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Oct. 1, 2014

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Conventional wisdom dictates that when a company introduces a new product, rival companies will experience reduced profits. However, new research by Professor Raphael Thomadsen finds the opposite result.
http://youtu.be/csDsv8ZKTvg
Strategy

Steering Employees Away from Theft

Authors:
Lamar Pierce | Daniel Snow, Brigham Young University | Andrew McAfee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Oct. 1, 2014

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75% of employees steal from their workplace, leading to billions in lost revenue. Surveillance technology promises to help employers detect theft and change employees’ behavior.
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Strategy
Economics

Diversity Leads to Productive Teamwork

Authors:
Barton H. Hamilton | Jackson A. Nickerson | Hideo Owan, The University of Tokyo

Oct. 1, 2013

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Teams can be more productive than individuals, if they are made up of individuals with complementary skill sets. Diversity of ability trumps everything; teams of workers with varying skill levels perform better than homogenously skilled workers.
Finance

When Credit Rating Agencies Compete

Authors:
Todd T. Milbourn | Bo Becker, Harvard Business School

Oct. 1, 2013

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Increased competition among the three largest credit rating agencies between 1995-2006 not only drove up the ratings, it also made them slightly less accurate. There was less correlation between ultimate bond performance and the original rating scores.
http://youtu.be/br5BMykWzGk
Marketing

When Good News Is Bad

Authors:
Baojun Jiang | Kannan Srinivasan, Carnegie Mellon University

Oct. 1, 2013

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Good news can backfire on a firm if its competitors have effective marketing tactics to react. Researchers use game theory to analyze the effects of positive consumer reviews, demand, and production costs on pricing and advertising strategies.
http://www.olin.wustl.edu/EN-US/Faculty-Research/PublishingImages/emotional-intelligence.jpg
Organizational Behavior

How to Measure Emotional Intelligence

Authors:
Hillary Anger Elfenbein | Sigal Barsade, University of Pennsylvania | Noah Eisenkraft, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Oct. 1, 2013

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Olin professor has created a measurable tool to analyze emotional intelligence based on peer reporting and 360-degree feedback. Research presents first scientific evidence of validity for this tool.
Organizational Behavior

Managing Teams with Diverse Values

Authors:
Andrew P. Knight | Katherine J. Klein, University of Pennsylvania | Jonathan C. Ziegert, Drexel University | Beng Chong Lim, Ministry of Defence Singapore and Nanyang Technological University | Jessica L. Saltz, PepsiCo Inc.

Oct. 1, 2013

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Diversity is more than just gender, ethnicity, age, or nationality. Leaders must understand values diversity - differences in people's core underlying beliefs - to build a harmonious organization or team.
Marketing

When Consumers Don't Want Choices

Oct. 1, 2013

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Consumers like to have choices in the here and now, but when it comes to making decisions about future purchases that are six months away or more, they prefer a limited range of product choice according to research by a team of Olin professors.
Organizational Behavior

Management: A Calling or Just a Job?

Authors:
J. Stuart Bunderson | Jeffery A. Thompson, Brigham Young University

Oct. 1, 2013

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This study provides insights into the callings that different management professionals embrace (capitalist, crusader, agent, leader) and suggests that how you conceptualize your calling will affect how you manage and to whom you feel responsible.
http://youtu.be/OTWy4UMekf8
Marketing

Hidden Value of Google Search Ads

Authors:
Tat Y. Chan | Ying Xie, PhD, Olin Business School | Chunhua Wu, PhD, Olin Business School

Oct. 1, 2012

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As the number of online advertising and marketing channels has exploded, many business owners wonder if purchasing an Internet keyword search ad is worth the cost. Olin researchers Tat Chan, Chunhua Wu, and Ying Xie have an answer.​
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Finance

Innovative Financial Products are Risky Business

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Oct. 1, 2012

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Prof. Anjan Thakor finds seeds for the 2008 financial crisis in innovative and complex financial products (i.e. credit default swaps; bundles of subprime mortgages), that are inherently risky but less susceptible to imitation by competitors.
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Strategy

Pitfalls of Performance-Based Pay

Authors:
Lamar Pierce | Ian Larkin and Francesca Gino, Harvard University

Oct. 1, 2012

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Performance-based pay may not always be the best plan for nonexecutive employees according to this research that challenges dominant economic theory of strategic compensation.
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Organizational Behavior

Women Threatened by Women in the Workplace

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Oct. 1, 2012

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Lone women in higher--status work groups may actually perceive other women candidates for their group as a dual threat. This research reveals fears and reservations among female peers that ultimately affect performance and diversity at the highest levels of the corporate ladder.
http://youtu.be/I7wPpxyJZ64
Finance

Short Sellers: Villains or Visionaries?

Authors:
Matthew Ringgenberg | Adam Reed, University of North Carolina | Joey Engelberg, University of California–San Diego

Oct. 1, 2012

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New research suggests that short sellers – traders who profit from stock trades when the stock price falls in the future – may actually be well-informed visionaries, with a knack for interpreting company news and the underlying value of a company’s stock.​
/EN-US/Faculty-Research/PublishingImages/bells-whistles.jpg
Marketing

Consumers Want, but Don't Use Hi-tech Features

Authors:
Joseph K. Goodman | Caglar Irmak, University of South Carolina

Oct. 1, 2012

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Having the latest version of a gadget with all the bells and whistles is often more important to consumers than actually using the new features. New research suggests that manufacturers and retailers may suffer from a decrease in customer loyalty when consumers are caught paying more for multifunctional products but not using them.
http://youtu.be/vRI_ptfxAAI
Finance

Managing Firm Risk: Prepare for Worst

Authors:

Oct. 1, 2012

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Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is more important than ever. Banking and strategy expert, Stuart Greenbaum shares examples of failed ERM and why institutions must be prepared to respond to future hazards and control them.
Strategy
Lessons in timing emerge from this study of more than seven thousand bank closures between 1984-1997. The researchers apply an algorithm to the data and it proves to be a good tool to identify when a firm should cut losses and exit.
http://youtu.be/_FPozO0S5_k
Finance
Researchers propose using "pay duration" a weighted average of the vesting periods of pay components including salary, bonus, option grants and restricted stock, as a formula to calibrate executive compensation packages.
http://youtu.be/obgqpH7aVbQ
Organizational Behavior

Home Field Advantage in Negotiation

Authors:
Markus Baer | Graham Brown, University of British Columbia

Oct. 1, 2011

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Location can be a very important aspect in approaching a negotiation. Through a series of experiments, researchers discover there is a home field advantage. So lure the other party to your office when possible, but when asking for a raise, meet the boss on neutral territory.
Operations

How Supply Chains Cope with Uncertain Lead Times

Authors:
Panos Kouvelis | Jian Li, College of Business and Management at Northeastern Illinois University

Oct. 1, 2011

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​With greater globalization and outsourcing comes longer and variable lead times within supply chains. Natural disasters, political turmoil, and labor disputes can also disrupt deliveries. Researchers present two new contingency strategies to avoid the high costs and lost sales caused by disruptions.
http://youtu.be/9ES957iYk34
Accounting

Finding Leaks in Banking's Chinese Wall

Authors:
Xiumin Martin | Ting Chen, Baruch College, The City University of New York

Oct. 1, 2011

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A “Chinese wall,” or “informational firewall,” exists to inhibit the flow of inside information from the private to the public side of banking conglomerates. But researchers reveal cracks in the wall allow insider information about clients of on the bank's lending side can leak to equity analysts who predict earnings of the same clients' companies.