Nick Argyres’ and Durai Sundaramoorthi’s papers tie for 2024 Olin Award

  • February 28, 2024
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 2 minute read

On Tuesday, Dean Mike Mazzeo announced the 2024 Olin Award winners: Nick Argyres and Durai Sundaramoorthi.

Argyres is Olin’s Vernon W. & Marion K. Piper Professor of Strategy. Sundaramoorthi is a professor of practice in data analytics.

They met with Mazzeo in the dean’s suite Tuesday afternoon for the announcement—a surprise for them.

“You’re the winners of the Olin Award!” Mazzeo said.

The award comes with a $25,000 prize, to be split in this case. Richard Mahoney, Olin's distinguished executive in residence and former chairman and CEO of Monsanto, initiated and funds the award, in its 17th year, to promote scholarly research with practical business applications.

Judges chose the winning papers from 20 that faculty members submitted. “Let me offer congratulations on behalf of the judges,” said Mahoney, who was in the room. “I will thank the judges for their wisdom.”

Mazzeo praised Sundaramoorthi for coming up with “a powerful way to address supply shortages in emergency situations”— such as the ventilator shortage in hospitals during the Covid pandemic. The paper, "Management of Resource Sharing in Emergency Response Using Data-driven Analytics," was published recently in Annals of Operations Research. Among Sundaramoorthi’s coauthors are Salih Tutun, Samira Fazel Anvaryazdi and Mohammadhossein Amini, all Olin lecturers in data analytics.

“Your models to share resources show a way to meet 98% of the demand in a group of highly stressed states and almost 100% of the demand in other states,” Mazzeo said. He added that one judge noted that the research can apply to any industry with limited resources that can be misaligned.

Important implications for managers

Mazzeo praised Argyres’ research for offering valuable insight into how some firms quickly develop future innovations—spawned by their existing innovations. “It turns out a well-connected internal researcher network can hugely benefit a firm. And that has important implications for managers, who can influence researchers’ connectedness.”

The paper, “Internal Network Structure and the Speed of Generative Appropriability,” is under review at Strategic Management Journal. Mazzeo said one judge noted the paper provides “very positive additions to organization strategy and structure considerations.”

Argyres said he was pleasantly surprised, grateful and flattered to learn he’d won the Olin Award. For a long time, his research focused on building foundations for the field of strategy. Then, with the recent paper, “I felt like, finally, there’s something I think executives can get their teeth around.”

Sundaramoorthi, a second-time award winner, said he was equally surprised and flattered. He and his coauthors started their research as soon as they learned of the ventilator shortage during the pandemic.

The authors will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Award event on April 4. Then, they’ll present their research at the Olin Awards Luncheon on April 9. 

About the Author

Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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