Happiness for Sale: Do Experiential or Material Purchases Lead to Greater Happiness?

New research address a gap in the happiness literature: how particular purchases affect happiness. This gap may be due to a surprising agreement among theorists on this issue. Perhaps the theory has proved so convincing that experimentalists saw no need to test it. From as early as the time of David Hume through the eras of Tibor Scitovsky and many others, the sentiment has been … [ Read more ]

Nickel and Dimed: The Effect of Surcharges on Purchase Decisions

Olin research studies how surcharges affect consumers’ purchase decisions, especially when they are offered by sellers with low versus high reputations. The results from scenario-based studies and eBay data show that surcharges affect purchases more for low- (versus high-) reputation sellers. This interaction of surcharges and seller reputation is looked at across four studies.

Teamwork: Stuart Bunderson explains why group projects don’t always mean everyone learns

Group work is the name of the game in many companies. The thinking is that workers will learn more and help each other when they are put into groups composed of people with a variety of expertise. But does this always happen? Some recent research suggests that it may not … at least not always.

Want Your Company to be Innovative?

Most companies are not innovative. Few companies have a senior executive responsible for innovation. Few executives have taken a course in innovation. My surveys of executives at 18 companies show that they want to become more innovative. But they don’t know where to start.

My recommendation? Have your entire top management team read “Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution” … [ Read more ]

Investment Bias Still Favors Male-owned Firms, Despite Proven Success of Female CEOs

The evidence of women’s success in the corporate world is plentiful. But two professors from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis wondered whether women’s evident prowess in business is something that most people generally recognize when making investment decisions. Their conclusion: perceptions of female business leaders aren’t keeping up with reality.

To Change a Culture, Start with Changing Behavior

For all the uniqueness, there seem to be certain values held in common by all high-performance companies. That’s the conclusion of Dr. Robert Lefton, co-founder of Psychological Associates in Clayton.

Since its founding in 1958, Psychological Associates has used behavioral science to provide business solutions. It has worked with most of the Fortune 500 companies as well as many small and midsize organizations. Lefton says the … [ Read more ]

Chuck Knight

Although Jack Welch may have broader name recognition with the general public, business executives and scholars respect Chuck Knight as being in the same elite league of business executives. Knight was head of Ferguson-based Emerson for 27 years, during which Emerson’s earnings per share increased for 108 consecutive quarters. This interview discusses Knight’s new book and his 10 lessons for business success.

Martin Cripps, Jeroen Swinkels

A demand and supply curve is a useful fiction, just a story we tell ourselves. It’s not how markets operate. Demand and supply only works when there are enough people in the market, and you need an awful lot of people. Finding out how many is a problem we’re trying to solve. Game theory has become the tool for understanding interactions in markets with a … [ Read more ]

Repairing Trust: No Easy Task

Can Martha Stewart regain the trust of her customers or could Enron’s former chief Ken Lay get a new job under the clouds of suspicion left in the wake of their legal problems?

It depends upon the match between how they respond to the allegations and the extent to which the alleged offense is perceived to involve their integrity or their competence, according to a recent … [ Read more ]

Authentic Leadership: The Other Side of the Story

If the river of contemporary leadership theory flows downstream towards authenticity, why attempt to swim upstream by suggesting that there is another side to authenticity? Leadership is less about the inner self than it is about how the leader transforms the identities of followers by modeling alternative plots or “possible selves.”

Advances in Technology Impact Value of Workers’ Skills

It is no secret that advances in technology can greatly impact the value of workers’ skills. Older workers often find the updating of complex technology uneconomic, while younger workers acquire and readily employ skills tailored to the newest technology. The result: the latter group’s productivity rises, diminishing the value of output produced by their older counterparts. A recently published study is the first to model … [ Read more ]

Making Mergers Work

Buyers and merger partners assume that the new, integrated company will be more competitive and create more shareholder value than the separately owned companies. Usually, announcements of mergers and acquisitions are made with great fanfare, and solemn promises are given that the synergies and the good strategic fit will increase shareholder value.

Reality suggests otherwise. A 1999 study published in the Harvard Business Review found … [ Read more ]

Does Decimalization Harm or Help Institutional Investors?

“Decimalization” – the pricing of stocks in dollars and cents instead of fractions – lauded by proponents to be a good thing for investors when it was adopted by the U.S. stock markets in early 2001, is under fire. Critics say it costs institutional investors big. But in a study co-authored by Venkatesh Panchapagesan, assistant professor of finance at Olin, direct institutional trading costs appear … [ Read more ]

Contracts: the Foundation for a Flexible Economy

Professor Todd Zenger examines issues regarding
trust, envy, and committed relationships. His studies show that
contracts, and the legal system that supports them, provide the
foundation on which a flexible and responsive economy is built.

The Fit and the Pendulum

“An astute observer of large corporations, Professor Todd R. Zenger noticed that many companies appeared to switch back and forth irrationally between a centralized and decentralized structure. Traditional organizational theory dictates that organizations choose a structure based on the notion of “contingent fit.” That is, an organization’s structure is matched to market strategies, exchange conditions, or the environment. As long as these factors remain stable, … [ Read more ]

The Right Mix in Product Line Design Increases Profits for the Firm

Determining the right mix of products to offer in the marketplace has long been considered the purview of a firm’s marketing team. New research conducted by Olin Professor Panos Kouvelis reveals that operational implications of product line decisions are not to be overlooked.

“The era of unrestrained line extensions is over. Firms that align products and production-distribution systems with customer needs will create stronger margins … [ Read more ]

Regulatory Challenges Facing U.S. Equity Markets

The issues that confront the SEC and the U.S. equity markets are highly complex. While the SEC has not set a timetable to resolve these issues, it is clear that speedy resolution is imperative for the survival of many markets.