Research universities ask questions, generate knowledge and solve problems. According to the Association of American Universities, research-focused universities perform more than half of the nation’s basic research, the results of which are applied to real-world problems every day.
Why does a school’s research agenda matter for MBA candidates? According to a 2014 Financial Times article by Paul Danos, then-Dean of Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School, it’s one thing that all great MBA programs have in common: a strong representation of outstanding researchers. The reason for this is that part of the value of earning an MBA from a leading school is the expertise that students receive from their professors.
“Broadly speaking, business professors are experts in how to explore the limits of knowledge in important fields,” explained Danos. “Their students should be introduced to that expertise because they have a lot to gain from learning how knowledge is created and how the value of business techniques can be developed and tested.”
Students at research universities also benefit from cutting-edge knowledge that is too new to be found in case studies or textbooks. Because the research conducted by business schools focuses on solving real-world issues, MBA students at research universities have more exposure to new analytical approaches that can be applied to practical problems. Students at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business are among those who enjoy the benefits of studying at a research institution.
The Foster School’s Research Rankings
Based on a recent ranking from the Financial Times, the UW Foster School’s faculty placed #1 in research productivity among those at public universities, #7 in the world and #6 in the nation. This ranking, part of the 2017 Global MBA Rankings, was developed based on the number of research papers published by each business school’s faculty between January 2014 and October 2016. Papers must have been published in one of a list of 50 selected scholarly journals representing a variety of business disciplines. To come up with the final result, the ranking was weighted to reflect the size of each school’s faculty.
In the end, the Foster School tied with both Columbia and MIT for research productivity, up nine spots from the previous year’s ranking. The Foster School’s faculty also performed well on other research-focused rankings. According to the 2017 Top 100 Business School Research Rankings, compiled by the University of Texas at Dallas based on a five-year period of study, the Foster School ranks 22nd in the nation and 23rd in the world. Of note, the UT ranking does not account for faculty size in comparing schools.
Top Research Disciplines
As for the business areas that receive the top accolades at the Foster School of Business, multiple departments have appeared on various discipline-specific rankings.
- Department of Management & Organization: Based on the Management Department Productivity Ranking published by Texas A&M University in 2016, the Foster School’s Department of Management & Organization ranked fifth overall in the U.S.
- Department of Finance and Business Economics: According to the Finance Ranking Index produced by Arizona State University, Foster’s Department of Finance and Business Economics generated the fifth most publications in the top four finance journals from 2014 to 2015.
- Department of Accounting: According to Accounting Rankings compiled by Brigham Young University in 2016, the Foster Accounting Department ranked 30th in the world in accounting research productivity. In financial accounting, the School ranks 13th in the world, and for managerial accounting it ranks 23rd.
Top 3 Foster School Research Articles in 2016
Based on a ranking by the Foster School, the following were the three most-read research briefs produced by school faculty last year.
- Tiger Managers: Written by Scott Reynolds, Associate Professor of Business Ethics, the article looks at what it takes to motivate employees. Reynolds found that pushing too hard to motivate employees can backfire: “when employees feel compelled by extrinsic forces—supervisory demands, formal and informal norms, threat of punishment—to engage in organizational citizenship behaviors, we certainly expect to see a negative effect on attitude.”
- Inappropriate Appropriation: This study by Mark Forehand, Professor of Marketing and the Pigott Family Professor in Business Administration, finds evidence that Native American sports imagery activates common ethnic stereotypes. “Our findings suggest that everyday encounters with ethnic brand imagery can strengthen consumers’ implicit stereotypes, though these effects depend on the political identity of the perceiver.”
- March Market Madness: Does workplace productivity suffer when the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins? Jacob Thornock, Associate Professor of Accounting, found that “there’s no doubt that March Madness is a distraction to labor and productivity. But we didn’t expect to find the same distraction affecting financial analysts and investors—highly educated and motivated professionals who have considerable amounts of money on the line.”
Research Professor Spotlight
Most recently, Professor Robert Palmatier, Professor of Marketing at the Foster School, was ranked the 12th most prolific marketing researcher in the world by the American Marketing Association. From 2007 to 2016, Palmatier published 17 papers in the four most influential scholarly marketing journals: the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science and the Journal of Consumer Research.
His research is focused on marketing strategy, relationship marketing, marketing channel theory and strategy and customer relationships and loyalty. His 2017 paper, discussing consumer concerns about big data marketing was featured in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
Palmatier was named a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar in 2007 and the SMA Palgrave Promising Youth Scholar in 2008. He also received the Journal of Marketing’s Harold H. Marynard Award for his contribution to marketing theory and thought in 2008, as well as winning the American Marketing Association’s Varadarajan Award for his Early Contribution to Marketing Strategy Research in 2012. Can we look up a few MBA courses he teaches? This might help bring things home for our audience.
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