Consumer and Organizational Studies

Rohan Crichton: Assistant Professor of Consumer and Organizational Studies

Reh School of Business Marketing Initiative

Dr. Crichton’s research program sits at the intersection of Human Resource Management and Sustainability. Such questions arising from this area might be: How can executive compensation practices be modified to ensure organizational greener practices? How can board diversity better support responsible leadership? Or, how might organizational culture support enhanced sustainability practices? 
His most recent research has been published in such outlets as Journal of Cleaner Production and Business and Society Review. Dr. Crichton also recently co-edited a UNEP endorsed sustainability book on several of these interrelated topics: https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Sustainable-Financial-System-Socio-Ecological-ebook/dp/B0796P6845
Dr. Crichton hopes to continue to collaborate with industry experts, academics, policy makers and even students. Dr. Crichton’s position is that a co-designed investigation into a research problem has the capacity to bring about innovative solutions that are not confined to traditional disciplinary silos. 
As a case in point, his most recent co-authored diversity management piece (Clearing up the benefits of a fossil fuel sector diversified board: A climate change mitigation strategy) with Reh School of Business, honours student, Nicole Ellegate takes a multidisciplinary approach to examining board diversity as an innovative solution in tackling climate change. Utilizing data from 69 fossil fuel organizations, findings suggest that increasing female representation and foreign culture representation on the board can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the main contributor to climate change. In part, this is achieved through the diversified board’s enhanced ability to identify stakeholder needs and, subsequently, conceive of more effective and responsibly innovative solutions.

 

Economics and Financial Studies

Mathematical Economics

Dr. Michael Sacks

When he was an undergraduate, Michael Sacks was interested in game theory — an interest that changed his ambitions from business law to economics. By the time he attended graduate school (he received his PhD in economics and an MA focused on mathematical behavioral sciences from the University of California, Irvine), his interests had broadened to include social dynamics.
After serving as a visiting professor at the University of Louisville and West Virginia University, he joined the faculty of the Reh School of Business in Fall 2020 as an assistant professor of economics & financial studies. In his first semester at Clarkson, Professor Sacks taught Game Theory, Industrial Supply Chain Economics, required courses for mathematical economics majors. He also taught the Economics of Innovation, which covers the incentives faced by firms and entrepreneurs to innovate to lower production costs and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Sacks's research interests are in game theory, industrial organization, innovation economics, social dynamics, and the economics of culture and religion. He has published work on competition between open source and proprietary software, strategic alliances in organizations, and on education, identity, and community in top economics journals.
In his research, Prof. Sacks studies the effects of diversity when individuals’ decisions are influenced by the decisions of others. “I draw on tools from standard and evolutionary game theory to study both industrial organization and social dynamics,” he says. 
Recently, Prof. Sacks coauthored a paper with Associate Professor of Economics Jiawei Chen of the University of California, Irvine, titled “Reimbursing Consumer Switching Costs in Network Industries.” Using a duopoly model, the researchers examined how small and large firms’ decisions to reimburse consumers’ switching costs in network industries can affect market concentration and pricing. 
“A larger firm uses the reimbursement as an additional instrument to propel itself to market dominance,” he says. “Consequently, an increase in the switching cost increases market concentration for these companies. It also results in greater consumer welfare, as customers are helped by larger network benefits and often lower effective prices.” 
The two researchers are currently working on follow-up research to understand the effects of allowing consumers to pay to lower their own switching costs (e.g., by allowing them to purchase support services) on market structure and efficiency. 
Prof. Sacks has also published research on competition between open source and propriety software, strategic alliances in nonprofit organizations, and education, identity and community in journals such as Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, The Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Management Information Systems, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy and Public Choice.

 

Dr. Bebonchu Atems

Bebonchu Atems is a Professor of Economics and Financial Studies in the School of Business at Clarkson University. Atems joined the David D. Reh School of Business in 2011 after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Maryland at College Park, and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Kansas State University. Much of his research examines how incorporating nonlinearities and allowing for asymmetries in time-series models enhances current understanding of the macroeconomic effects of changes in renewable and nonrenewable energy prices, fiscal policy, and financial markets. Another aspect of his research investigates how explicitly accounting for spatial in economic models affects regional economic growth. Recently, his research has examined issues related to income inequality, crime, entrepreneurship, transportation, and health. He has presented his research at numerous national and international academic conferences, and published more than 30 articles in such professional journals as The Oxford Bulletin of Economics and StatisticsMacroeconomic DynamicsHealth EconomicsEconomic InquiryRegional Science & Urban EconomicsEconomics LettersJournal of Regional Science, and Energy Economics. He has reviewed over 40 journal articles for more than 26 journals. In 2020, he was awarded the David D. Reh School of Business Faculty Research Award for excellence in research.

Atems teaches Econometrics at the undergraduate level. He has also taught Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, and Probability and Statistics. At the graduate level, he has taught Applied Economics, Probability and Statistics for Analytics, and Data Mining. He has received several accolades for teaching excellence in the Reh School and universitywide, including the Outstanding New Teacher Award, the Clarkson University Student Association (CUSA) Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Dr. Ralph Janaro Memorial Faculty Award.

Bebonchu Atems Research with Students

 

  1. Atems Bebonchu, Emily McGrawMichael Maresca, and Baomei Ma. “The Impact of El Niño-Southern Oscillation on U.S. Food and Agricultural Stock Prices”, Water Resources and Economics, October 2020, vol. 32, 100157.

URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212428420300025

 

Summary of Research:

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring weather phenomenon that involves fluctuations in winds and ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean. The weather phenomenon, which usually occurs around December, can have varying intensities. El Niño refers to the warm phase of the ENSO cycle, while La Niña refers to the cool phase. These weather changes have considerable impacts on the world's distribution of water resources and water supply. As many countries depend on rainfall and groundwater as sources of freshwater, ENSO can have significant impacts on freshwater resources, which in turn, may have considerable effects on human health, agricultural production, and even stock prices. 

Extensive research has documented significant effects of ENSO occurrences on U.S. agricultural output. The finding that ENSO affects agricultural output has motivated another line of research examining the impact of ENSO on agricultural commodity prices. To the extent that ENSO affects agricultural output and agricultural commodity prices, it should affect the stock prices of major food and agricultural companies, as well.

In this paper, Emily McGraw, Michael Maresca, and Baomei Ma estimate the effect of ENSO on the stock returns of major U.S. food and agricultural companies. Our results show that for seven of the twelve stock returns considered, an ENSO shock has a positive and significant effect, while the responses of the remaining stock returns are insignificant.

 

  1. Atems, Bebonchu and Qingyang Liu. “Public Education Expenditures, Taxation, and Growth: A State-Level Analysis.” Applied Economics Letters, January 2020, vol. 27, pp. 1730-1734.

URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2020.1717424

Summary of Research:

The last decade has been a punishing one for school funding. Following the 2007 financial crisis and the subsequent recession, public investment in education decreased considerably in many U.S. states. As early as Spring 2008, many states had began to implement budget cuts as the financial crisis and the recession had already considerably reduced state revenues. By the end of fiscal year 2009, 34 states had cut spending on K-12 education and 43 had cut college and university expenditures. California, for instance, passed a budget on July 24, 2009 that contained more than $6.1 billion in cuts to K-12 education, and $2 billion in cuts to higher education. Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett's 2011-2012 state budget called for $1 billion in cuts to statewide education, which included $550 million in cuts to basic education, $2.4 million cut to pre-school funding, and the elimination of accountability block grants, which amounted to a $259.5 million cut to school districts. In Kansas, cuts to state public education amounted to $44.5 million, of which $28 million consisted of cuts to elementary and secondary education, and more than $16 million from higher education. As of 2017, real per capita education expenditures in 29 states were still lower than pre-recession levels.
In this paper, Qingyang Liu and I study the impact of education spending on economic growth. We find a robust positive effect of education spending on state economic growth.

  1. Bebonchu Atems and Grayden Shand. “An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Entrepreneurship and Income Inequality”, Small Business Economics, January 2018, pp. 1-18

URLhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11187-017-9984-1  

Summary of Research:

Over the last four decades, the U.S. has experienced a significant rise in income inequality. Researchers have attributed this increase to a multitude of factors, including skill-biased technological change, trade and financial, changes in labor market institutions, income redistribution policies, monetary policy, and educational attainment. Parallel to the increase in income inequality in the U.S. has been a rise in entrepreneurship.

In this paper, Grayden Shand and I investigate whether entrepreneurship affects inequality or whether this correlation is an empirical coincidence. We use data on all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (DC) from 1989 to 2013. We use the number of self-employed as a fraction of the total labor force (self-employment rate) as the measure of entrepreneurship. Our results show evidence of a strong positive relationship between entrepreneurship and income inequality.

  1. Atems, Bebonchu and Grayden Shand. “Entrepreneurship and Income Inequality: A Spatial Econometric Approach”, Journal of Income Distribution, March-June 2020, vol. 29, 115-137.

URLhttps://jid.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jid/article/view/40434

Summary of Research:

This paper extends research on the relationship between entrepreneurship and inequality by explicitly considering spatial dependence. An important and distinguishing feature of both inequality and entrepreneurship is that they have a spatial dimension. Hence, it is necessary to account for spatial dependence in the relationship between entrepreneurship and inequality at the U.S. state level. This need arises from the fact that potential entrepreneurs in a given state make location and other decisions depending not only on economic opportunities and market conditions within their own state but also on opportunities and market conditions in other states, and on their proximity to those states.

Grayden Shand and I build on our previous paper by exploiting methodological advances in the spatial econometrics literature to examine the relationship between entrepreneurship and income inequality using a modeling framework that incorporates both temporal and spatial dimensions. We obtain evidence that entrepreneurship within a state significantly increases income inequality within that state. However, we find little support for the hypothesis that entrepreneurship has statistically significant spatial spillover effects. 

  1. Atems, Bebonchu, Lance Bachmeier, and Corey Williams. “Do Jet Fuel Price Movements Help Forecast Airline Fares and the Demand for Air Travel?”, Applied Economics Letters, 2019, vol. 26, pp. 877-882.

URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2018.1510466  

Summary of Research:

Labor and fuel costs represent the major cost sources for airlines. Fuel costs constituted approximately 20% to 50% of total costs for airlines in 2014, while labor costs accounted for about 32.9% of systemwide unit cost. Whereas labor costs are generally stable in the short run, jet fuel costs tend to fluctuate significantly depending on crude oil prices.

As a consequence of the high volatility of the price of jet fuel relative to other costs, consumers, airline industry firms, and financial market participants, pay special attention to fuel costs when predicting airline industry variables. Consumers concerned about the cost and availability of air travel, time their purchases based on expected ticket prices and the possibility that preferred flights sell out. Airline industry firms need an estimate of future ticket prices and overall demand for air travel when making scheduling and related decisions. Financial market participants value airline industry stocks based on projected future airline revenue. Despite the huge cost share of jet fuel for airlines, and the uncertainty caused by fluctuations in jet fuel prices, not much research has addressed the question of the predictability of airline variables following jet fuel price movements. 

Corey Williams and Lance Bachmeier examine whether jet fuel price movements are helpful as predictors of airline industry variables. We investigate whether including jet fuel price movements in standard time-series models helps improve the in-sample fit and out-of-sample forecasts of aviation industry variables. We find some evidence of predictability of airfares. For other airline industry variables, the improvements in forecast accuracy are at best minimal.

  1. Atems, Bebonchu and Chelsea Hotaling. “Renewable and Nonrenewable Electricity Generation and Economic Growth” Energy Policy, January 2018, vol. 112, pp. 111-118

URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421517306389

Summary of Research:

Many things have changed to shape the world we live in today. Underlying them all is an abundant, relatively uninterrupted supply of energy. Energy is fundamental to all sectors of modern economies, and therefore underpins all of our economic activities. Yet if current trends continue, global energy demand is projected to double by 2050. How then can we increase global energy supply to satisfy this growing demand? How can we develop reliable, alternative, and sustainable energy sources to meet that demand? What will be the environmental, political, and economic consequences of this increase in energy demand?

Extensive research in economics and related disciplines has sought to address these questions. One aspect of energy that has received considerable attention recently is the impact of electricity on economic growth. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of renewable and nonrenewable electricity generation on economic growth using data for a panel of 174 countries over the period 1980–2012. Our results indicate a strong positive and statistically significant relationship between electricity generation and growth. When we disaggregate total electricity generation into renewable and nonrenewable generation, the results remain positive and significant. A battery of tests show that these findings are robust across different measures of electricity generation, and different model specifications. Our results also indicate that electric power losses resulting from transmission, distribution, and theft have a statistically significant negative relationship with economic growth. With increasing awareness of clean energy sources and rising concern about climate change, the finding that renewable and nonrenewable electricity generation each have positive impacts on economic growth implies that countries can gradually transition to renewable sources without necessarily impeding economic growth. 

Guoyu Lin: Assistant Professor of Economics and Financial Studies

Undergraduate students and projects supervised by Dr. Lin:

  1. Guoyu Lin, Laura Wing (Undergraduate in Supply Chain Management and Civil Engireeing-Project Management) and Richard Pandel (Undergraduate in Financial Information and Accounting) 
  • Title: “Teaching ethics in accounting undergraduate classroom: a case study from a private university from the Northeast ” 

Conference: Accepted for presentation in Conference: American Accounting Association Teaching Learning and Curriculum Midyear Colloquium, 2021. 

  1. Guoyu Lin is also supervising Aaron Lamar (Undergraduate in Financial information and accounting) in a research project: AC 487-Special project in Accounting from Fall 2021.
     
  2. Current work-in-progress with undergraduate student Brian Foote (Clarkson University Class of 2022 Financial Information & Analysis Biology w/ Medicine and Healthcare Minor) on a project on “Sustainability and Accounting” 
Engineering and Management

Engineering & Management

Research with Students

Golshan Madraki, Assistant Professor and Engineering & Management, Reh School of Business, Clarkson University.

It is a great pleasure to collaborate with my undergraduate students and conduct so many wonderful research projects with them. Here, I just highlighted a few of these studies, which are already published, and hopefully more of our work-in-progress papers will be published soon. I brought samples of three major categories:

A. Some of these publications have been originally my students’ class project, which turned out to be perfect potential for extension and make a publication out of it such as:

 

Authors: Kurtic, G. (undergraduate student)Tessier, A. (undergraduate student),  Madraki, G.

TitleLeadership Style for Various Industries with High Rate of Turnover.  

Journal: In IIE Annual Conference Proceedings May 2019. Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE).

  • At the time of conducting this project, Gillian Kurtic and Allie Tessier were both E&M students in my Project Management (EM380) class and were interested in research related to leadership topic. In this study, we proposed a novel algorithm which can quantitatively determine an efficient leadership style for an industry given its particular characteristics. We specifically focused on industries with high rate of turnover. Gillian is currently an MBA student and Allie is a senior. They attended the IISE-2019 conference in Orlando, FL, to present their work (Please see the Figure 1).

 

Authors: Merritt J. (undergraduate student), Madraki G.

Title: Campus COVID-19 Testing strategies: Case study of Clarkson University.  

Journal/ConferenceProceedings of the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) 2021 International Annual Conference.

  • Jacob Merritt was a senior E&M student when he decided to work on this topic for his final project in my System Engineering (EM 482) class, Fall 2020, while the pandemic situation had become catastrophic. We analyzed the COVID-19 testing procedure at Clarkson University currently testing 300 students a week to sample the prevalence on campus and attempt to stop COVID-19 at its source. this analysis, pooled testing is looked at as a viable option to reduce cost or be able to test more students at the same cost. He virtually presented his work in the ASEM-2021 a few weeks ago. 

 

B. Some other publications have been the results of our on-going mega-research project initiated 1.5 years ago when our initial faculty research team (Dr. Jeanna Matthews from CS department, Dr. Yu Liu from ECE department, and myself) successfully received the Clarkson University Epidemic and Virus-Related Research Innovation Fund. The following are a few examples:

Authors: Madraki, G., Grasso, I. (undergraduate student), M. Otala, J. (graduate student), Liu, Y., & Matthews, J. (2021, April). 

Title: Characterizing and comparing COVID-19 misinformation across languages, countries and platforms. 

Journal/Conference: In Companion Proceedings of the Web Conference 2021 (pp. 213-223).

 

  • In this study, we investigated COVID-19 misinformation/ disinformation on social media in multiple languages/countries: Chinese (Mandarin)/China, English/USA, and Farsi (Persian)/Iran; and on multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Weibo, WeChat and TikTok. At the time, Izzie Grasso was undergraduate Data Analytics student working with Dr. Matthew. Jackie Otala was a former E&M student who is currently working on her master’s degree in the Engineering Science Program, and I am her research advisor. Izzie and Jackie Otala (Master student in Engineering Science) were both interested in this project and could successfully collaborate on data collection and analysis. Jackie Otala presented this work in INFORMS 2021, Los Angeles, CA. (Please see Figure 2).

 

Authors: M. Otala, J. (graduate student), Kurtic, G. (undergraduate student), Grasso, I. (undergraduate student), Liu, Y., Matthews, J., & Madraki, G. (2021, April). 

Title: Political Polarization and Platform Migration: A Study of Parler and Twitter Usage by United States of America Congress Members. 

Journal/conference: In Companion Proceedings of the Web Conference 2021 (pp. 224-231).

  • In this paper, we examine one of the most impactful of social media platform migration efforts, a recent effort primarily on the political right to shift from Twitter to Parler, in response to Twitter’s increased efforts to flag misinformation in the lead up to the 2020 election in the US. As a case study, we analyze the usage of Parler by all members of the United States Congress and compare that to their usage of Twitter. Izzie Grasso and Jackie Otala were already the active members of our research team when we started this project simultaneously working on the COVID misinformation paper. Gillian Kutic who were working on her honor thesis also join us on this project given our history doing research together. (Please see Figure 3 and 4) .

C. The following showcases the last category of publications which have been considered as our respond to a pop-up research opportunities, e.g., call for paper, invitation in a special issue of a Journal, proposal solicitations, etc.

Authors: Otala, J. (graduate student), Minard (undergraduate student), A., Madraki, G., & Mousavian, S. (2021). 

Title: Graph-Based Modeling in Shop Scheduling Problems: Review and Extensions. 

JournalApplied Sciences11(11), 4741.

  • Jackie Otala’s thesis is about the algorithms and graph theory applications. I was invited by the editor of the journal of Applied Sciences to conduct the review study in their special issue to investigate the applications of graph theory to model manufacturing systems problems, particularly within scheduling context. I found this as a great opportunity to involve Jackie. Dr. Amir Mousavian, the Director of E&M, who also has a great background in manufacturing problem also willingly joined us. Then, Alden Minard who was E&M Senior student showed a huge interest in this research and we could publish a valuable comprehensive robust study reviewing 143 papers published from 2015-2021 on the topic of modeling shop scheduling problem using different type of graphs. 

 

A couple of women standing in front of a large screen

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Figure 1: Gill Kurtic and Allie Tessier attendant the IISE-2019, Orlando, FL, to present their work.

 

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Figure 2:Jackie Otala, presenting our paper in INFORMS 2021, Los Angeles, CA.

 

 

A picture containing outdoor, grass, building, ground

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Figure 3: I have been Gill Kurtic’s advisor for her Honor Thesis while doing several research projects together. 

 

 

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Figure 4: Our Research Team collaborating for more than 1.5 years.

 

R John Milne

R John Milne is the Neil '64 & Karen Bonke Associate Professor of engineering & Management in the Reh School of Business at Clarkson University. Milne has been a faculty member since 2010. His research focuses on extending operations research methodologies to address practical problems in supply chain management. Milne has 34 refereed journal articles and more than 40 U.S. patents. An article he published in 2015 was designated as the President’s Pick by the Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Since 2013, Milne has served as the special issue editor of an annual issue of Interfaces focusing on the Franz Edelman Finalist Award papers. In 2016, he became chair of CPMS, the practice section of INFORMS. Milne teaches courses in operations research, operations and supply chain management, and a capstone design project-based class for engineering & management seniors. His students have filed 33 provisional patent applications. In 2015, he received the Reh School of Business Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

Publications with Undergraduate Students:

  1. Milne, R.J. and (Clarkson undergraduate student) Kelly, A.R., (2014), “A new method for boarding passengers onto an airplane,” Journal of Air Transport Management, 34(1):93-100 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2013.08.006).
  2. Milne, R.J., Denton, B.T., and (Clarkson undergraduate student) White, T., (2015) “ASP, The Art and Science of Practice: How Analytics Practitioners Can Learn from Published Patents and Protect Their Work,” Interfaces, 45(3):271-277 (INFORMS President's Pick, June 2015).

Patents:

My inventing students often file provisional patent applications. Provisional patent applications are not publicly available. The U.S. Patent Office files them in an electronic drawer that is private. Because I did not facilitate inventing this past Spring, the most recent student inventions are from 2020. I don’t know if Marketing would want them but here they are:

Provisional U.S. patent applications filed by Milne’s students in 2020.

  1. Cardinuto, A., Hill, C., Hill, J., LoMascolo, D., and Pendris, C., “Solar Panel Frame,” Application 63/126116, filed December 16, 2020.
  2. Morrill, R., Tessier, A., and Ulrich-Verderber, L., “Face mask for visual communication and air filtration,” Application 63/126035, filed December 16, 2020.
  3. Forrester, E., Noll, T., and Richards, J., “Portable Mutlti-use Sports Goal,” Application 63/126004, filed December 16, 2020.
  4. Bouwens, J. and Howley, R., “Ice Fishing Apparatus,” Application 62/030534, filed May 27, 2020.
  5. Harvin, L. and Phadnis, M., “Touchpad Gaming Controller,” Application 62/030487, filed May 27, 2020.
  6. Miller, R., Stone, M., and Thomason, A., “Phone Case,” Application 62/030428, filed May 27, 2020.
  7. Chesin, N., Homkey, A., and Zaffrann, E., “Portable Waste Container”, Application 62/958331, filed January 8, 2020
  8. Gambell, J., Happel, E., and Horne, A., “Tripod Smartphone Charger”, Application 62/958057, filed January 7, 2020
  9. Knick, A., Merritt, B., and Strok, D., “Electronic Accessories Case”, Application 62/958005, filed January 7, 2020
  10. LoMascolo, D., LoMascolo, M., and Sullivan, D., “Multiple Compartment Dispenser”, Application 62/957931, filed January 7, 2020
  11. Braun, T., Holdrege, K, and Salzman, J., “The Entity Presence Detection and Notification System”, Application 62/957873, filed January 7, 2020

There would have been more patent application filings in 2020, but the pandemic had an adverse effect on that.

 

Global Business Programs

Global Business Programs at the Reh School of Business.

The Mission of the Reh School of Business is to integrate high-impact, interdisciplinary scholarship with teaching excellence to develop business leaders who combine business acumen, analytical thinking, technical expertise, and a global perspective to benefit business and society.

To help fulfill this mission, every Reh school undergraduate is required to have an international experience, typically a semester abroad with partner schools, or a short term, faculty-led study abroad trip.

Although Covid-19 made international travel impossible, we were unwilling to waive the international experience requirement.  To that end, the Reh school partnered with Global Brigades. Global Brigades is an international non-profit that pairs student groups with businesses in underserved areas to find creative solutions to business challenges. In 2021, 10 teams of Clarkson students worked on projects with small businesses in Panama, meeting virtually with clients, researching issues, and proposing solutions.

We hope that in 2022 our traditional international trips will resume, but if not, the Reh School is still committed to providing a global perspective to our students.

Global Supply Chain Management Research

Global Supply Chain Management Research

Dr. Farzad Mahmoodi:

Farzad Mahmoodi is Professor of Operations & Information Systems and the Joel Goldschein '57 Chair in Supply Chain Management in the Reh School of Business. His research interests include sourcing decisions and supply chain design, measuring the supply chain financial performance, shop floor control, scheduling, and design of cellular manufacturing and flexible manufacturing systems, order releasing and due date assignment in manufacturing shops, lot splitting in bottlenecked production systems, systems modeling and simulation, and quality management. He has been the recipient of the Clarkson University John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award.

Dr. Mahmoodi has taught courses in supply chain management, global sourcing & supply chain design, production & operations management, statistical quality control, quality management and process control and design of experiments at undergraduate and graduate levels since 1989. He has also taught extensively in the Engineering & Global Operations Management graduate program for working professionals (since 1991), University of Ottawa Executive MBA Program in Canada (2005-2018), Reims School of Management International MBA Program in France (2006-2017), and University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (2021). Professor Mahmoodi teaching record is excellent: he has been the recipient of the Professor of the Year Award in the MBA program more than 10 times, and has also received the Clarkson University Distinguished Teaching Award.

Professor Mahmoodi has successfully directed and executive development seminars in global supply chain management for mid to high-level executives at Clarkson University since 2001. Participating companies include: Accenture, Alcoa, Allan Chemical Corporation, Amazon, Assa Abloy, Avon Products, Bank of America, Boeing, Car Freshner, Carrier Corporation, Corning Inc., Crane Company, Cybex, Dell Computer Corporation, Delta Air Lines, Dressor-Rand Company, Eastman Kodak Company, Emtek, Frito-Lay (Division of Pepsi Co.), General Dynamics, General Electric, General Motors Corporation, Grainger Inc., Handheld Products, Hewlett-Packard Company, Honeywell International, IBM, IDEX Corporation, Intervet/Schering-Plough, ITT Industries Inc., JHP Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Klein Steel Service, Kraft Foods, Lockheed Martin, Lutron Electronics, Medeco, National Grid, New York Air Brake, Northrop Grumman, O’Brien & Gere, Osram Pemko, Sylvania Inc., Raymond Corporation, Rockwell International, Saint-Gobain, Sargent Manufacturing, Sikorsky Aircraft, Stanley Black&Decker, Texas Instruments, Toyota, TRW Automotive, Welch Allyn, and Xerox Corporation.

Dr. Farzad Mahmoodi’s Recent Research

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary event that has impacted every nation, business and supply chain on our planet. The pandemic left critical item supply chains interrupted and exposed several vulnerabilities. The critical item supply chains were generally slow to respond to the emergency due to a variety of factors, including export bans, sick workers, port choke points, trucking bottlenecks, panic buying, overreliance on offshore manufacturing, lack of transparency to assess centralized supply, fragmented approaches to ordering and fulfillment, and poor alignment and coordination among federal and state government agencies. 

Organizations have attempted to stabilize their supply chains by executing business continuity plans. Many have diversified their product portfolios, making new products based on available resources. The lack of supply chain resiliency has generated calls for reshoring or nearshoring production from Asia. But this approach is no panacea, given the desire to serve the vast Asian markets. Furthermore, for thousands of sole-sourced items, reducing dependence will take substantial time and investment. In a recent article published in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Supply Chain Quarterly (Q1, 2021), we offer several strategies to mitigate supply chain disruptions during major emergencies, without incurring exorbitant costs (p. 5). Our hope is that the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis lead to better alignment and coordination among private enterprises and government agencies. Our interdisciplinary online Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, which was launched last year, covers a variety of critical topics, such as those referenced above, to help today’s professionals, as well as tomorrow’s leaders, successfully navigate future challenges.

Dr. Yuan Zhang: Better Decision-Making in the Supply Chain Through Data Mining

Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management Yuan Zhang mines data — lots of data — to unearth patterns in information. 

“If you know how to look and apply the right tools, data can reveal complexities and patterns of information that can provide important insights for companies and lead to improved decisionmaking,” she says. 

Prof. Zhang, who holds a PhD in information systems from The University of Texas at Arlington, joined the faculty of the Reh School of Business last fall. Much of her work involves developing empirical models through data collected from online platforms and applications, such as users’ activity records and user-generated content in e-sports, video gaming and newer forms of social media, like TikTok and Twitch. The goal is to understand how tech applications affect user or consumer behavior. 

This year, Prof. Zhang published a paper in the journal  Information & Management, which is a top-ranked Business journal. With usage data collected from a mobile fitness app, the researchers conducted a series of comprehensive empirical analyses to test and validate the effects of the app’s social interaction features on group exercise participation and user retention.

“Our findings can help fitness app developers better understand the impacts of these features, as well as gain insights into how to make online community policies and design gamification incentive mechanisms most effective in stimulating offline activities,” she says. 

This approach of using empirically based modeling to acquire meaningful insights from data can be applied to any complex data system, including supply chains and business operations. 

“Much of the classic research in supply chain management utilizes analytical or mathematical modeling,” Prof. Zhang explains. “But we can further improve the optimized solution by examining more of the contextual elements, which adds complexity. By using data-driven models, we can provide more managerial implications to enrich specific strategies for different scenarios.”

To illustrate the point, Prof. Zhang points to a real challenge faced by the giant retailer Amazon: where to build new warehouses. “We can use mathematical modeling to determine the pros and cons of a warehouse location and try to optimize solutions. But we could also try to collect data from existing warehouses and compare these locations with a site that is under consideration. If positive patterns are identified, we can improve our future decision-making.” 

For Prof. Zhang, the question is not which model to use, but how to incorporate both types of modeling — and the insights they yield — to improve operations. 

Finding the best ways to collect and harness the power of data is a topic she addresses in the classroom. Last fall, Prof. Zhang taught her first semester at Clarkson, which included an introductory class on business intelligence and data analytics. 

“Students learn that ‘big data’ is not just about volume; it is also about the values and velocity of the data,” she says. “What is the application for the data? What happens if you cannot locate or access the data that you need? Students quickly realize that the answers are not always straightforward.” 

This lesson is echoed in her Management of Technology class, where students learn how to use different technologies to create value for companies, improve supply chains and increase market share. 

For Prof. Zhang, finding creative and new ways to extract insights from data and new technologies is increasingly important for today’s companies to remain successful in a hyper-competitive world. 

“The information is there,” she says. “We just have to utilize it effectively.”

 

Faculty Publications

A list of faculty publications in PDF form.