Skip to content

OHIO’s College of Business values faculty research across all departments

Monday, December 3 2018 02:30pm

Entries from more than 60 faculty members were included in the latest COB credit report on research findings.

By Meghan Morris

Many College of Business faculty members put an emphasis on research while teaching at Ohio University, even contributing research findings to esteemed journals.

The college encourages high-quality and impactful research activity across all COB departments. The effort is fueled by the cross-disciplinary relationships between faculty members, as well as the creation of the Intellectual Contributions Continuous Improvement Team (ICCIT).

ICCIT, otherwise known as the COB research committee, aims to increase the level of research activity by offering financial aid and other forms of support to researchers, as well as rewarding faculty members for their impressive research papers.

The committee releases two separate publications about COB research findings: bi-monthly Research Good News and semi-annual Credit Reports. Over 60 faculty members, representing every COB department, have submitted a research paper for the latest credit report. Several of the research papers even made it into elite journals, which are of highest esteem in the business world.

 “The College of Business is doing some pretty impressive things,” Mike Geringer, director of research at the COB and chair of ICCIT, said. “We have a level of productivity that is comparable to many of the top PhD-granting institutions in this country.”

Communicating the extent of research within the COB, Research Good News provides faculty researchers with rapid publicity, while the Credit Report shows a broader scope of recent releases.

However, these research papers wouldn’t have made it to publication if faculty members didn’t follow through on the initial spark. Inspiration to research a certain topic can strike at any moment, Geringer said. Faculty members with a PhD may continue looking at their dissertation topic. An idea could come from a student’s comment in a classroom lecture if there are unanswered questions. Or a new research subject could arise during consulting projects or even casual conversation among colleagues.

Nikolaos Panagopoulos, director of executive education and international sales at Schey Sales Centre, published a research piece on solution selling, which describes how a salesperson is involved in the creation, development, and deployment of selling a solution to a business. He discovered a deeper interest in the topic while consulting for a Fortune Global 500 company three years ago. 

“I had a feel for an issue that this major organization faces, and I translated it into a research problem,” Panagopoulos said.

And after that initial spark, the next step is to find the right team for a research project. A thriving research community within the college fosters relationships between early-career faculty and seasoned faculty as well as bonds between faculty members of disparate disciplines.

Ikenna Uzuegbunam, an assistant professor of management, originally came to OHIO in 2014 as a visiting faculty member. His colleagues served as great mentors in research because they could offer advice due to having more experience, he said. 

Uzuegbunam’s recent project on agricultural biotechnology began when he taught at the University of Kentucky. He obtained a data set on U.S. agricultural policies and the adoption rate of biotechnology in the industry so far. Recognizing that he had a good foundation but wanting to explore more, he collaborated with OHIO colleagues who could provide further insight on strategic management, entrepreneurship, and international business.

“The beauty about doing research, especially if you’re doing research in the business school, is that it has the potential to let us learn about a phenomenon that isn’t just an economic phenomenon but something that tends to have psychological and social components to it,” he said.

His final research paper covered why a region might adopt agricultural biotechnology, the implementation of these advances, and the effects it would have on a region. Uzuegbunam considered the economic and cultural aspects of the particular area to see if farmers would accept this technology. A country with cultural tightness, as opposed to cultural looseness, may be more reluctant to use biotech because of keeping to traditions.

“If we look at all of these things, it could become the kind of research that could not just be theoretically meaningful but help direct managers, entrepreneurs, and public policy on how to either encourage it or discourage it for whatever reasons,” Uzuegbunam said.

Over in another COB department, Panagopoulos studies sales-related topics, specifically the front lines of B2B firms. He’s interested in problems that stem from communication companies and their stakeholders. His recent piece published in the Journal of Marketing discussed the effects on a firm and its sales force when salespeople are laid off. Panagopoulos hopes that his research has a positive impact on the lives of salespeople.

“The productivity of a sales force takes a hit when there are less salespeople,” he said. “On top of that, these employees suffer from stress, anxiety, and burnout that makes their job more difficult on a daily basis.”

After research is published, it’s difficult to see how much recognition a piece receives from the industry. Panagopoulos says he promotes his work on LinkedIn, which garners a number of comments and direct messages, but he’s also interested in the reach beyond his professional circle into the industry.

Awards are an easy way for faculty researchers to be recognized by OHIO and outside organizations. There’s a wide variety of awards for research, such as most productive, greatest impact, lifetime achievement, newsmaker, and best paper. These recognitions are important for the reputation of OHIO’s College of Business.

“It helps the visibility of our college and the extent to which a relatively small business school with a high teaching load is still a really cool place to be in terms of doing research that’s fun and has a big impact on management practice and the performance of organizations,” Geringer said.

Uzuegbunam said 2018 has been a strong year for recognition of his research. His recent paper on agricultural biotechnology found its way into the Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings. This publication includes abstracts from the top 10 percent of research papers out of 3,000 submitted for the academy’s national conference. Uzuegbunam’s research piece was further nominated for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Best Paper Award in global strategy.

“It’s very humbling,” Uzuegbunam said. “Intrinsically, as researchers, we work on things that we believe have an impact. We’re passionate about it, but we may never know if someone thinks the same about it. Receiving an award shows that someone read your paper and sees the value of what you’ve done.”

Check out the latest OHIO College of Business Credit Report (Fall 2018).