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PhD Overview

Drawing upon diverse backgrounds, our faculty members are actively engaged in a wide-range of research topics.  For focus and convenience, we cluster our primary areas of research into three groups with faculty often being involved in more than one cluster.

Individual and Organizational Decision Making

The Management and Organizations Area has long-standing strength in decision making research. Our research interests in decision making range from the individual level to the social and organizational level.

Individual Decision Making. Together with decision researchers in other areas of the school, Management and Organizations scholars contribute to making the Fuqua School of Business one of the world's leading sites of behavioral decision research. Researchers have explored core topics in individual decision making, such as risk preference, overconfidence, and multi-attribute decision making. Fuqua researchers were also among the first researchers to expand research on individual decision making beyond cognitive biases to study the fit between cognitive strategies and decision contexts, the role of emotional factors in decision making, and tools for debiasing individual cognitive flaws.

Social and Organizational Decision Making. Another major area of study within the group concerns social and organizational decision making. Researchers have studied organizational procedures for improving decisions, the accuracy of social perceptions in negotiations, how well groups and individuals use information from others, and the psychology of in-group/out-group perceptions, felt responsibility and stereotypes.

Other members of the Management and Organizations area study topics related to the social context of decision making, including trust, power, procedural fairness, intergenerational decisions, negotiation, control systems, intrinsic motivation, and the sharing of information in virtual teams.

Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Justice

With the founding of the Center on Leadership and Ethics and Fuqua in 2004, the school committed to an investment in scholarship and instruction in this domain and has taken a recognized role as a leading business school regarding the study of leadership and its intersection with ethics. Decisions made by leaders today have profoundly far reaching consequences as they affect multiple generations of people and involve inter-relationships between business and society.

Leadership. Our faculty has examined the behaviors that contribute to effective leadership, how leadership attributions are affected by factors such as race and gender, and how leaders influence credibility, trust, a sense of community, raised aspirations, individual and collective initiative and a sense of stewardship (including a sense of responsibility to future generations).  Research, educational programs, and applications focus on the emergence and impact of leadership in medical settings, in financial services, consulting, and the social sector.  We are actively engaged in the study of cross-cultural, cross-national, and gender differences in leadership in for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including social entrepreneurship initiatives.

Ethics and Organizational Justice.  Our faculty are exploring cognitive and social psychological variables that influence decisions involving ethics and fairness in a variety of settings including cross-generational, national, and ethnic decisions. This work includes research on egocentric interpretations of fairness in social dilemmas, value-system biases in ideologically-based negotiations, the role of time in self-misperceptions of ethical behavior, legacy creation in intergenerational decisions, awareness in systems of privilege, fairness in the management of uncertainty, and the effect of perceived fairness on trust.

Distributed Knowledge, Innovation, and Teams

In a knowledge-based economy, individual and team innovation is critical for business and society. Faculty members in the Management and Organizations area at the Fuqua School of Business focus on how knowledge is generated and shared in organizations. A common research theme is the formation and distribution of expertise across individuals and how teams and individuals use that expertise to improve organizational performance. Faculty are at the leading edge of research on topics such as pooling expertise, learning directly and vicariously from success and failure experiences, combining opinions, information sharing, scientific collaboration, and distributed work. Researchers also teach courses on managing innovation and learning in distributed, global environments and on managing creativity and the development of new knowledge.

Distributed Knowledge and Teams. Faculty in the area take two main approaches to studying distributed knowledge, distinguishing organizational from individual issues in acquiring knowledge. The organizational approach focuses on how team composition, processes, and structure affect team performance in field settings.  The individual approach focuses on how individuals think about seeking and using distributed knowledge, including strategies for combining judgments across people. Researchers also focus on the individual and organizational dimensions of social networks, including how individuals develop schemas for learning about social networks and how building social networks across departments, organizations, and locations can boost performance for individuals engaged in knowledge-intensive work teams. Finally, Management and Organizations faculty are also interested in the changing nature of teams and networks in the scientific research process, examining how working across multiple disciplines and institutions affects knowledge creation and innovation.

Learning and Innovation. Management and Organizations faculty also study how new knowledge is created, absorbed and deployed by individuals, within teams, and across organizations as a way of advancing innovation at all levels.  Faculty in the Area study knowledge and innovation from a variety of perspectives, including the cognitive psychology of creativity, knowledge networks, learning from failure, how organizational control mechanisms can foster exploration and learning, how leaders can build an environment of trust and inspire a sense of community in which organizational members are willing to take the risk of innovating and can more effectively transfer knowledge. Faculty members are also examining how goals work to promote or hamper initiative and effort by directing attention and shaping motivation.


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