Leslie K. John
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Leslie John is an assistant professor of business administration in the Marketing Unit, where she teaches the Marketing course in the MBA required curriculum.
Professor John’s research centers on how consumers’ behavior and lives are influenced by their interaction with firms and with public policy. Her work has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Social Psychological and Personality Science, and The Journal of the American Medical Association. It has also received media attention from outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine.
Professor John holds a Ph.D. in behavioral decision research from Carnegie Mellon University, where she also earned an M.Sc. in psychology and behavioral decision research. She completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Waterloo.
Marketing and Public Policy
Professor John uses behavioral decision theory and both laboratory and field studies to investigate questions that are at the intersection of marketing and public policy. Specifically, she asks how firms’ behavior and policy initiatives interact to affect consumer well-being. Within this arena, she has developed three research streams.
As people spend more time shopping, gaming, and socializing online – and as data gathering technology has become more sophisticated – consumer privacy has become an ever more important issue. Gathering consumer data creates marketing opportunities for firms, but surrendering this information can be perilous for consumers. Professor John has examined why and in what situations consumers are willing to divulge sensitive personal information, highlighting a tension between their best interests and marketers’ motivations. She is interested in developing ways to deal with personal information that are beneficial to firms and consumers alike.
Escalating health care costs have focused attention on changing unhealthy but modifiable behaviors. Tobacco use, obesity, and alcohol abuse together account for nearly one-third of all deaths in the United States. Professor John has demonstrated that it is possible to exploit people’s decision biases, such as overconfidence and aversion to financial loss, to help them adopt more healthy behaviors.
In her newest stream of research, Professor John is studying dishonesty in the workplace, building on mounting evidence that it cannot be fully explained by a rational, cost-benefit perspective.