27 May 2009
Four Harvard Business School Doctoral Candidates Honored for Innovative Research
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BOSTON — This year, the Harvard Business School Doctoral Programs has awarded three Wyss Awards for Excellence in Doctoral Research and one Martin Award for Excellence in Business Economics. These monetary prizes are presented annually to outstanding students engaged in innovative dissertation research.

The Wyss Awards are in honor of Hansjoerg Wyss (MBA 1965) who, in 2004, established the Hansjoerg Wyss Endowment for Doctoral Education. The Wyss Endowment supports a broad range of efforts to strengthen the HBS Doctoral Programs, including fellowships and stipends for doctoral students, increased support for field research, new doctoral course development, teaching skills training, and the renovation of doctoral facilities on campus.

The 2009 Wyss Award recipients are:

  • David Maber (DBA, Accounting and Management)
    Mabers's research examines the measurement, planning, control, and communication aspects of personnel decisions and processes. He is also interested in governance and the alignment of delegated decision-making (e.g., incentive compensation, performance measurement, and the allocation of decision and voting rights). He has examined these issues in a variety of labor markets, including sell-side equity researchers, senior executives, and middle managers using both field and large sample archival methods. Maber is currently investigating how firms assess the performance and potential of their employees and how this information is used to manage internal talent flows and plan for succession events.
    -- David Maber will be joining the faculty at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business in 2009-2010.

  • Matthew Marx (DBA, Technology and Operations Management)
    Marx's research explores how institutional factors, including the enforcement of intellectual property rights, influence innovation and entrepreneurship. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Marx established several implications of employee non-compete agreements, which are ostensibly designed to protect trade secrets but also influence the occupational trajectories of knowledge workers. Non-competes discourage individuals from changing jobs, and those who nonetheless change jobs find it necessary to take "detours" by working in a different field. Those subject to non-competes are also less likely to join a small company when changing jobs. The results extend theory regarding both human capital and intellectual property and hold implications for workers, managers, and policymakers.
    -- Matt Marx will be joining the faculty at MIT Sloan School of Management in 2009-2010.

  • Modupe Akinola (PhD, Organizational Behavior)
    Akinola's research focuses on how stress affects performance. She is generally interested in understanding how organizational environments-characterized by deadlines and multi-tasking, and other attributes such as being a numerical minority or having low status-can engender stress, and how this stress can have spill-over effects on performance. Akinola uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation, implicit and reaction time measures, and physiological responses (specifically hormonal and cardiovascular responses) to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress.
    -- Modupe Akinola will be joining the faculty at Columbia Business School in 2009-2010.

The Roger Martin Fund for Doctoral Research was established in 2006 through the generosity of Roger Martin (MBA 1981) at the time of his 25th Reunion, and in memory of John Lintner, who was an academic mentor to Roger Martin. Martin is currently dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

The 2009 Martin Award recipient is:

  • John Beshears (PhD, Business Economics)
    Beshears' research seeks to understand how financial decisions are shaped by the institutional context in which they are made. In one study, he analyzes the drilling strategies of oil and gas firms that cooperated with other firms to jointly develop tracts in the Gulf of Mexico. Beshears found that their drilling projects were more successful than the projects of firms that did not work with partners. In other research, he examines savings and investment behavior in employer-sponsored retirement plans. For example, he and his collaborators are currently investigating how savings decisions are affected when employees receive information about general patterns in the savings behavior of their peers. Ultimately, Beshears aims to help business leaders and policy-makers design institutions in ways that lead to improved decision-making.
    -- John Beshears will be joining the National Bureau of Economic Research as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2009-2010

Harvard Business School grants the DBA in five areas of study: accounting and management; marketing; management; strategy; and technology and operations management. In addition, in conjunction with Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, it offers programs in business economics; health policy management; science, technology, and management; and organizational behavior leading to the Ph.D. At any given time, approximately 120 HBS doctoral students are completing course work or working on their dissertations at the School.