Johnson alumni: Work with faculty to advance behavioral research

By: Katelyn Godoy
Photo of eight faculty member headshots that says Business Simulation Lab

By Brad Turner, Manager of Johnson’s Debra Paget and Jeffrey Berg Business Simulation Lab

Johnson faculty seek to draw on graduates’ unique education and experience to help them better understand how business professionals make decisions. To that end, Johnson is reaching out to alumni interested in participating in new behavioral research by sharing their experience and expertise via web-based surveys.

Johnson’s Debra Paget and Jeffrey Berg Business Simulation Lab and Alumni Affairs are spearheading the new initiative designed by lab director Manoj Thomas, the Breazzano Family Term Professorship of Management and associate professor of marketing, and myself, lab manager for the Business Simulation Lab.

Calling on credentialed business professionals

This behavioral research initiative will bring alumni together with Johnson’s stellar behavioral faculty to engage in research into the mechanisms of decision making. Researchers will gain regular access to an established group of alumni research participants who are experienced and credentialed business professionals. Business specialists like accountants, project managers, and certified financial planners are often difficult or expensive to survey. Access will enable Johnson faculty to carry out and publish specialized research, and put Johnson on a level playing field with other top-tier business schools that engage alumni in research. This kind of access and the research possibilities it opens up will also appeal to prospective PhD students and professors.

Johnson already boasts a respected and influential behavioral faculty whose ground-breaking research has informed innovation in many areas, including accounting, marketing, consumer behavior, leadership, and behavioral finance. Johnson faculty who are seeking this kind of collaboration and input from alumni include professors Robert Bloomfield, Andrew Davis, Ori Heffetz, Soo Kim, Robert Libby, Stijn van Osselaer, Sunita Sah, and Kaitlin Woolley.

Insights that influence

By studying the mechanisms of decision making, faculty are able to convey fresh insights back to businesses, where their research influences model development and strategy.

Behavioral faculty currently carry out experiments at the Business Simulation Lab in Sage Hall, where most of their research participants are undergraduate students whose knowledge of nuanced business situations is limited at best. Researchers also use crowdsourcing resources like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but even pools of thousands furnish few high-quality, diligent business professionals.

Johnson’s alumni are uniquely prepared by their MBA education and work experience to give sterling insight into decision making at all levels and areas of business. Because many of them care deeply about the school and stay in touch with former professors and others in the Johnson community, alumni tend to take surveys more seriously than for-hire participants in public panels, which also enriches their contributions.

Alumni who opt in to become research participants will receive no more than four emails per year inviting them to participate in Johnson research and learn about and support ongoing research.

Alumni, are you interested in participating?

If you are interested in participating in this initiative, please take this brief survey (two- to three-minutes) to detail your professional experience and qualifications.

About Brad Turner, Manager of the Business Simulation Lab

Headshot of Brad Turner

Brad is a published economist, Fulbright Fellow, and social scientist with expertise in analyzing, visualizing, modeling, and forecasting economic data. He currently manages the day-to-day operations at Johnson’s Business Simulation Lab and facilitates behavioral research for professors and PhD students. Brad holds a Master of Arts in social sciences and teaches a one-credit seminar at Syracuse University on the history of walking.