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INSTITUTIONAL INTERVIEWS - 2008

February 2008

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology
A featured institution selection from Essential Science IndicatorsSM

Georgia Institute of Technology is wielding an increasing impact in the field of Economics & Business, having achieved the highest percent increase in total citations in this field according to a recent analysis of Essential Science Indicators from Thomson Scientific. Georgia Tech’s current citation record in Economics & Business includes 338 papers cited a total of 2,278 times to date. Below, representatives of the Georgia Tech College of Management talk to ScienceWatch.com about the school’s history and citation achievements.


The intersection of business and technology has always been at the heart of Georgia Tech’s College of Management. Our nationally ranked business school teaches students how to take advantage of the many business opportunities made possible by emerging technologies and how to succeed in an increasingly global economy.

The College of Management’s roots date back to 1912, when Georgia Institute of Technology began providing business education to students. By 1934, the business program was known as Industrial Management and focused on training students to manage in technical environments. In 1969, the School of Industrial Management became the College of Industrial Management. Since 1999, it has been known as the College of Management.

2003 marked the start of an exciting new era for the College. That year the College moved into its new home in Technology Square, a development at the heart of Atlanta’s high-tech business community in booming Midtown. Technology Square includes the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, other educational and economic-development centers, and popular restaurant and retail establishments.

The College’s state-of-the-art, 189,000-square-foot building ensures that students have access to all the latest learning tools and enables them to attend classes just around the corner from companies where they find fulfilling and challenging internships, co-op jobs, and careers.

In 2006, Steve Salbu left his position as associate dean at the University of Texas-Austin to become Georgia Tech College of Management’s new dean. His vision is for the school to become the world’s preeminent business school for management and technology within the next decade. To accomplish this goal, the College is making significant strides at increasing the size and stature of its faculty in key academic areas: Accounting, Finance, Information Technology Management, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Operations Management, and Strategic Management.

The College is also investing lots of time, talent, and resources into all available degree programs, from the undergraduate to the MBA to the doctoral level. In recent years, the College has expanded its MBA options to include not only the full-time program, but also the Evening MBA, Global Executive MBA, and Executive MBA in Management of Technology programs to meet the needs of students on varying career paths.

The College of Management’s rising trajectory is increasingly reflected by rankings in national and international publications. With the right people and programs in the right place, the school is creating a new standard in business education.

Vinod Singhal, professor of operations management and co-author of Georgia Tech’s most-cited paper in the field, "Does implementing an effective TQM program actually improve operating performance? Empirical evidence from firms that have won quality awards" (Hendricks KB and Singhal V, Management Science 43:[9]: 1258-74, September 1997), comments on his highly cited paper.

Although firms have invested heavily in developing and implementing management systems based on the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM), there has been quite a lot of controversy in both academia and the business press regarding the ability of TQM to improve financial performance. This is one of the first papers that have attempted to rigorously address the issue of the financial impact of TQM using objective and verifiable data.

The approach of focusing on the financial performance of quality award winners is quite novel and unique. This paper is having an impact because it quantifies the extent of positive financial impact from TQM, shows how the impact varies for different firms, how long it takes before financial performance improves, and how the capital markets reward firms that have effectively implemented TQM.

These results are relevant because many organizations across the world have made a commitment to TQM, and this research validates that these activities create value. Organizations at local, state, and national levels that support and administer TQM activities (for example, the Baldrige Quality Award in the U.S., the European Quality Award in Europe, and the Deming Prize in Japan) have found the results of this research particularly useful in justifying and supporting their activities.

Luis Martins, associate professor of organizational behavior and co-author of "Virtual teams: What do we know and where do we go from here?" (Martins LL, Gilson LL, and Maynard MT, Journal of Management 30[6]: 805-35, 2004), comments on this research.

I think that the reason the paper is having impact is that organizations worldwide are increasingly utilizing virtual teams, and there is tremendous interest both among researchers and managers for an understanding of how to manage virtual teams. Essentially, virtual teams are being formed to access the best expertise from across an organization (e.g., global project teams), to enable global distribution of work (e.g., outsourcing) and to reduce costs of office space.

However, rigorous research on virtual teams is still in its infancy, demonstrating wide theoretical and methodological variation. In this paper, we assessed the state of the research on virtual teams, identified common themes and areas of disagreement, and set forth an agenda for future research. One area in particular that badly needs more investigation is diversity in virtual teams (virtual teams on average are more diverse than traditional teams, in terms of both observable and more deep-level characteristics), and some of my current research is looking at that.

Frank Rothaermel, associate professor of strategic management and co-author of "Exploration and exploitation alliances in biotechnology: A system of new product development" (Rothaermel FT and Deeds DL, Strategic Management Journal 25[3]: 201-21, March 2004), talks about this paper.

This paper is novel because it presents an integrative system of new product development. In particular, we show that different types of alliances lead to different outcomes, and that together these different alliance types form a coherent system of new product development. The paper is generating citations because it provides not only subtle theoretical insights, but also strong empirical results in two important research areas: strategic alliances and information/knowledge search strategies.

This article is not only of interest to academics, but also to practitioners due to the importance of alliance and knowledge strategies in many industries. Moreover, it does speak to many areas and has thus been referenced in many different disciplines, including strategy, organizational behavior, organizational theory, operations management, IT management, marketing, etc.

Christina Shalley, professor of organizational behavior and co-author of "The social side of creativity: A static and dynamic social network perspective" (Perry-Smith JE and Shalley CE, Academy of Management Review 28[1]: 89-106, January 2003), offers some remarks on this highly cited paper.

This article connects two previously separate literatures and offers several propositions for systematically examining how social networks influence individuals’ creativity. Prior to this piece, the creativity literature primarily focused on examining personal factors (e.g., personality, cognitive ability) that are associated with an individual being more creative, contextual factors (e.g., supportive supervision, work goals) that can facilitate or constrain individuals’ creativity, or the interaction of these personal and contextual factors.

Until our article, there had been little discussion of the potential role of social relationships in enhancing an individual’s creative performance. We felt that a social-network framework could provide a critical basis for understanding how being socially connected relates to being creative. An increasingly popular perspective, the network view considers how various aspects of the relationships that individuals have both inside and outside of work can influence or are influenced by behavior.

For example, formal and informal social interactions with others who are not necessarily directly connected to an employee’s job may have an impact on the way she approaches problems at work, the knowledge and information she brings to the task, and ultimately facilitate her creativity. A social-network approach looks specifically at the overall context of an individual’s social relationships, and is consistent with the complex social reality that most workers experience.

Jerry and Marie Thursby, professors of strategic management and authors of "Who is selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of growth in university licensing?" (Thursby JG and Thursby MC, Management Science 48[1]: 90-104, January 2002), talk about their highly cited paper.

There has been a dramatic increase in university licensing as universities attempt to appropriate the returns from faculty research. This change has prompted concerns regarding the source of this growth—specifically, whether it suggests a change in the nature of university research. We developed an intermediate input model to examine the extent to which the growth in licensing is due to the productivity of observable inputs or driven by a change in the propensity of faculty and administrators to engage in commercializing university research. We modeled licensing as a three-stage process, each involving multiple inputs. Our results suggest that increased licensing is due primarily to an increased willingness of faculty and administrators to license, and increased business reliance on external R&D, rather than a shift in faculty research.

We believe this paper is frequently cited because:

  • It was published in a highly visible general interest journal (Management Science).

  • The question is important not only to researchers, but also to university administrators and policymakers. There have been many papers on the growth in university commercialization, but ours was the first to examine the source of this growth in a careful framework.

  • The approach we use is (or was at the time) very novel; thus the technique itself is of interest to researchers.

Georgia Institute of Technology
College of Management
Atlanta, GA, USA

Steve Salbu, Dean
Sridhar Narasimhan, Senior Associate Dean
Goutam Challagalla, Associate Dean for Executive Programs
Vinod Singhal, Professor and Area Coordinator for Operations Management
Luis Martins, Associate Professor and Area Coordinator for Organizational Behavior
Frank Rothaermel, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Sloan Industry Studies Fellow
Christina Shalley, NSF ADVANCE Professor of Organizational Behavior
Jerry Thursby, Ernest Scheller, Jr. Chair in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Commercialization and Professor of Strategic Management
Marie Thursby, Hal and John Smith Chair in Entrepreneurship, Executive Director of TI:GER®, and Professor and Area Coordinator for Strategic Management

Georgia Institute of Technology's most-cited paper with 45 cites to date:
Elmaghraby W, Keskinocak P, “Dynamic pricing in the presence of inventory considerations: research overview, current practices, and future directions,” Manage. Sci. 49(10): 1287-1309, October 2003. Source: Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Scientific.


Institutional Interviews : 2008 : 2008 Feb - Georgia Institute of Technology