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Carroll Connection

Research News

November 2017

Sean Martin


When searching for managers and leaders, employers will often keep an eye out for a number of personality traits—including integrity, decisiveness, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to collaborate fruitfully. Speaking to an overflow audience in Gasson Hall recently, Sean R. Martin (Management and Organization) presented research pointing to another, often overlooked factor: how far the potential leaders traveled in life to get where they are.

Discover Magazine Masthead


This past summer, Discover Magazine cited Carroll School professors on two separate occasions. The magazine featured a study by S. Adam Brasel and Henrik Hagtvedt (Marketing) that showed how the color saturation of a product can affect shoppers’ perception of its size. Discover also drew on the expertise of O’Connor Family Professor Michael Pratt for a piece exploring why humans make poor decisions.

Vishal Baloria


Will a media outlet slant its coverage of a company because it doesn’t like the political leanings of the firm’s top executives? That’s the implication of a study by Vishal P. Baloria (Accounting) and a coauthor, who explore how Democratic-leaning firms use different strategies to avoid negative coverage by Fox News. Their article is forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics.

June 2017

Kay Lemon


If there’s a theme that threads through all of Kay Lemon’s work—her research, her teaching, even her service to the marketing profession—it’s the quest, she says, “to make marketers better marketers.” That theme surfaces frequently in her research, where she strives to highlight the practical implications of her findings. And it recently reached a kind of culmination in the two years she spent as executive director of the Marketing Science Institute.

Center for Retirement Research


On June 15, the New York Times ran an editorial based on a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College titled “How Much Long-Term Care Do Adult Children Provide?” The study found that nearly one in five adult children provide care for an elderly parent at some point and that the burden falls heavily on daughters. The findings by the Carroll School center point to massive challenges at a time when the oldest baby boomers are nearing their eighties.

Nailya Ordabayeva


It’s no secret that restaurant food portions have grown tremendously over the years, but what accounts for the super-sizing trend? Nailya Ordabayeva (Marketing) and a coauthor have come up with a novel explanation—with new findings published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Simply put, people are bad at calculating the size of large, three-dimensional objects, such as super-sized packages.

Sean Martin


In his prodigious research, Sean Martin (Management and Organization) has turned a skeptical eye toward so-called “heroic CEO stories,” explored how growing up wealthy can affect one’s leadership behavior, and investigated many other questions. Now, in recognition of his research and teaching, Martin has been named the inaugural Mancini Family Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor.

March 2017

Photo of Jeffrey Pontiff

Betting On Stock Predictions By Academics

Jeffrey Pontiff—holder of the James F. Cleary Chair in Finance at the Carroll School—started investing when he was 13 years old. That interest led to graduate school, then to the faculty of Boston College, and now to a prestigious award for his paper written with Carroll School doctoral graduate David McLean, now a professor at Georgetown. It proves that investors actually read academic studies.

Picture of Sam Ransbotham


For years, companies around the world were good at talking about the data revolution, less good at using large pools of data to drive competitive advantage. That is changing, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2017 Data & Analytics Report, coauthored by Sam Ransbotham (Information Systems) and SMR’s David Kiron. The survey reveals a sharp rise in the number of companies that say analytics is helping them outpace the competition.

Picture of S. Adam Brasel and Henrik Hagtvedt in office


S. Adam Brasel and Henrik Hagtvedt (Marketing) have coauthored a paper that for the first time demonstrates how sound frequencies can direct our eyes to certain colors. Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the paper has broad implications, pointing to techniques that could “influence what we purchase and the information we retain,” according to a report by NPR’s Here and Now.

December 2016

Photo of Sean Martin


In a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, Sean Martin (Management and Organization Department) takes a hard look at so-called “heroic CEO stories.” Ever popular in the C-Suite, these tales are staples of corporate culture. They’re also woefully ineffective, the professor says in that study and in remarks to Fast Company. He proposes an alternative narrative.

Logo for The Center for Retirement Research

Five Worst Mistakes People Make with 401(k) Plans

When drawing up New Year’s resolutions, many people think about personal finances, including what they should be doing with their retirement plans. That’s good, but here’s a list of things they should not be doing, replete with data and insights from the Center for Retirement Research at the Carroll School.


Photo of Andy Boynton


The ideas of Andy Boynton, the Carroll School’s dean, are cited frequently in the new book Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight, authored by Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell and published by HarperCollins. Boynton was interviewed by the authors on such topics as customer-driven innovation and design, and how to test ideas for maximum impact.

November 2016

Photo of Jerry Kane

corporate culture: the enemy within

A new study coauthored by information systems professor Gerald Kane is throwing corporate light on cartoonist Walt Kelly’s famous phrase: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Very often, a company’s worst enemy “isn’t an external market threat; it’s the company itself and its lack of motivation or wherewithal to adapt to digital trends,” Kane tells CIO Journal, a publication of the Wall Street Journal.

September 2016

Photo of Ronnie Sadka

q&a: bullish news but not saying so

A working paper by Professor Ronnie Sadka (Finance) and three colleagues made headlines this past summer, including this one from CBS MoneyWatch—“Do CEOs lie? Perhaps, but not how you think.” The team found that CEOs often downplay good news about recent earnings and forecasts. Why? One possible answer is unsettling, as discussed by Sadka in a Q&A with the Carroll Connection.

Photos of Sam Ransbotham and Stephanie Jernigan


The “Internet of Things” is changing practically all businesses, even the most prosaic among them. Take coin-operated laundries, for instance. Sam Ransbotham (Information Systems), together with Stephanie Jernigan (Operations Management) and another coauthor, discuss the implications for management in a report published by the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Photo of Judy Clair


Most of us carry out emotionally difficult tasks at work, but what happens to us after years of doing so? What kind of coping mechanisms do we develop? Professor Judy Clair (Management and Organization), together with two colleagues who have doctorates from the Carroll School, write for the Harvard Business Review online about their findings published in the Journal of Management Inquiry.

June 2016


judgment day

Why are portions of movie theater popcorn roughly seven times larger than they were during the 1950s? What happens when two males decide together on buying a car or some other product, without a female involved? These and other questions surfaced at the inaugural “Boston Judgment and Decision Making Day” sponsored by the Marketing Department.


index funds improving corporate governance

In an online article for Harvard Business Review, finance professor Ian Appel previews research indicating that asset-rich index funds are using their clout to influence management policies and side with shareholder proposals. His findings—to be reported in The Journal of Financial Economics—go against prevailing wisdom.


the ‘opt-out’ effect

In his new book The Opt-Out Effect, marketing professor Jerry Smith counts the ways in which digital-era consumers are able to elude marketers. BC News reports on Smith’s advice to brand marketers on how to re-engage the empowered consumer.