School of Business Faculty Research

  • September 22, 2022

    Exceptions may prove the rule, but they must first be explained. That is why finance researchers are drawn to the distress anomaly-- a well-documented phenomenon that challenges the risk-return paradigm in equity markets. Generally, higher-risk investments are expected to yield higher returns than safer, more stable securities. In recent years, however, studies have shown that high-credit-risk securities for companies in distress – i.e. when their already-low credit rating is being downgraded -- realize abnormally low returns compared to non-distressed securities of the same or lower risk.  Academics have proposed a range of rationales for this puzzle. Alexander Philipov, finance area chair and associate professor at George Mason University, says they mainly fall into two categories. 

  • September 20, 2022

    Selling is inseparable from relationship management. In the past, the one-to-one "human touch" of a salesperson compensated for the standardized nature of their wares. However, today's sales environment tends towards customized solutions and co-creation with the client, especially in the B2B space. In many cases, these trends have greatly increased the network of stakeholders whom salespeople are obliged to keep happy. Research shows that B2B customers benefit from being more involved in the process, but what about the sales force? Does their increased interpersonal burden translate to higher risk of burnout? George Mason University School of Business Marketing Area Chair Jessica Hoppner's recently published paper in Industrial Marketing Management, co-authored by Paul Mills of Cleveland State University and David A. Griffith of Texas A&M University, finds some surprising answers.

  • September 14, 2022

    Today's workforce might best be described in terms of tumult: Great Resignation, Great Retirement, Great Reshuffle, etc. In this "new normal," managers must learn to navigate a state of continual transition in their teams and organizations, while keeping up with day-to-day demands. Likewise, George Mason University School of Business Management Professors Sarah Wittman and Kevin Rockmann believe that it is time for scholars to change the way they think about role transitions to better align their theories with our increasingly uncertain world.

  • September 8, 2022

    We’ve all become familiar with the pandemic-related reasons behind the upheaval in the labor market, as well as the standard-issue solutions like trying to infuse work with purpose or offering employees remote working. While these are practical suggestions, they have not restored stability to the workforce. It is our contention that any broad-brush advice for retaining employees in the current environment will be insufficient. Whether managers like it or not, employees will demand sensitivity and adjustment to their psychological needs as individuals.

  • August 30, 2022

    In her 2021 PhD dissertation, Ashley Yuckenberg, a trained journalist and assistant professor of business communications at Mason, plumbs the ethical quandaries of crisis coverage—and provides a framework for guiding journalists through them.

  • August 16, 2022

    Long before COVID was a household word, Dr. Ajay Vinzé, now dean of Mason’s business school, helped pioneer a collaboration with public-health officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, to help predict possible outcomes of various interventions as part of research on pandemic response. Vinzé calls this nearly decade-long partnership “a major part of my research and professional journey.”

  • August 9, 2022

    Brian Ngac and Nirup Menon, from the information systems and operations management area at the School of Business, were recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) located in Arlington, Virginia. This Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Grant was awarded for their proposal to develop a new experiential learning program that will engage students and companies from the Commonwealth.

  • July 21, 2022

    Hierarchy has its upsides and downsides. A pyramidical power structure works well for day-to-day decision making. But as the distance between the base and the tip of the pyramid increases, tensions between organizational tiers can create obstacles to reform. It’s a matter of “the unconscious dynamics of humans in groups and systems” rather than a deliberate response, says Renee Rinehart Kathawalla, a postdoctoral research fellow of management at Mason.

  • June 7, 2022

    In business, a specialist strategy can sometimes be riskier than a generalist one. Competing in only one industry leaves firms highly vulnerable to heightened income volatility, with extreme gains and losses, often alternating in quick succession. Innovative firms, whose business models are based on heavy R&D investments with uncertain returns, are especially affected by these fluctuations. Kelly Wentland, assistant professor of accounting, discusses this issue.

  • June 2, 2022

    Government corruption has universally corrosive effects on U.S. society. Yet there is little uniformity to the structure of state-level corruption oversight agencies. Syrena Shirley, an assistant professor of accounting at Mason, recently published a research paper in Current Issues in Auditing suggesting that in the fight against corruption, these structural inconsistencies are impactful.