Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Winter 2001Kellogg School of Management
In DepthIn BriefFaculty NewsClass NotesClub NewsArchivesContactKellogg Homepage
The Spirit of Kellogg
New! Improved!
Behind the scenes in the Office of the Dean
Networking—the Kellogg way
Bringing the Kellogg spirit to the world
The art of business
In the shadow of the towers
Taking hold of terror
Address Update
Alumni Home
Submit News
Internal Site
Northwestern University
Kellogg Search
  The Dean's Initiatives
  The Dean's Initiatives: Scholarship

The Spirit of Kellogg
Kellogg's "culture of innovation and excellence" keeps teaching and research in the spotlight, allowing the school's faculty, students and corporate friends to share the excitement of academic innovation

By Matt Golosinski

George Bernard Shaw once quipped, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." The famous playwright would be puzzled, however, by the vitality of scholarship at Kellogg, where Shaw's wit meets its match in the Kellogg School faculty.

The Kellogg faculty are a distinguished group of educators who certainly do teach, and do it well, according to student evaluations and stellar national rankings. But the faculty's academic mission encompasses more than teaching. These professors also engage in cutting-edge research across disciplines - research that holds theoretical and practical importance for today's business world.

"We look around for the ivory here and a lot of times we don't see it," jests Associate Dean for Academic Affairs David Besanko (read full interview), the Alvin J. Huss Distinguished Professor of Management and Strategy. In his administrative role - a position shared with colleague Robert Magee (read full interview), the Keith I. DeLashmutt Distinguished Professor of Accounting Information and Management — Besanko oversees curriculum and teaching in the dean's office, while Magee coordinates the school's faculty and research. Like many of his peers, Besanko perceives the connection between the real-world marketplace and the world of academics at Kellogg. "Research has always been a preeminent part of this institution," he says.

  Assistant Professor Katherine Phillips
© Nathan Mandell
  Assistant Professor Katherine Phillips leads a discussion in her management organizations class.

As Besanko suggests, this research does not exist in the vacuum of an ivory tower. It's part of a dynamic web of interactions that includes students and senior executives as well as databases, academic journals and professional conferences.

Some of this research has proven groundbreaking, transforming entire disciplines. For instance, Kellogg has been instrumental in developing marketing into a mature academic field. Similarly, game theory and dispute resolution were in no small part advanced by the vision of Kellogg faculty. Departments across the school can also boast of significant contributions in areas as disparate as family enterprise, management and strategy, accounting and finance.

"We are a school with six strong departments," insists Besanko, while acknowledging Kellogg's perennial reputation as a marketing powerhouse. Lakshman Krishnamurthi (read full interview), the A. Montgomery Ward Professor of Marketing and chair of that department, agrees. "Kellogg has been among the top three business schools for the last 12 years," he says. "You can never be ranked at that level without being really exceptional in every department."

What makes Kellogg a special place for researchers regardless of departmental affiliation is the administration's commitment to recruiting and retaining the best scholars, and then encouraging them to collaborate freely both inside and between departments so long as the results are first-rate.
With apologies to Bernard Shaw, these are teachers who can, and who do. Indeed, teachers are the ones running the school.

Excellence starts at the top

Led by Dean Dipak C. Jain, the Kellogg administration views research as an engine that drives management education. The Office of the Dean not only ensures that research continues to flourish at Kellogg, but the office itself models the school's commitment to scholarship. Jain, Besanko and Magee are all celebrated scholars in their own rights (in marketing, strategy and accounting, respectively), and all three continue their research and teaching while serving as administrators.

As Distinguished Professor of Management and Organizations Edward Zajac (read full interview) puts it, "We have a culture here where everyone does research." It's this arrangement that Magee says sends a powerful message to professors looking to advance their careers in an environment that simultaneously nurtures and challenges them. "Our culture itself is a recruiting tool," says Magee.

Indeed, culture is an integral part of Kellogg, now more than ever. "Scholarship comprises one-third of what we call Kellogg's 'Culture of Innovation and Excellence,'" says Jain, referencing a paradigm that lays out the strategic vision of his office. "We are dedicated to creating path-breaking knowledge that defines and shapes the business and management fields."

In addition to scholarship, Kellogg emphasizes the importance of partnership and leadership, though Jain explains that these three components are really interconnected, the school's dynamic spirit arising as a result of the synergy among these elements. The dean views partnership with faculty, staff, students, alumni and corporate friends as essential to Kellogg's mission of delivering an exemplary educational experience. At the same time, Jain stresses the importance of leadership at all levels of the school - including the classroom, where faculty provide students with a well-rounded academic experience, one that, in Jain's words, "combines rigor, relevance and the opportunity to develop the personal and people skills needed to be a successful leader in a global, knowledge-based economy."

With 18 research centers studying phenomena from family enterprise to biotechnology to nonprofit organizations to ethics, Kellogg puts Jain's words into action.

Faculty & student research  
Cutting-edge technology plays an important educational role in both faculty and student research.  

Strength attracts strength
Delivering on this academic promise demands that the school create an environment to attract and retain the best faculty, and then give them the tools and intellectual freedom to perform at their best. Kellogg achieves these goals in a variety of ways. It offers its professors ample resources for research, including adequate funding and access to the latest technology. Even more than that, Kellogg offers its people the most valuable resource of all: each other.

The school encourages collaboration among its faculty through the structure of the tenure and promotion process, which gives full, rather than partial, publication credit to researchers who co-author scholarly work with their peers.

"This policy is a critical part of our research culture," says Magee. "It means that faculty are eager to work together and embrace new professors who come into the school."

Professor Daniel Diermeier (read full interview) agrees. The IBM Professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice considers the cooperative spirit among Kellogg faculty a principle reason the school enjoys the academic reputation it does.

"Departments are very important here," says Diermeier, a philosopher and political scientist by training who researches legislative politics and game theory models in politics, and who was awarded Kellogg's Best Teacher award for 2000. "We have a very strong disciplinary basis, and that makes Kellogg different from other business schools. The secret is to have faculty who are absolutely first-rate in their disciplines and then put them in an environment where they can participate in interdisciplinary work. Then exciting things can happen."

This research environment is "awesome," says Distinguished Professor of Decision and Game Sciences Ehud Kalai (read full interview), adding that the school's culture proves so inviting that Kellogg "constantly gets requests from researchers who want to move here, or at least visit in order to gain knowledge."

Part of what builds this interest in the school involves the way Kellogg enhances existing departments and creates new ones. Faculty hiring represents the key to establishing this strength around the school, although the situation presents a chicken-and-egg dilemma. "If you've got strength in a department, it's easy to build on strength," explains Mark Satterthwaite, the Earl Dean Howard Professor of Managerial Economics, whose research encompasses microeconomic theory, industrial organization and health economics. "There's a network dynamism operating in terms of faculty members influencing each others' research. You're smarter because of your colleagues."

©2001 Nathan Mandell
Student participation in classrooms is typical of the dynamic structure of Kellogg academics.

Challenging each other
This collegiality results in faculty mentoring - mentoring both students and each other. Because of the school's cooperative culture, senior Kellogg professors work closely with younger peers, leading to better scholarship for everyone involved. Younger faculty benefit from the experience of their more seasoned colleagues, while the tenured professors enjoy the fresh ideas and enthusiasm of junior professors. Each challenges the other to excel.

Examples abound to demonstrate the merits of this arrangement. One noteworthy instance includes that of Assistant Professor of Marketing Robert V. Kozinets (read full interview), who has worked with John Sherry, a professor of marketing and a trained anthropologist who has been part of the Kellogg faculty since 1984. Sherry has explored consumer behavior and is highly regarded as a postmodern consumer researcher.

"I was very fortunate to have John as a mentor, in addition to several other Kellogg peers," says Kozinets, a media and entertainment management expert who joined Kellogg in 1997. Since then, he has worked on cutting-edge projects both independently and with Sherry, including ethnographic and videographic forays to study consumer behavior in settings as diverse as NikeTown and the Burning Man festival, an arts community that springs up for one week every year in the Nevada desert. Says Kozinets, "I've had the benefit of colleagues who are doing world-class research in communications studies and sociology. We get a lot of institutional support for our research. I feel wonderful about the way Dean Jain and his office have really put research out front and helped demonstrate its usefulness to the students, business community and the public."

Artur Raviv isn't surprised by this collegiality. The Alan E. Peterson Distinguished Professor of Finance has seen faculty partnerships flourish at Kellogg since he arrived in 1985. Raviv, an award-winning teacher and expert in corporate finance and information economics, considers himself and his Kellogg peers "academic entrepreneurs" who are driven to produce by innate intellectual curiosity and passion, rather than simply the desire to obtain tenure. "Through your research you are compelled to guide your younger colleagues and to produce important contributions that affect your profession," says Raviv. "It's an exciting intellectual environment here. Innovation is everywhere at Kellogg."

Real-world connections

  Kellogg students in class
© Nathan Mandell
  Students meet in small groups to discuss a class project.

Kellogg's innovative academic initiatives include making faculty research widely available. The school achieves this goal in three key ways: research centers, scholarly publications, and executive education.

The importance of balancing theory and practice has long been a hallmark of Kellogg's approach to academics. Nowhere is this balance more evident than in the school's commitment to bringing cutting-edge research to the public and the business community through its research centers. With new centers opening every year-Kellogg most recently launched the Center for Executive Women, the Center for Financial Institutions and Markets, and the International Business & Markets Research Center-the school continues to bring valuable strategic information to the management world.

"Our research centers serve as catalysts for our own faculty, but also for faculty from peer schools who participate in the scholarly activities hosted by these centers, including seminars and conferences," says Jain. "The centers bring theory and practice together in powerful ways."

Theory and practice certainly met during the history of Kellogg's Dispute Resolution Center (DRRC). Headed by Professor Jeanne Brett (read full interview), an expert in cross-cultural negotiations, the DRRC has, since its inception in 1986, funded research in competitive decision-making, negotiations and conflict resolution. Brett herself has produced groundbreaking work in dispute resolutions involving highly volatile labor management environments.

"The DRRC has generated research that has kept Kellogg's management and organizations classes at the forefront of knowledge," says Brett. "We've studied how biases affect negotiators' decisions, how negotiators learn and how culture affects negotiators' preferences and strategies."

The research centers contribute much that's valuable for business and education leaders. So too do Kellogg's scholarly publications - an aspect of the school that the dean's office intends to develop even further. "Textbooks are one of the ways our professors can create a legacy and make manifest the products of their knowledge," says Besanko. "This is an area in which we will continue to encourage our faculty to excel."

Excellence has also manifested itself in Kellogg's Executive Education program, arguably the most direct way the school disseminates its research and bridges theory and practice. Ranked No. 1 in the nation by Business Week, Kellogg's executive education curriculum has impacted thousands of senior corporate leaders by giving them the cutting-edge tools to make immediate, practical decisions in their organizations. "When I teach in our Executive Education courses, I find that students really enjoy and appreciate the intellectual frameworks based on our research," says Zajac, a strategic alliances expert who has won the school's Sidney J. Levy Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Whether the students are enrolled in the full- or part-time MBA program, or the executive program, they can expect a world-class management education experience from Kellogg, says Zajac.

And they can expect teachers who are dedicated to teaching and research, and who are committed to getting this information into the hands of their students. "I live and breathe this business," says Krishnamurthi. "I teach, I research, I consult, I read all the time. I bring this passion into the classroom."

Admittedly, negotiating between roles as researcher and teacher isn't always easy, but professors like Diermeier understand the importance of delivering excellence on all fronts. "The students I'm teaching are the ones who are going to run the corporations," he says. "These are the next generation of business leaders. As a teacher, this makes you aware of the profound responsibility you have. What an incredible opportunity."

Learn more about Kellogg faculty research mentioned in this article and read detailed transcripts of interviews with faculty.

©2001 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University