Mays Business School Marketing Professor Leonard Berry co-wrote an article for Harvard Business Review on improving customer service in high-emotion customer experiences like cancer care. In “When the Customer is Stressed,” Berry and his colleagues identify reasons why certain services provoke high emotions. They also provide guidelines for ways organizations can design these services to better anticipate and respond to customers’ emotional needs.

The article is available online at and in the October 2015 print issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Berry conducted the research for the article with Scott W. Davis, a postdoctoral fellow at the Jones

Graduate School of Business at Rice University who studied at Mays; and Jody Wilmet, the vice president for oncology, diagnostics and hospital physicians at Bellin Health Systems in Green Bay, Wisc.

The team chose to focus on cancer care in part because Berry is conducting an ongoing study of how to improve the service journey that adult cancer patients and their families take from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and in some cases end-of-life care. So far, the research has involved interviews with more than 350 cancer patients, family members, oncologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, nonclinical staffers, and leaders of health care organizations, primarily at 10 highly reputed cancer centers in nine U.S. states.

Berry is a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. He is Distinguished Professor of Marketing and holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. He is the founder of Texas A&M’s Center for Retailing Studies and served as its director from 1982 through June 2000. He is a former national president of the American Marketing Association. He has written the books Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic, Discovering the Soul of Service, On Great Service, Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality and Delivering Quality Service.



Categories: Faculty, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School has partnered with Retail TouchPoints and CashStar to identify a new profile of empowered and engaged digital shoppers.


Ram Janakiraman, a marketing professor and a Mays Research Fellow, was the lead researcher for the project. He analyzed survey data from Retail TouchPoints, the online publishing network for retail executives, to profile the influential “Brand Maven,” or enthusiastic brand advocate.

“It was good to get the reassurance that both digital and social media were the two big channels for consumers when it comes to engagement and interaction,” Janakiraman said. “I expected that people would prefer to use gift cards, but there was overwhelming evidence that digital technology is present throughout many transactions of retailers.”

The report, published by CashStar – a leader in prepaid commerce solutions such as branded gift cards – stands to influence the way retailers interact and view the impact of branded currency and behavior of usage. Its findings also explain how the relationship between a consumer and digital payment evolves, from the introductory point of giving or receiving a gift card to the transition into becoming a loyal customer.

According to Janakiraman, Brand Mavens are among us, with more than 53 percent representing the current shopping population and contributing approximately $1,800 of purchasing power annually through redeemable gift cards and loyalty credits.

Pleased with the collaboration efforts of Texas A&M University with CashStar and Retail TouchPoints, Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies, shared the impact of generating thought leadership. “By leveraging the unique analytical expertise of [our] faculty, the Center for Retailing Studies can help retailers identify their best customers or in this case, Brand Mavens, and quantify their financial value to a firm,” Hollinger said.

Last fall, the Center for Retailing Studies and Janakiraman partnered with Knights Apparel and Texas A&M University for the Back-to-College Roadshow promotional campaign, measuring the impact of social media engagement and evaluating sales of Aggie apparel at Costco Wholesale locations across the state.

According to Hollinger, partnerships like these can help “retailers better know where to invest their money to improve marketing efficiency and effectiveness.”

Janakiraman agrees.

“As researchers, we take a lot of pride working through case studies, marrying practice with academia,” he said. “But each time I work with the Center for Retailing Studies, I learn a lot.”

See the full report at


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers, Mays Business, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Michael A. HittMays Business School’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship was awarded to Michael A. Hitt, a University Distinguished and Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership.

During the recognition program for Hitt, Mays Dean Jerry Strawser said, “We are starting a new tradition in a place that’s full of traditions. We wanted to bring in pioneers and thought leaders in the field.”

Hitt entered the management field 40 years ago, and he spoke on the day of his award about the numerous changes in the field over time. “A lot of the work we do is important on even a broader scale,” he said, adding that the study of management is now global.

Data for research is much more available now than it used to be, but he said basic scientific research is still the basis of all reputable research.

Hitt said the important questions of academia are: What is the impact of your work? And how do you measure it? Strawser said Hitt’s research findings “direct the work of other scholars and the course of future study in the academic profession.” In addition, he said, Hitt “studies relevant issues that affect the business world and impact economic development.”

When Hitt’s impact on audiences – both within his field and outside of academia – is measured by any scale, it always ranks highly. An article in the Academy of Management Perspectives named him as one of the 10 most-cited authors in management over a 25-year period. The Times Higher Education in 2010 listed him among the top scholars in economics, finance and management, and he was first among management scholars (tied), with the largest number of highly cited articles.

Hitt targeted the younger audience members when he spoke to a group of colleagues and students at the award program, offering this checklist of advice:

  • Whatever you do, do it well.
  • Think long-term.
  • Do work for which you have a passion.
  • You’re going to have pressure to do it all well.
  • There are no short cuts.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Nathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Mays Business SchoolNathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Mays Business School

A new study of 365 sell-side financial analysts shows that private phone calls with managers remain an essential source of analysts’ earnings forecasts and stock recommendations — even in light of regulations limiting businesses’ selective disclosure of financial information.

More than half of the analysts surveyed by a team of accounting researchers said they make direct contact with executives of companies they cover five or more times per year. The direct contact with management is so important that one analyst said his company hired an FBI profiler to train analysts “to read management teams, to tell when they’re lying, to tell when they were uncomfortable with a question. That’s how serious this whole issue has become.”

“Our intent was to peer inside the “black box’ and provide new insights about the pressures and incentives analysts face. One key finding is that more than a decade after the passage of Regulation Fair Disclosure (FD), analysts report that private conversations with managers are among their most valuable sources of information,” said Nathan Y. Sharp, assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, who conducted the study with professors at Temple University, The University of Georgia and The University of Texas at Austin.

The survey also finds that accurate earnings forecasts and profitable stock recommendations have relatively little direct impact on analysts’ compensation. These findings are derived from a study titled Inside the Black Box of Sell Side Financial Analysts, which presents results of a 23-question survey focused on analysts’ incentives, as well as 18 detailed follow-up interviews.

The study offers insights into an area that is understudied by researchers of the financial industry. While hundreds of articles have sought to predict financial analysts’ choices using models and statistics, few have peered into the “black box” of the organizational contexts and personal psychologies that drive analysts’ decision-making.

The study’s findings also serve as a potential commentary on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), launched in 2000 to limit selective disclosure of market-moving information to analysts or other key stakeholders prior to the general public.

But respondents noted that companies’ public conference calls discussing quarterly earnings are often followed by one-on-one conversations between analysts and chief financial officers. According to one analyst: “We’re almost back to where we were pre-Reg FD, but not quite because that backroom chatter is shut down. It’s just now it’s not in the backroom; it’s everywhere.”

More insights from the survey include:

  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to lower their earnings forecasts, presumably because outperforming forecasts pleases investors.
  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to raise their recommendations, presumably because it is easier to get their clients to buy rather than to sell the stocks they recommend.
  • While only 35 percent of analysts said the profitability of their stock recommendations were a very important determinant of their compensation, 67 percent cited “standing in analyst rankings or broker votes” as central to their compensation.
  • Only half of analysts considered primary research “very useful” in forecasting earnings or recommending stocks.

The study was conducted by Nathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School; Lawrence D. Brown, Seymour Wolfbein Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business; Andrew C. Call, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business; and Michael B. Clement, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. The full text is available on Social Science Research Network at

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Rishika Rishika
Rishika Rishika

Ramkumar Janakiraman
Ramkumar Janakiraman

More fans on a company’s Facebook page can help generate more income, indicates a research study conducted by four professors, including two from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

The study shows social media participation helps strengthen the bond between the customer and the firm, generating 5.6 percent more revenue and about 5 percent more in-person visits than among non-participating customers.

The researchers were Rishika Rishika and Ramkumar Janakiraman, both marketing professors at Mays; Ashish Kumar from Aalto University; and Ram Bezawada from the University at Buffalo, N.Y.

This study has been published in a special issue of the journal Information Systems Research titled “Social Media and Business Transformation.”

Companies have long questioned the return on investment of resources needed to operate social media sites. Previously, there was no individual-level data connecting customers’ participation in a firm-hosted social media site and their actual purchase behaviors. This study gives business managers a better understanding of the return on their investment in social media. In particular, the study uses novel behavioral data and helps understand the link between social media participation and the number of customer purchases.

Building online communities, personalizing messages and encouraging contributions from online members enhances the customer experience. It also increases the frequency of customer shopping visits and promotes sales overall, the research indicated. The keys to success include maintaining a user-friendly site, sending regular updates about events, personalizing key messages to customers, and encouraging customer-firm interaction through these messages.

“Anyone can open a Facebook page and post, but good firms do something with that interaction – they capitalize on that engagement,” explains Janakiraman. Jason’s Deli, for instance, follows up on customer complaints posted on its social media sites, and large firms boast about the number of fans they have. “We argue social media is good for the business because it helps the customers. They have easy access to information, it pops up on their screens. And reviews come in from other fans in the community.”

By fostering an online relationship between the customer and the firm, customers can be segmented based on purchase history and their prior interactions with the firm. Market segmentation is essential, since not all customers respond to social media equally.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Research Notes, Texas A&M

Prior research finds that there is substantial variation in firms’ ability to avoid income taxes. One possible determinant of this tax avoidance variation is the influence of industry expertise of a firm’s external auditor.

In other words, the tax-specific expertise of the external auditing company a firm hires potentially makes a big difference in companies’ level of tax avoidance, and ultimately, net income.


Thomas Omer


Mays Business School faculty members and researchers Sean McGuire (an assistant professor in accounting), Thomas Omer (Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting) and Dechun Wang (assistant professor in accounting) set out to investigate the relationship between firms’ level of tax avoidance and the proficiencies of the external auditing companies those firms were hiring.

“We started this project because we were interested in the influence of the external audit firm on their clients’ tax avoidance activities,” says McGuire. “Many corporations hire their external audit firm to provide tax services in addition to their audit services. Accordingly, our goal was to investigate whether the tax expertise of audit firms that provide tax services to their client influences their clients’ level of tax avoidance.”

McGuire defines tax avoidance as “any strategy that reduces a firm’s tax liability, used by companies to generate cash savings and increase after tax earnings by reducing their tax expense.”

“Consistent with other academic research,” he explains, “we view tax avoidance as a continuum that ranges from clearly legal strategies, like investments in municipal bonds, to those of questionable legality, like tax shelters.”

The research relied on previous audit studies that define expertise in terms of industry and audit office fees. Two types of industry expertise were identified to measure the level of expertise in firms: overall expertise and tax expertise.

Both overall and tax expertise are designed to capture an audit firm’s tax expertise within a particular industry and city office. However, overall expertise includes audit expertise, rather than solely the firm’s level of tax proficiency.

To gather the information, McGuire says the researchers estimated companies’ tax-specific industry expertise based on an audit firm’s market share in a given industry and city. “We calculated market share using publicly available data from Audit Analytics,” McGuire shares.

The results of the research found that firms who hire industry experts exhibit higher levels of tax avoidance relative to firms that do not hire industry experts.

McGuire expounds upon the research results, saying, “I think the most interesting finding is that the clients of audit firms that have overall expertise, i.e. combined audit and tax expertise, exhibit high levels of tax avoidance. This finding suggests that the combined tax and financial reporting expertise of audit firms allows them to develop tax strategies that benefit their clients from both a tax and financial statement perspective.”

The research results provide a number of significant contributions to tax avoidance literature. Not only do the findings contribute to the stream of research investigating the variation in firms’ tax avoidance activities, but they also provide evidence on the association between the industry expertise of the firm’s external auditor and the firm’s tax activities.

According to McGuire, prior research documents substantial variation in firms’ level of tax avoidance. “Given that there are obvious benefits to avoiding income taxes (higher net income), it is important to understand why some firms are more successful than others in avoiding income taxes,” he says. “It is also interesting to examine whether the industry expertise developed by audit firms (in terms of tax-specific expertise and auditing expertise) influences the tax avoidance of their clients.”

Categories: Research Notes

Companies who produce items such as biochemicals, ready concrete, milk, eggs and even DVDs always arrive at an important question: What is the quickest, most effective way to distribute these short shelf life products?

Neil Geismar, an associate professor in the department of Information and Operations Management at Texas A&M University, along with fellow researchers Milind Dawande and Chelliah Sriskandarajah from the University of Texas at Dallas, explored the solutions to these companies’ issues with distribution of perishable products.

Neil Geismar

The zero-inventory production and distribution problem (ZIPDP) is a common problem encountered in situations in which a product cannot be inventoried because of its short shelf life. Short shelf life is determined by either physical characteristics (such as perishable food items or chemicals) or by the limited duration of market interest (such as magazines, DVDs and electronic games).

Geismar’s research was initiated at the request of the Vice President of Operations at Blockbuster, Inc.’s, distribution center in McKinney, Texas. “He asked us for help to make his system run more efficiently,” Geismar explains. The facility supports 5,600 retail stores via 40 regional hubs, or “pool points.”

“Quick delivery of DVDs to the retail outlets is important because DVDs have an extremely short product life cycle, which can be attributed to the ephemeral nature of most entertainment products, to the release of new titles on DVD every week, and to the release date requirements imposed by the movie studios,” Geismar says.

ZIPDP’s challenge is to coordinate the production and transportation operations so that the total cost of operations is minimized while the product lifetime and the delivery capacity constraints are satisfied. Geismar puts it this way: “The product’s limited lifetime implies that no inventory can be held between production and delivery; hence, the two functions are tightly coupled.”

ZIPDP answers some of the following questions:
  • When and how much should be produced at the plant?
  • Should the production rate be increased?
  • How many delivery trucks should be hired?
  • When should the trucks leave the plant?

The researchers examined a popular method of distribution, the pool-point delivery model, which is also known as the “hub-and-spoke” delivery model. In pool-point distribution, the product or service is delivered to dispersed clusters of demand points by first delivering large quantities to pool points (hubs), which are centrally located in their respective clusters. The large quantities of products are then dispersed into small carriers for point-to-point connections (spokes).

This system is used by a wide variety of industries: airlines (large jets fly between hubs, small ones from hubs to other cities), freight distribution, light petroleum products, candy distribution, automobile distribution, and newspaper delivery. Each of these industries requires two steps of distribution—first to the “hubs,” then to the “spokes.”

Combining pool-point distribution and zero-inventory products is no simple feat. Geismar’s research discusses a few real-world examples of this type of distribution, including the production and distribution of ready concrete for the construction of venues for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. This example served as a case study for the researchers to investigate when considering the production and distribution of Blockbuster DVDs.

Geismar says the research primarily focused on two objectives relevant in the practice: Minimizing the sum of production and delivery time, and minimizing the total cost for producing and delivering products. The research also examined minimizing mean flow time, minimizing maximum lateness, and minimizing the number of late deliveries in the pool point distribution system.

The research details how these systems operate and provide “efficient algorithms to find optimal schedules for various objectives,” the research states.

The researchers’ paper was the first rigorous study of pool-point distribution in a zero-inventory system. Geismar notes that managers’ supply chain decisions are based on production times, delivery times, the cost to hire each truck, and the cost to increase the production rate, so the results of the study proved effective and beneficial to companies facing distribution issues similar to Blockbuster.

Geismar’s research sums it up this way: “By analyzing overall system cost, we provided managerial insights into how different costs for trucks and for production rates affect the optimum decisions on how many trucks to hire and on which production rate to use for various objectives.”

Categories: Research Notes

Think about basic economics — when you specialize in one skill and your neighbor specializes in another, you’re both better off when you collaborate and trade amongst each other, rather than relying on your own advantages.

Firms are increasingly recognizing this principle holds true when it comes to research and development (R&D) information sharing among firms.

Businesses form research and development alliances when developing new products. An R&D alliance is a formal relationship between two or more firms to pursue mutually beneficial goals. The firms remain independent entities, but enter into an agreement to combine their knowledge bases in order to expand and refine innovations. “It’s simple,” says Lorraine Eden, a management professor at Mays Business School. “Two brains are better than one.”

R. Duane Ireland

Michael Hitt

Lorraine Eden

Many industries are involved in R&D alliances, including pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics and chemical companies. When the costs and risks of developing new products are both high, these firms are more likely to enter into an R&D alliance, says Michael Hitt, a University Distinguished Professor in management and Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership.

Dan Li ’05, now teaching at Indiana University, worked at Texas A&M with Eden, Hitt and R. Duane Ireland, Distinguished Professor in management, Conn Chair in New Ventures Leadership and AMJ Editor, on a recent study to examine which type of governance structure is most effective for these alliances. They focused their research on multilateral alliances (three or more firms) and compared them with bilateral alliances (a joint venture between two firms).

“Very few have studied multilateral alliances,” Hitt said in describing the research’s uniqueness. Eden adds: “People have been researching bilateral firms for the past 20-30 years, but there’s been not much written on multilateral ones.”

Hitt describes information sharing between firms as “a real balancing act.” Individual firms must manage the information they share and the information they protect. “In a joint venture,” says Hitt. “If everyone invests money, there’s an incentive to share information and be fair.” They wanted to learn if this remained true when the number of partners increases.

According to Eden, much of the intended knowledge sharing within the alliances involves “tacit information” — information that must be thoroughly explained and demonstrated by one firm to another. She argues that selecting the type of governance (equity-based or contractual) structure can be critical to the success of the R&D alliance since equity ownership, where one firm owns a piece of the other firms, can help facilitate planned knowledge sharing among them.

At the same time, however, sharing knowledge often leads to “unintended information leakages,” which causes problems among the R&D alliance partners. “There’s a real hesitancy,” Hitt says. “When you’re in an alliance, you have to trust your partners, who are potential competitors, to be fair.”

Their study examined 2,500 alliances — 1,700 bilateral and 750 multilateral. The researchers also compared governance structures in two types of trilateral R&D alliances: chain and net. The study found that 18 percent of trilateral alliances use a chain-based approach, which involves a passing of information from one firm to another, and 82 percent of alliances use net-based approaches, or group sharing.

As the complexity of the alliance increases, the probability of cheating also increases. For example, the alliance between pharmaceutical companies becomes more complex if the companies are from different countries, mainly because intellectual property rights vary internationally. Additionally, the more firms involved in an alliance, the more likely there will be a “free-rider,” or a firm that wants information from other companies without sharing any of its own. This is more likely the case in net than in chain trilateral alliances, notes, Eden, because it is “easier for the cheater to hide.”

The research found that equity governance structures, rather than contractual structures, combat the uncertainty of information-sharing firms face as complexity escalates in multilateral alliances. Equity ownership can help compensate for complexity and free-rider problems, while also helping to facilitate intended knowledge transfers. The greater the emphasis on equity share, the smoother the facilitation and transfer of information, the research notes.

The authors found that, for both knowledge sharing and knowledge protection reasons, firms were more likely to use an equity governance structure in multilateral than in bilateral R&D alliances. Similarly, net trilateral alliances were more likely than chain ones to use equity governance structures.

Eden suggested that the study offers a confirmation for firms interested in governance mechanisms. “Companies will be able to look at the findings and determine what type of governance is best for their alliance.”

Categories: Research Notes

Medical errors account for 98,000 deaths each year in the U.S., according to a 1999 report published by The Institute of Medicine (IOM). In a more recent report, the IOM claims medical errors harm 1.5 million people and cost $3.5 billion every year. Interestingly, the report claims that medical errors are not due to incompetent people, but to bad systems that include the processes and methods used to carry out various functions.

Ramkumar Janakiraman

These staggering numbers and facts have caught the attention of many researchers, including Ram Janakiraman, assistant professor of marketing at Mays Business School, Shelley and Joe Tortorice ’70 Faculty Research Fellow and Mays Teaching Fellow.

Janakiraman says he has always been interested in several aspects of healthcare. “As a marketing researcher, the context of doctor and patient relationships greatly interests me,” he says.

This interest led him and a group of other researchers from around the nation to explore and analyze the impact of system automation on medical errors.

Janakiraman explains that medical errors are most commonly traced back to the manual transmission of information across different functional units of the hospital, manual calculations of doses and unmonitored clinical interventions. The big question surrounding the research, he says, was, “Can automation really reduce the rate of errors in various hospital wards?”

Janakiraman’s co-researchers on the article in Information Systems Research were Ravi Aron, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School; Shantanu Dutta, vice dean for graduate programs and professor of marketing at USC Marshall School of Business; and Praveen Pathak, American economics institutions professor at University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration.

The researchers hypothesized that the “Automation of information capture and transmission between agents and across the different functional units of the hospital can reduce the rate of medical errors, because they enable the automation of the checks and procedures, thereby removing the “human touch.'”

Janakiraman drew insight from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), as well as the Joint Commission International (JCI). The Joint Commission recommends that hospitals adopt three procedural norms:

  1. Observe and record actions of agents (Sensing Function)
  2. Recommend context-specific procedural controls (Control Function)
  3. Undertake periodic managerial review of the extent to which agents are in compliance with norms (Monitoring Function)

The researchers recognized these three functions as having potential for automation. One example that could be automated is logging the time an item is removed from storage. Rather than recording it in a logbook, a technician could swipe a digital card to record the time.

Janakiraman says this research is important for a number of reasons: No study has empirically analyzed the relationship between automation and medical errors using actual hospital data and no study has looked at the differential impact of automating these three functions on the incidence of two types of medical errors (procedural and interpretative errors) in hospitals. Also, no other study has examined the effect of quality training programs and their complementary effect on automation of error prevention functions using actual data.

“Collecting this data was a humongous feat,” Janakiraman says. The researchers used panel data of incremental automation over time of the error prevention functions and actual rates of medical errors at several wards of two large, top-notch hospitals.

With this data, Janakiraman describes the two categories of medical errors the researchers found: procedural errors (deviations from norms irrespective of what the context and circumstances are) and interpretative errors (deviations from norms that are classified as errors based on the underlying circumstances and the context).

Results from the study confirmed Janakiraman’s hypothesis: automation of the three core error prevention functions (sensing, control and monitoring) helps reduce both kinds of medical errors (procedural and interpretative).

In addition, the researchers found evidence of a significant complimentarity between automation of certain functions and the training of clinical and nonclinical workers in quality management.

“The research demonstrates that there are hidden benefits to the automation of manual functions that are often not captured in a cost benefit analysis,” he says.

Janakiraman plans to continue with his research on healthcare — this time focusing on hospitals’ decision to adopt various technologies, rather than just the impact of technology.

Categories: Research Notes

In an era of soaring medical costs, providing health care to employees at or near their workplace is gaining new momentum, according to an article in the Winter 2012 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.

A 2011 study by the professional-services company Towers Watson and the nonprofit National Business Group on Health found that 23 percent of the mid-sized and large U.S. employers they surveyed had on-site health clinics and that another 12 percent planned to establish an on-site clinic in 2012.

Leonard Berry

Companies ranging in size from Fortune’s “Best Company to Work For” winner, SAS Institute, to privately held Rosen Hotels & Resorts report that onsite employee healthcare saves millions in health care spending while improving employee health and satisfaction.

Motivated by rising costs and commitment to their staff’s health and productivity, many companies are taking matters into their own hands, according to the article. In this so-called “do-it-yourself” health care, some firms operate clinics with their own employees, including doctors and nurses, while others contract with outside organizations for clinical management and staff.

The entire article, “Do-It-Yourself” Employee Health Care,” is available on the MIT Sloan Management Review website. The article was authored by:

Ann M. Mirabito, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Her research focuses on health care, where she has explored ways stakeholders can act to improve outcomes and value. Her work has appeared in Harvard Business Review and medical journals including Annals of Internal Medicine and Mayo Clinic Proceedings. She has extensive executive responsibility in large (Frito-Lay, Time Warner) and small organizations, consumer and business-to- business and nonprofit and government (Federal Reserve Board).

Leonard L. Berry, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Marketing, and M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. He is also professor of humanities in medicine in the College of Medicine at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. He has served as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic studying health care service and is a former national president of the American Marketing Association. Berry co-authored the book, “Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic.”

Gale Adcock, M.S.N., R.N., director of corporate health services at SAS Institute Inc., in Cary, N.C. She also serves as a consulting associate faculty member for Duke University and is an adjunct associate professor at the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill. She received her Diploma in Nursing from Virginia Baptist Hospital, her BSN from East Carolina University, and her MSN & Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

About Texas A&M University

Opened in 1876 as Texas’ first public institution of higher learning, Texas A&M University is a research-intensive flagship university with approximately 50,000 students — including 9,000+ graduate students — studying in over 250 degree programs in 10 colleges. Students can join any of 800 student organizations and countless activities ranging from athletics and recreation to professional and community service events.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 55,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes