Author Archive

Asfaw Video

Manderfeld Video

Figlmiller Video

Lenz Video

Haddad Video

Newman Video

Research: Alok Gupta

How can information transparency be leveraged in e-commerce?


In a recently accepted article by Information Systems Research, Alok Gupta, Curtis L. Carlson School-wide Chair in Information Management, joins co-authors in exploring price elasticity and the existence of turbulence in online pricing in “Information Transparency in Business-to-Consumer Markets: Concepts, Framework, and Research Agenda.”


According to their research, when faced with emerging internet-based price comparison tools, sellers are increasingly designing innovative market mechanisms that reveal or conceal market information to compete on information rather than just price. As an example of the strategic trade-off between attracting consumers with market information and the risk of losing information advantages to competitors, Gupta and his co-authors looked at the turbulence in online pricing in the airline industry. The airline industry has gone through substantial market structure formation due to the information revolution triggered by the internet. Because of this, they have had to view the transparency of products and prices strategically, and have done so through the creation and revamping of the discount travel website Hotwire as first a mechanism that concealed information about the travel itinerary and carrier up front, and then introduced three levels of fares with different degrees of transparencies regarding product information.

        This example demonstrates two impacts of e-commerce technologies, namely, the increased overall ability of firms to disclose market information to consumers (transparency potential) and the increase in firms’ choices to conceal and distort product and price information. The paper finds that due to information technology, these changes in the availability of market information are likely to influence consumer behavior, firm strategy, and market structure. The paper synthesizes the conditions under which information can be monetized and identifies research opportunities in the design of markets based on information transparency.

Research: John Budd

What are the characteristics of never-unionized individuals?


There is a large body of research examining individual decisions to unionize and the characteristics of unionized workers. Overlooked, however, are individuals who have never unionized. John Budd, Industrial Relations Land Grant Professor, along with Jonathan Booth, ’09 PhD, and HRIR PhD candidate Kristen Munday, looked at this group and presented their findings in “Never Say Never? Uncovering the Never-unionized In the United States” in the British Journal of Industrial Relations. “Prior to our research, we did not know whether this was a large or small fraction of the U.S. workforce, nor did we know its characteristics,” Budd says.

        Budd used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a widely used survey by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey’s authors followed 1,522 individuals starting when they were 15 or 16 years old in 1979 until they were 40 or 41 years old in 2004. By assuming that individuals’ direct experiences with unions before age 15 or 16 was minimal, the authors constructed a unique series of never-unionized profiles by observing when each individual first became employed in a union job as they aged from 15/16 to 40/41, and then identifying those who were still never unionized at age 40/41.


Surprisingly, the authors found that only one-third of U.S. workers have never held a unionized job and have never been represented by a union by age 40/41. Moreover, a convex, never-unionized age trajectory suggests that most of these individuals will remain never unionized. An analysis of the demographic and labor market characteristics of the never-unionized further suggests two types of never-unionized workers: those with little education who lack opportunities for obtaining unionized jobs, and those with high levels of education who lack the desire to obtain unionized jobs. “These results have a variety of important implications,” Budd says. “They help us better understand the labor market experiences of U.S. workers over the life course.”

        Budd adds that the never-unionization rate also complements the oft-cited union density rate to create a deeper understanding of the true impact and reach of U.S. labor unions. At any given time, less than 15 percent of U.S. workers are unionized, but the paper’s results reveal a much broader reach of labor unions in the U.S. employment relationship. Union leaders also should try to understand how to better capitalize on this broad reach, while managers should better understand how their employees’ previous experiences with unionization affect their current attitudes toward work.

Research: Gautam Ray

What is the relationship between environmental uncertainty and IT infrastructure governance?


Gautam Ray, assistant professor, Department of Information and Decision Sciences is the coauthor of “Environmental Uncertainty and IT Infrastructure Governance: A Curvilinear Relationship,” which has been accepted for publication by Information Systems Research. This study provides a more refined understanding of the relationship between environmental uncertainty—the dynamism, munificence, and complexity faced by a firm, along with IT infrastructure governance—and the pattern of decision-making regarding IT infrastructure.

        Prior research considers the IT governance decision to be a trade-off between the cost-efficiency of centralized information processing and the responsiveness provided by local information processing. Environmental uncertainty plays a major role in this trade-off. In uncertain environments, the need for local information processing dominates the cost-efficiency available from centralization, leading to decentralization in IT governance.


Prior research of the impact of environmental uncertainty on IT governance overlooked the presence of the moral hazard associated with local decisions. Using a moral hazard model, Ray and his coauthors show that while environmental uncertainty makes decentralization more valuable by enhancing responsiveness to local information, it also exaggerates the moral hazard problem, as it is hard for headquarters to monitor business units’ decisions.

        Ray’s paper shows that there is an inverted U-shaped relationship between environmental uncertainty and decentralization in IT governance. When the information asymmetry between headquarters and a business unit is high, an increase in environmental uncertainty first increases and then decreases the likelihood of adopting decentralized IT governance.

        The implication from this study is that given the level of environmental uncertainty, managers need to trade off the benefits of local responsiveness provided by decentralization with the benefits of control and coordination provided by centralization.

Success: Black – Rowe

For Tony Black and Andrew Rowe, helping Twin Cities firms market themselves is the cornerstone of DealStork.com, their web-based company. DealStork.com gives businesses such as restaurants, retailers, and service providers the opportunity to post “deals.” Consumers need to purchase a set number of deals before they are “activated.” If the number of purchases is not met, the business does not pay a fee for running the promotion. If it is met, the business receives a portion of the amount collected, and the deals are honored for the customers.

Coming up with the idea was based primarily on personal experience. “We have had experience with family and friends who own businesses and have struggled to find an effective marketing solution with little or no upfront costs,” Black says. “In Minnesota, there were few options that provided a trackable, low-cost solution for business owners.”

While they did find some similar programs around the country, none had yet penetrated the Minneapolis market. Sensing an opportunity, they launched DealStork.com in December 2009, and have been working diligently to build their customer base.

Black and Rowe met each other at the Carlson School through the Alpha Kappa Psi coed business fraternity. Black was vice president of finance for the 2002-2003 school year and president in 2003-2004. Rowe served as vice president of finance in 2005-2006. Since graduation, Black has been working for Securian Financial Group as a retirement consultant, and Rowe was a financial analyst for Best Buy before moving to Chicago with his wife. He is now a financial analyst for the Follett Higher Education Group.

Despite having full-time jobs of their own and being separated by 700 miles, they’ve kept Dealstork.com going. “The Carlson School provided all of the necessary building blocks to be able to successfully run a business,” Rowe says. “We both majored in entrepreneurial management, which provided a great foundation for analyzing the validity of this venture.”

Black adds that the numerous team projects and presentations they worked on in college also have helped. “The skills that we gained from team projects and being comfortable delivering presentations has been a huge benefit for us,” he says. “One of the best features of the Carlson School is how well you are trained and prepared for the business world,” Rowe says, noting that the emphasis on creating a resume, interview practice, extracurricular activities, mentorship programs, networking, and internships sets up students to be leading candidates for the jobs and careers they want to pursue. “We feel the Carlson School fully prepared us to build a business from the ground up.”

Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch

by Dileep Rao, senior lecturer, Department of Strategic Management and Organization

What’s the secret to successful entrepreneurship? The Carlson School’s Dileep Rao went right to the source for answers. From the stories of entrepreneurs who have built some of the world’s great companies, this book shows entrepreneurs how they can control and build a business from scratch. Featuring an in-depth look at 28 entrepreneurs (most of whom didn’t receive venture capital), the book details how each bootstrapped and used alternate financing options to grow. They instead relied on the fundamentals: finding the right market, designing a sound strategy, and developing the organizational culture and leadership with capital-efficient strategies.

TOC Home From the Dean Learning by Doing We're Listening to You The Next Big Thing Promising Start 5 Things I've Learned Sweet Success Veteran Perspective 3 People - 3 Questions Q&A - Blake Hoffarber New Books In Brief Gautam Ray Alok Gupta John Budd, Jonathan Booth, Kristen Munday International Learning Hello Alumni Key Points to Career Networking An Industry Leader Tomorrow's Entrepreneur Today The Business of helping other Businesses Greetings Alumni Higher Purpose Advancing Access Class Notes Home

Carlton Connect

Facebook LinkedIn FlickrTwitter