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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

Oct 15, 2014
World Class Faculty & Research


Five Steps to Foster Workplace Initiative

Companies can spur proactive workplace behavior when they  take five steps to build an initiative-friendly climate, new research from the Smith School shows.

Employees tend to respond and take initiative when their managers lead by example, provide coaching, allow participative decision making, keep team members informed and show concern.

Looking at data from hotel chains in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, the researchers explored ways that human resources managers, department managers and team leaders influence initiative-friendly climates.

The working paper, “What It Takes to Get Proactive,” was presented Aug. 4, 2014, at the Academy of Management annual meeting in Philadelphia. Co-authors include Smith Professor Hui Liao and recent Smith PhD graduate Joo Hun Han.

Framing Feedback to Motivate Employees

Some workers need positive feedback to keep them motivated, while others respond better to negative reviews. Regardless of the approach, research from Smith PhD student Elad Sherf shows the importance of framing feedback so that workers can see the personal consequences of their behaviors.

Sherf presented his working paper, “Show Me What I Could Gain or Lose: Feedback Framing Effects on Intrinsic Motivation and Performance,” on Aug. 4, 2014, at the Academy of Management annual meeting in Philadelphia.

His co-authors included Smith PhD student Kathleen Sedano and M. Susan Taylor, the Smith Chair of Human Resource Management & Organization Change and Co-Director of the school’s Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change.

IT Capability Translates to Higher Profitability

Companies that invest heavily in information technology tend to perform better for shareholders than the broader market, new research from the Smith School shows.

Smith Professors Michael Kimbrough and Sunil Mithas presented their working paper, “Information Technology Capability and Stock Returns,” on Aug. 5, 2014, at the Academy of Management annual meeting in Philadelphia with a third author from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The researchers said that firms with advanced IT capabilities have access to better data and are able to respond more quickly to changing customer demands. All of this translates to higher profitability.

Peer Pressure Sways Movie and Game Critics

Movie and game critics influence each other in their reviews. But unlike stock market analysts, who tend to take safety in numbers, entertainment critics look for ways to differentiate themselves from their rivals.

“They tend to get more negative when they can see what other critics have to say,” said Daniel Olson, a Smith PhD student who presented his research Aug. 5, 2014, at the Academy of Management annual meeting in Philadelphia. “They face different pressures than stock market analysts because of the lack of objective criteria for ex-post evaluation.”

Olson prepared the paper, “Social Influence and Competition Among Critics,” with Smith Associate Professor David M. Waguespack.

Shoppers: Beware of Your Mindset When Renting

Commitment-shy shoppers carefully evaluate products before making a purchase, but new research from the Smith School shows that something different happens when the same people think about renting.

“They are less stringent about what they take home and how much they acquire,” said Smith Professor Anastasiya Pocheptsova. “They examine fewer options, invest less time gathering information and settle more willingly on second best alternatives.”

Pocheptsova’s study, coauthored with colleagues from Columbia and Yale universities, follows a recent surge in rental options. “Consumers today can rent almost anything, not just traditional big-ticket items such as houses, cars, furniture and appliances,” Pocheptsova said.

Social Media Cues from the Music World

Social media has become increasingly important for musicians to engage fans, promote output and subsequently lift record and concert sales — a dynamic analyzed in a recent study from the Smith School.

Marketing professors Yogesh Joshi, Liye Ma, William Rand, and information systems professor Louiqa Raschid, tracked Twitter activity for several rock bands for more than two years to study how this activity impacts consumer engagement and sales.

Their research shows important distinctions in the levels of engagement for customers of new bands and established bands. Information is stickier than emotion for an established brand, but emotion works better for a newer brand.


Ritu Agarwal, professor and Dean's Chair of Information Systems, was the keynote speaker at the Taiwan Summer Workshop on Information Management, and the City University of Hong Kong Information Systems Research Workshop.

Sean Barnes, assistant professor of operations management, has recently been named as a faculty affiliate of the new Center for Systems Engineering in Health at Johns Hopkins Medicine, which combines the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.

Progyan Basu has been named a 2014 Undergraduate Studies Faculty Fellow. During the 2014-15 academic year, the Undergraduate Faculty Fellows will participate in a faculty learning community that will consider the challenges and opportunities in teaching large enrollment courses and seek to understand and define these courses as important for student success.

Gilad Chen, the Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management & Organization Department Chair, was recognized on Oct. 2, 2014, as a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher. He is one of six UMD professors to earn the award in 2015, and the 16th Smith School recipient since the program started in 1978.

Zhi-Long Chen, professor of operations management, recently gave a plenary talk on “Recent Developments in Dynamic Pricing Research” at the 13th International Conference on Information and Management Sciences from Aug. 3-8, 2014, in Zhangjiajie, China.

Larry Gordon, the EY Alumni Professor of Managerial Accounting and Information Assurance, was a featured speaker at Johns Hopkins University's Cybersecurity Conference in October 2014. The topic of his talk was the “Gordon-Loeb Model for Cybersecurity Investments.”

Kathleen Hanley, visiting associate professor in the Smith School’s Center for Financial Policy, and Associate Professor Jerry Hoberg have been awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant for their project entitled “EAGER: III: CIFRAM: Dynamic Identification and Interpretation of Emerging Systemic Risks Using Textual Analysis.” The proposal was funded by the Office of Financial Research through the NSF and is one of the first to be funded under this program.

Debra Shapiro, the Clarice Smith Professor of Management & Organization, delivered the welcome address at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting Aug. 1-5, 2014, in Philadelphia. Afterward, she officially started a one-year term as president-elect of the global organization.

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