OSU’s Executive Ph.D. students earn top award
at Engaged Management Scholarship meeting

by Terry Tush 
(November 15, 2013 at 8:42 am)
OSU PhD group in Atlanta

A number of participants in the Ph.D. in Business for Executives program represented Oklahoma State University at the third annual International Conference on Engaged Management Scholarship.

A group of business leaders participating in Oklahoma State University’s groundbreaking Ph.D. in Business for Executives program were recognized for their outstanding presentation during the third annual International Conference on Engaged Management Scholarship earlier this year.

OSU Spears School of Business doctoral students Fred Cleveland, Warren Dyer and Patti Jordan joined Craig Wallace, research director of the Ph.D. program, in earning top honors in the poster competition. Their submission of “Funding Climate and its Impact on New Venture Success: Towards Construct Identification and Validation,” won first place at the conference, hosted in Atlanta by the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration Council (EDBAC).

“All of us in the group were obviously very excited to know that our research efforts were recognized by the judges,” said Dyer, who is one of 18 students who will graduate in December 2014 from the three-year program in the Spears School’s Watson Graduate School of Business. “It was exciting for the three of us, and it was nice to receive interest from the CEOs and other company executives, and colleagues around the world, who wanted to visit with us about our research.”

The research conducted by the four focused on the relationship between funding agencies such as venture capitalists and private equity firms and growing businesses. They address the gap between the two by applying behavioral ecology models of predator and foraging behavior to develop and validate the funding climate construct.

Their rational is that the funding climate is comprised of three distinct factors: active (e.g., a shark), sit and pursue (e.g., a hawk), and sit and wait (e.g., a crocodile). Based on the behavioral ecology principles of predatory styles the group offered three expectations:

1)    Entrepreneurial Passion and sit and pursue and sit and wait funding climates will interact in a way to lead to increased new venture success;

2)    Entrepreneurial Preparedness and active funding climate will interact in such a way to lead to increased new venture success;

3)    Passion and preparedness will interact with each other and interact with sit and wait funding climate in such a way that new venture success will be highest.

“As Fred, Patti and Warren started diving into this research they were realizing from their industry experience that Warren Buffett is more of a crocodile. He’s the guy who is only going to take the sure thing. Whereas the sharks are the new players who are going to grab, grab, grab everything they can get, and the hawks are kind of in the middle,” Wallace said of the 14-month long research project.

“We haven’t even finished the study but it’s research that impacts a lot of businesses because it’s important and nobody has addressed this question before. Going at it from the behavioral ecology angle is a little different and most people ask, ‘You’re studying what?’ But as we talk to the business owner about it, it resonates immediately. They want to see and hear more about it.”

The group hopes to make their findings available to the public by the middle of 2014.

“I think it’s really exciting for small businesses or even for executives who are looking for refinancing with bigger companies because you can anticipate how they’re going to act and how they’re going to react, and what will work and what won’t work with certain traits within the firm and with your lender,” said Dyer, a Texas resident who has been involved in the oil and gas industry for the past 15 years. “I think there’s a huge opportunity to do a lot more research in this area, especially with the way the economy is going and the way businesses are going.”

Wallace says that the Oklahoma State contingent left a lasting impression on those at the conference.

“I think everyone from all the other programs left (Atlanta) thinking, ‘wow, Oklahoma State’s program is setting the standard for executive doctorate programs.’ We’re contributing new knowledge but it’s new knowledge that can be used as soon as it’s completed. We don’t have to wait to keep flushing it out and flushing it out. There’s an immediate impact.”

OSU will host the fourth annual Engaged Management Scholarship Conference in Tulsa on Sept. 11-14, 2014.

“We are looking forward to hosting the conference next year and showcasing our outstanding students and the evidence-based research projects that are impacting the business world,” Ramesh Sharda, director of the Ph.D. in Business for Executives program, said. “But it also gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that Oklahoma State University, and not just this one program, is a leader in executive leadership and innovation.”