OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Wearing two different hats: moral decisions may depend on the situation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An individual’s sense of right or wrong may change depending on their activities at the time – and they may not be aware of their own shifting moral integrity — according to a new study looking at why people make ethical or unethical decisions.

Focusing on dual-occupation professionals, the researchers found that engineers had one perspective on ethical issues, yet when those same individuals were in management roles, their moral compass shifted. Likewise, medic/soldiers in the U.S. Army had different views of civilian casualties depending on whether they most recently had been acting as soldiers or medics.

In the study, to be published in a future issue of The Academy of Management Journal, lead author Keith Leavitt of Oregon State University found that workers who tend to have dual roles in their jobs would change their moral judgments based on what they thought was expected of them at the moment.

“When people switch hats, they often switch moral compasses,” Leavitt said. “People like to think they are inherently moral creatures – you either have character or you don’t. But our studies show that the same person may make a completely different decision based on what hat they may be wearing at the time, often without even realizing it.”

Leavitt, an assistant professor of management in the College of Business at OSU, is an expert on non-conscious decision making and business ethics. He studies how people make decisions and moral judgments, often based on non-conscious cues.

He said recent high-profile business scandals, from the collapse of Enron to the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, have called into question the ethics of professionals. Leavitt said professional organizations, employers and academic institutions may want to train and prepare their members for practical moral tensions they may face when asked to serve in multiple roles.

“What we consider to be moral sometimes depends on what constituency we are answering to at that moment,” Leavitt said. “For a physician, a human life is priceless. But if that same physician is a managed-care administrator, some degree of moral flexibility becomes necessary to meet their obligations to stockholders.”

Leavitt said subtle cues – such as signage and motivation materials around the office – should be considered, along with more direct training that helps employees who juggle multiple roles that could conflict with one another.

“Organizations and businesses need to recognize that even very subtle images and icons can give employees non-conscious clues as to what the firm values,” he said. “Whether they know it or not, people are often taking in messages about what their role is and what is expected of them, and this may conflict with what they know to be the moral or correct decision.”

The researchers conducted three different studies with employees who had dual roles. In one case, 128 U.S. Army medics were asked to complete a series of problem-solving tests, which included subliminal cues that hinted they might be acting as either a medic or a soldier. No participant said the cues had any bearing on their behavior – but apparently they did. A much larger percentage of those in the medic category than in the soldier category were unwilling to put a price on human life.

In another test, a group of engineer-managers were asked to write about a time they either behaved as a typical manager, engineer, or both. Then they were asked whether U.S. firms should engage in “gifting” to gain a foothold in a new market. Despite the fact such a practice would violate federal laws, more than 50 percent of those who fell into the “manager” category said such a practice might be acceptable, compared to 13 percent of those in the engineer category.

“We find that people tend to make decisions that may conflict with their morals when they are overwhelmed, or when they are just doing routine tasks without thinking of the consequences,” Leavitt said. “We tend to play out a script as if our role has already been written. So the bottom line is, slow down and think about the consequences when making an ethical decision.”

Pauline Schilpzand from OSU, along with researchers from the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest University, contributed to this study.

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Keith Leavitt, 541-737-8631

Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauces CEO to speak at OSU May 17

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Junki Yoshida, the high-energy chairman and CEO of Portland-based Yoshida Group, will detail how he created his own “American Dream” during a talk beginning at noon on Thursday, May 17, at Oregon State University.

The free, public event takes place at the Construction & Engineering Hall of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Yoshida, the man behind Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauces, rose from his modest beginnings to own 18 successful companies and become recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Respected Japanese in the World by Japanese Newsweek magazine.

Known for his zany marketing of sauces, the seventh-degree black belt will discuss how he went from sleeping in his own car to owning a multimillion dollar conglomerate and traveling the world as a motivational speaker.

Aside from his entrepreneurial activities, he also serves on many charitable boards including the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities NW, as well as being a trustee for the Children’s Cancer Association.

The talk is sponsored by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program and the OSU College of Business.

For more information call (541) 713-8044 or go to http://business.oregonstate.edu/programs/aep

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Yoshida

New Corvallis microtechnology firm takes aim at $2 billion market

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Microflow CVOTM, a company spun off from research in the Oregon State University Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (MBI), has launched its first product line of stainless steel micromixers. Inside the precision-engineered devices, which are about the size of a dime, is a multilayer network of channels designed to meet manufacturer needs in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, personal-care product and other industries.

The problem that Microflow CVOTM has addressed seems simple: how to mix two liquids with consistently high-quality results. Manufacturers commonly perform this step in large vats where batches of liquids are stirred and then processed.

In contrast, so-called “microfluidic technologies” push liquids through channels slightly larger than a human hair where mixing occurs under precisely controlled conditions. Microflow CVO’s stainless steel microreactors perform better and cost less than devices currently on the market. They can be customized easily for existing processing operations, said Todd Miller, prototyping manager at the MBI and president of the new firm.

Located in the MBI building on the Corvallis HP campus, the company currently offers two products for sale and will expand its offerings to more than 15 by the end of the calendar year, providing options in flow rates, fluid inputs and operational scale.

Miller has developed and tested micromixers to produce copper nanoparticles, a collaborative effort with the company’s chief technology officer Scott Gilbert, OSU chemistry professor Vincent Remcho and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. With proof-of-concept in hand, Miller applied for and received “gap funding” assistance through the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), which supports efforts to commercialize technology originating from the Oregon University System. “ONAMI has been critical to this whole process,” said Miller. “Without ONAMI, we wouldn’t be here.”

A market analysis by the OSU College of Business estimates the global micromixer (also called “microreactors”) market in the life sciences at $2 billion. “It’s a rapidly changing and growing market,” said John Turner, OSU instructor and CEO of Microflow CVO. He and OSU MBA student Ken True identified more than 1,000 researchers at 270 institutions in 30 countries using microreactors in pharmaceutical research. “We expect the market to exceed $3 billion by 2014. And that’s only in the life sciences. Other chemical manufacturing markets raise the potential for these products,” added Turner.

Miller said the company has licensed rights to patent applications he has made over the past five years while at OSU.

More information is available at http://www.microflowcvo.com.

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John Turner, 541-760-0225

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Scott Gilbert, left, and Todd Miller of Microflow CVO collaborated in the creation of a stainless steel micromixer for use in the chemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

 

Microflow CVO micromixer
The Microflow CVO micromixer achieves a high-quality mixture of liquids for research and industrial process control. (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

New index identifies periods when global stock markets might decline

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers have found a way to measure the likelihood of global stock market losses by identifying periods in which shocks may be more likely to spread across many national markets.

This “fragility index” identifies periods in which international equity markets are more susceptible to widespread pull-backs by identifying common risk exposures. The index identifies when systemic risk exposure is high in markets across multiple countries, and shows an increasing probability of a global stock market draw-down.

For example, the likelihood of a global decline was one in three on days in which the index was high, but less than one in 20 following days in which the index was low.

Dave Berger, an assistant professor of finance at Oregon State University, is lead author on the study, which was published online today in the Journal of Financial Economics.

"The index may have important uses for policy makers, money managers and ultimately private investors," Berger said.

On one level, he said, the fragility index is a measure of when stock movements are most apt to be exaggerated, either positively or negatively. When it is high, movements are more extreme. When fragility is low, stock movements are less apt to experience a significant change, either up or down.

For instance, global daily returns above 1 percent, as well as losses greater than 1 percent, are both more common when the fragility index is high. But when the fragility index is high instead of low, the down days are by far more common. During such periods the probability of one of the bad days occurring is 33 percent – more than seven times higher than when fragility index is low, when these significant downturns occur only 4.5 percent of the time.

Looking at data from 1994 to 2010 that covers indexes from 82 countries, Berger and Kuntara Pukthuanthong of San Diego State University were able to identify periods in which national stock markets had a high degree of correlation, and then were able to identify periods when an initial shock would be more likely to spread.

Berger said the 2008 stock market crash illustrates the importance of studying systemic risk in international equity markets.

“The factors that lead to global declines can change, so we tried to create a general measure of systemic risk,” Berger said. “The probability of a worldwide financial pull-back is highest during periods in which many countries share a high exposure to our factor. When exposures are high across multiple countries, then if a shock occurs it will manifest globally, and multiple markets will simultaneously decline.”

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Dave Berger, 541-737-2636

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Dave Berger

Oregon CEO Summit to be held May 3

PORTLAND, Ore. – The third annual Oregon CEO Summit, which will include business leaders discussing the role real estate plays in the economy, will take place on Thursday, May 3, from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

Sponsored by Oregon State University’s College of Business, the event, “Real Estate Now: Rethinking, Renewing, Reinventing,” begins with a keynote address by Tom Toomey, president and CEO of United Dominion Realty, Inc. Toomey will speak about how the real estate industry is evolving and doing more with less in today’s economy.

Following the keynote, a panel discussion will discuss the role of real estate in the current economy, which continues to challenge the industry and local communities. Panelists include:

The panel will be moderated by Diane Detering-Paddison, chief strategy officer, Cassidy Turley.

With expertise in different segments of the real estate industry including capital markets, construction, institutional investment, design and sustainability, the diverse group of panelists will discuss new trends, opportunities and innovative solutions that drive the economy.

Registration for the summit is $50, which includes breakfast. The Governor Hotel is located at 614 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland. Registration closes on Thursday, April 26.

For more information and to register, go to: http://business.oregonstate.edu/CEOSummit

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

Alumni and Business Partner Awards held May 3 in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – Five prominent business leaders and one Fortune 100 company will be recognized during the Oregon State University College of Business’ Alumni and Business Partner Awards on Thursday, May 3, at the Governor Hotel in Portland.


The annual event, established in 2002, recognizes outstanding professional achievements and services to the college by alumni and business partners.


The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by dinner and the awards presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m. Registration opens Friday, March 30, and will be open until Thursday, April 26. For ticket information visit http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards or contact Gwen Wolfram at 541-737-4330 or gwen.wolfram@oregonstate.edu


The 2012 award winners include:



  • Hall of Fame: Wayne Ericksen ’58, vice president and principal, Columbia Management Company (retired)

  • Innovative Business Leader: Tom Toomey ‘82, president and CEO, UDR, Inc.

  • Distinguished Business Professional: Diane Detering-Paddison ’81, chief strategy officer, Cassidy Turley; founder of 4word and author.

  • Distinguished Early Career Business Professional: Eric Winston ‘98, chief financial officer, Keen, Inc.

  • Distinguished Young Professional: Angelina Lusetti ‘07, store team leader, Target Stores.

  • Distinguished Business Partner: Boeing, Inc.
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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

OSU accounting students take first place in tax competition

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of accounting students from Oregon State University’s College of Business won first prize in the 2012 Foster School of Business Master of Professional Accounting Tax Case Competition held in Seattle.

John Baglien, Kathryn Cook, Victoria Uong, and Brittany Weede solved complex tax-planning problems and took home a $2,400 grand prize after competing against nine teams from the Northwest.

In four tries at this event, OSU students have won twice (2008 and 2012) and came in second in 2009.

The competition was a two-day event sponsored by the University of Washington and KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory firm. On the first day, the students analyzed the tax-relevant activities of a fictional couple and solved various compliance- and planning-related problems. On the second day, the students created a tax plan for the fictional couple and then presented their solutions to actors playing the clients as well as a panel of judges. 

The presentation was structured as a client interview, with the couple frequently interrupting to ask questions or argue with each other about various things, including long-term objectives, when and where they wanted to retire, and whether to keep or sell specific investments.

OSU accounting faculty members Jared Moore and Larry Brown advised the student team.

“My sense is that the quality and depth of their tax planning suggestions along with their professional and positive handling of the difficult clients are what won over the judges,” said Moore, the Mary Ellen Phillips Assistant Professor of Accounting.

OSU accounting students have surpassed the national average on the Certified Public Accounting Exam for the last seven years. Recently, a Master of Business Administration and Accountancy program (MBAA) that will begin in fall 2012 was approved by Oregon State Board of Higher Education.

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Jared Moore, 541-737-2517

Sporting event ads viewed favorably – especially if the game is close

CORVALLIS, Ore. –The average price for a 30-second advertising spot in the 2012 Super Bowl on Feb. 5 is a staggering $3.5 million and a new study suggests that, for advertisers, it may not really matter if the New England Patriots or the New York Giants win.

But for the sake of companies forking out big bucks on the ads, it had better be a close and exciting game.

The study by an Oregon State University researcher, which is being published in the spring issue of the Journal of Advertising, found that viewers consider advertising in a more favorable light after watching a close, exciting sporting event.

“Games with high excitement levels result in a transfer of that emotion to the ads – particularly to ads shown at the end of the game that also have a lot of energy and excitement built in,” said Colleen Bee, an Oregon State marketing expert and author of the study. “We expected the outcome of a game to affect a viewer’s attitude toward the brand and the ad itself, but we found that whether the favored team won or lost had no real impact.

“It was all about the excitement and intensity of the game,” she added.

A perfect example of that came in game six of the 2011 World Series, which according to Bee’s study should have been an advertiser’s dream. The St. Louis Cardinals were one strike from elimination not once, but twice, and rallied to beat the Texas Rangers 10-9 in a heart-stopping come-from-behind win.

“The idea is that excitement from watching the game is then transferred to a greater feeling of excitement for the ads and brands at the end of the game,” Bee said. “We also found that the more stimulating the content of the ad itself, the greater impact the exciting game had on the viewer.”

The study was conducted in a computer laboratory with 112 people who watched a collegiate basketball game. They viewed ads in the context of either a high-suspense game or a low-suspense game, featuring either a win or a loss.

Bee, who is an expert on sports marketing – particularly in the areas of sports and emotions and consumer responses – said the findings have important implications for advertisers.

“The most important influence we found was the level of suspense, both for the game and the advertisement,” she said. “An ad with more zip and high energy paired with a close game resulted in increased favorable responses toward the ad and brand.”

Robert Madrigal, associate professor of business at the University of Oregon, is co-author of the study.

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Colleen Bee, 541-737-6059

OSU alumna and business professional to speak on work/life balance

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University alumna and business woman Diane Paddison will offer practical advice for young professionals in a talk on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the LaSells Stewart Center on campus.

The free, public lecture, “Finding Balance: Practical Wisdom for Young Professionals,” will begin at 7 p.m.

Paddison, ’81, is chief strategy officer at the national commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley and serves on two other corporate boards, Behringer Harvard REIT Opportunity Fund II and AirAdvice. She also is a trustee for the OSU Foundation Board and the Dean’s Circle of Excellence for the College of Business.

Paddison is the author of “Work, Love, Pray: Practical Wisdom for Young Professional Christian Women,” released in 2011 by Harper Collins. She is also the founder of “4word,” a national nonprofit designed to connect, lead, and support young professional Christian women to fulfill their potential. She and her husband have four children and live in Dallas, Texas, and Portland.

For more information, call 541-713-8044 or go to http://business.oregonstate.edu/

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

Weatherford Awards honor notable entrepreneurs in Portland on Feb. 16

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Hollywood screenwriter, a cookware innovator, a communications trailblazer and a wine entrepreneur are among the recipients of this year’s Weatherford Awards, Oregon State University’s annual celebration of lifelong and pioneering entrepreneurship and innovation.

The event will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Hilton in downtown Portland.

Hosted by OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program, the event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by a dinner and the award presentations. Tickets are $95, available until sold out and can be obtained on the web at http://business.oregonstate.edu/programs/aep or by contacting Mary McKillop, 541-713-8044, e-mail mary.mckillop@bus.oregonstate.edu.

The Weatherford Awards recognize pioneering and lifelong entrepreneurs and innovators. This year, three of the honorees are native Oregonians and two are OSU alums.

The awards are named for OSU's Weatherford Hall where entrepreneurship and business students can explore their innovations and new venture ideas in a unique, living learning residence hall.

The recipients of the 2012 Weatherford Awards are:

  • Jim Bernau, a native Oregonian and founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, purchased the Estate site in 1983 and cleared away the old pioneer plum orchard hidden in scotch broom and blackberry vines. He planted pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. Willamette Valley Vineyards has become one of the region's leading wineries, earning the title “One of America's Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
  • Carolyn Chambers, founder of Chamber Communications Corp. and a pioneer in the cable television industry, died in August at the age of 79. Her family will accept the award in her honor. A native Oregonian, Chambers earned a degree in business in 1953 at the University of Oregon, where she was the sole woman in her class. At 25, just four years out of college, she borrowed $100,000 from her father and pooled that with funds from other investors to launch Liberty Communications. In 1983 she founded Chambers Communications Corp., which today operates ABC affiliates KEZI in Eugene-Springfield, KOHD in Bend and KDRV in Medford and Klamath Falls. The company also includes a production arm, Chambers Productions, and Chambers Cable.
  • Stanley Cheng, chairman and CEO of Meyer Corporation and founder/owner of Hestan Vineyards. One of seven children, Cheng was born in 1947 in Hong Kong. He attended OSU where he received his degree in mechanical engineering. In 1981, Cheng founded California-based Meyer Corporation, America’s largest cookware company and the second largest in the world. In the midst of building his cookware enterprise, Cheng, who also received the 2002 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Housewares Charity Foundation, cultivated his growing passion for wine. In 1996, Cheng and his wife Helen purchased a 127-acre property that they named Hestan Vineyards in Napa Valley.
  • Mike Rich, a Portland screenwriter whose breakthrough came in 1998 when his script, “Finding Forrester,” was awarded a prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Within weeks, it was picked up by Columbia Pictures and was a holiday season release in 2000, starring Sean Connery and directed by Gus Van Sant. His second screenplay, “The Rookie,” starred Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths and was both a commercial and critical success for Disney in 2002. He also wrote the screenplays for “Radio” (2003), “The Nativity Story” (2006) and the 2010 film, “Secretariat.”
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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695