OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of business

OSU business professors’ paper honored by CASE

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A journal article by Oregon State University researchers Jim McAlexander and Hal Koenig on brand communities in higher education has been selected for the Alice L. Beeman Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

The award was for their 2010 paper published in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education.

In the paper, more than 2,000 alumni of colleges and universities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were surveyed by OSU’s Close to the Customer Project, which is directed by McAlexander and Koenig. The Close to the Customer Project provides professional market research and consulting services delivered by faculty and student teams.

In this paper, the researchers found that alumni of smaller schools have more positive feelings about their education than those at large schools. These small-school alumni also tend to maintain closer connections with their faculty, advisers, and institutional leadership than the graduates of larger schools.  However, they found no evidence that alumni had stronger or weaker connections to the school’s brand based on institution size, nor did alumni from smaller schools report having more satisfying interactions with their alumni peers.

“We are pleased and honored that our research efforts to help advancement professionals build better and stronger relationships with alumni are gaining respect and are having positive impacts,” said McAlexander, a professor of marketing at OSU.

“As academics we understand the tremendous importance and value of maintaining supportive and vital relationships with our alumni,” he added. “As our research demonstrates, the university and its alumni are both well served when we can foster mutually valued and supportive relationships with our alumni.”

For more information on the Building Community Initiative, go to: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/c2cbci/

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Jim McAlexander, 541-737-3182

Stereotypes can affect how women “angels” invest, according to new study

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stereotypes about gender affect investment decision-making, even among successful women, researchers concluded in a new study on how gender affects investing strategies.

Examining angel funds, or groups of wealthy investors who pool resources to make investments into a diverse array of start-up businesses, researchers found that the proportion of women angel investors in a group is related to the number of investments made by the group. When women comprised more than 10 percent of the investment group, their presence became associated with increased investments.

John Becker-Blease, of Oregon State University, and Jeff Sohl, of the University of New Hampshire , co-authored the study, which is out in the July issue of the journal Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice.

“It is well-documented that women are, on average, more cautious investors than men and so we expected to find that the higher the proportion of women in the angel groups, the less likely the angel group was to make an investment,” said Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in OSU’s College of Business.

However, the study results surprised them.

“Contrary to our expectations, we found that only when women were in a very small minority was their presence associated with a decrease in investments,” Becker-Blease said.

The researchers said this phenomenon could be related to something psychologists call “stereotype threat.” According to this theory, when a stereotype exists about a person, that person will behave in a manner consistent with that stereotype when they are in a situation that highlights, or accentuates, this aspect of their status, whether that is gender, race or ethnicity.

Becker-Blease cited a past study that showed Asian female students performed relatively well on a math exam when their ethnic status was highlighted, and relatively poorly when their gender status was highlighted. Becker-Blease and Sohl believe something similar might be happening in angel groups.

“When there is only a handful of women participating in these groups, their status as women, who are less aggressive investors, induces greater reluctance to invest,” Becker-Blease said, “but as the proportion of women increases, women investors are made less aware of their status, and invest with greater confidence.”

According to Becker-Blease, these results are provocative and speak to the potential benefits of having more women investors participate in these important sources of funding for new businesses.

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John Becker-Blease, 541-737-6061

OSU’s College of Business hires executive director for industry relations

PORTLAND, Ore. – Pam Knowles, an Oregon State University alumna and Portland business leader with more than 25 years of professional experience, has been named the executive director for industry relations for the College of Business at Oregon State University.

Based out of both Portland and Corvallis, Knowles is responsible for establishing and sustaining relationships with potential employers and corporate partners to strengthen opportunities for students and alumni and also building effective partnerships to support the college’s research and programs.

“Pam understands where business and education intersect and the value of the partnerships between the college and industry, business, and government,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “With the investment in this position, the connections and experience that Pam brings, and the existing relationships we have, the College of Business is positioned to have a greater impact in Oregon businesses, communities, and the economy.”

Knowles was most recently the managing director for the Oregon Zoo Foundation. Previously, Knowles was a partner in the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine where she focused on employment issues for business. She was the chief operating officer and general counsel for the Portland Business Alliance for more than five years. Knowles also has served as the development and marketing director at Portland Center Stage and as the executive director for the Judicial Fitness Commission.

“I am looking forward to strengthening current relationships and building new ones to match opportunities in business and industry with our students, alumni and the college programs,” Knowles said. “These relationships are valuable and important to all of the stakeholders involved.”

In 2009, Knowles was elected to the Portland Public Schools Board of Directors, a group she now co-chairs. Other volunteer activities have included the board of directors of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute, Nike School Innovation Fund, Oregon State Alumni Association, and the State of Oregon Commission on Childcare.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Pam Knowles
Pam Knowles

Smaller companies hit hardest during emerging market crises

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of the reaction by the United States stock market to international financial crises shows that small companies are often hit hardest, and the impact is above and beyond what would be expected given their exposure to global market factors.

This unexpected result suggests the significant impact that investors’ actions can have during emerging market crises. During these crises, investors flee to the perceived safety of big companies and shed stocks of smaller companies, despite comparable levels of international exposure during normal periods.

“The take-away is, just because you invest locally doesn’t mean you are protected from the global market,” said David Berger, an assistant professor of finance at Oregon State University.

Looking at almost 20 years of data that covered about eight large emerging market crashes, Berger and H.J. Turtle of Washington State University uncovered this flight-from-risk trend on the part of investors that flee from small stocks. The results are published in the current issue of the Global Finance Journal.

“We would expect that stock markets in two different, but related economies would crash at the same time,” Berger said. “But we found that during big market crashes, investors adjust their holdings towards bigger corporate stocks that they perceive as being safer, even after controlling for economic exposures.”

Berger said the results of his study are unexpected because past research has focused on the aggregate U.S. market as a whole and found little impact during emerging market crises.

“Investors see these big blue chip stocks as the safer ones, and small, R&D intensive stocks for example, as riskier,” Berger said. “So the stock of a smaller domestic company could take a hit because of an international shock.”

Berger studies U.S. equity markets and international stocks, and said the findings from this study have important implications for investors, even those who tend to invest mainly in the domestic market.

“Interestingly, larger stocks often benefited from emerging market crises and exhibited positive returns,” Berger added. “Because investors started dumping smaller stocks in favor of safer, larger ones, the irony is that larger multinational corporations potentially see positive benefits during international crises.”

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OSU’s College of Business announces director for Austin Family Business Program

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Julianna Sowash, an Oregon State University alumna and former executive director of the Oregon Executive Masters in Business Administration program, has been named director of the Austin Family Business Program in OSU’s College of Business.

Sowash brings more than 15 years of experience at OEMBA, the financially self-supporting joint graduate business program of Oregon’s three largest state universities.

“Julianna’s experience in providing leadership, development and growth in higher education programs will be an asset to the Austin Family Business Program,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “I worked closely with her when she was the OEMBA executive director and was continually impressed with her professionalism and ability to navigate complex relationships to benefit a variety of audiences and the bottom line.”

Under Sowash’s leadership, the executive MBA program grew to annually serve 90 students, 900 alumni and 35 contracted faculty members. In addition to her role as the executive director at the OEMBA, she has also has experience working in higher education at the University of San Diego, where she also earned her master’s in business administration.

For the past year, Sowash was the vice president of operations at DePaolo Equine Concepts, a family owned nutraceutical company specializing in equine health. While there, she responsible for the strategic planning, product development, marketing planning and compliance with industry and federal regulations.

“I am excited to again be back in higher education and a part of the OSU community,” Sowash said. “I am a third-generation Oregon Stater and my experience as a student at the university helped shape my career and deep commitment to community.”

“This role is an ideal fit for my professional background and aspirations,” she added. “I understand and recognize the role that family businesses play in our economy, specifically in the Northwest region, and it is essential that they not only succeed, but thrive.”

As the Austin Family Business Program director, Sowash is also the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business. The endowed chair honors the founder of A.E. Coleman Jewelers, a Corvallis family business since 1927, and assures sustained entrepreneurial leadership for the program.

The OSU College of Business also will soon begin a search for a director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. The position, to be vacated at the end of the academic year, will direct the program in promoting and leading entrepreneurship and innovation research, education and new venture development and commercialization across the OSU campus and throughout Oregon. Kleinsorge will serve as the interim director and will also lead the search for a new director.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses. The program prepares family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and individuals, as they address the challenges and opportunities which inevitably arise, day-to-day and during succession.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Julianna Sowash

Entrepreneur to discuss water, energy conservation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Entrepreneur Fred Ziari will explore water and energy conservation in a presentation on Thursday, May 19, at Oregon State University.

The free public talk is titled “Do What is in Front of You,” and will be at noon at the Construction & Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus. It is part of the Entrepreneurs in Residence Lecture Series.

Ziari, founder of four separate companies, has helped save billions of gallons of water and hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours of electricity. His innovations focus on water and energy conservation, broadband wireless, “smart home” technologies and other areas. He also founded Farmers Ending Hunger, a nonprofit organization that last year provided more than two million pounds of food products to various Oregon food banks.

In addition to the public event, Ziari will be available at a faculty luncheon on May 19 at 1:30 p.m. and a fireside chat with students at 3 p.m. To participate in either event, contact Mary McKillop at mary.mckillop@bus.oregonstate.edu or call 541-713-8044.       

The lecture series is presented by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program and the College of Agricultural Sciences, and supported by the Roger and Sharon Detering Agricultural Entrepreneurship Fund.

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Mary McKillop, 541-713-8044

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Fred Ziari
Fred Ziari

Alumni and Business Partner Awards honor business achievements

PORTLAND, Ore. – Prominent business leaders from around the country were honored on Tuesday during the Oregon State University College of Business’ Alumni and Business Partner Awards, which was held at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The annual event recognizes outstanding professional achievements and service by the OSU College of Business alumni and business partners.

The 2011 award winners were:

• Hall of Fame: Patricia Bedient (’75), executive vice president and chief financial officer, Weyerhaeuser

• Distinguished Business Professional: Steve Gomo (’74), executive vice president and chief financial officer, NetApp Inc.

• Distinguished Early Career Business Professional: Ryan Smith (’95), chief financial officer, Nike Golf

• Distinguished Young Business Professional: Rachel Todd (MBA ’08), vice president, Clinical Services & Specialty Practices, Samaritan Health Services

• Distinguished Business Partner: Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, Mark Kralj, principal

• Distinguished Service Award: Brigadier General Al Guidotti (’56), Boeing (retired)

The event was sponsored by the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

Five high school teachers awarded Outstanding High School Educator Award

PORTLAND, Ore. – Five exceptional high school teachers from Portland, Rockaway Beach, Lake Oswego, Gold Beach and Vancouver, Wash. are this year’s recipients of the Outstanding High School Educator Award.

The awards are sponsored by Oregon State University’s College of Business and the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

Honorees will be recognized at Oregon State University’s 2011 College of Business Alumni & Business Partner Awards dinner on Tuesday, May 3, in Portland. Each will receive a $500 award to use in advancing educational programs at their school.

The annual awards recognize high school educators whose efforts have improved student achievement, used innovative and exemplary instructional strategies and enhanced student learning. Winners were selected based on their philosophy in teaching and how their efforts improved education in innovative ways.

Nominations were submitted from throughout Oregon and southwest Washington and were made by students, fellow teachers and administrators.

“We believe that education, especially at the high school level, provides the building blocks of leadership and evaluation, as well as the inspiration for future achievement,” said Steve Clark, president of the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

The following teachers will receive this year’s Outstanding High School Educator Awards:

  • Gretchen Anthony has taught at Gold Beach High School on the Oregon coast for more than 21 years. She is known for instilling complex mathematics subjects through creative techniques, including guest speakers to illustrate career opportunities and the role of mathematics in the business world.
  • Diana Bledsoe is a teacher at Legacy High School in Vancouver, Wash., where she helps at-risk students retain essential life skills and meet graduation requirements. Her varied courses incorporate student interest in writing, culture and history that create a learning atmosphere of motivation, curiosity and engagement.
  • Elena Garcia-Velasco has developed and implemented a rigorous college-bound philosophy among students at Roosevelt High School in Portland. She teaches advanced placement classes for native Spanish- and English-speaking students.
  • Beth Gienger of Neah-Kah-Nie High School in Rockaway Beach has been a science teacher for 27 years and continually inspires students with her expertise in marine biology. She has taken students to numerous science competitions and has won championships.
  • Terry Moore, a teacher at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, is known for using innovative instructional methods at to help students understand difficult mathematics concepts. He has inspired students to become doctors, lawyers, business leaders, teachers, mathematicians and even a Rhodes Scholar.
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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

Oregon CEO Summit held May 3 in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – The second annual Oregon CEO Summit, which will include business leaders discussing how innovation is driving success in the new economy, will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The event begins with lunch and keynote address by Patricia Bedient, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Weyerhaeuser. Bedient will speak about the role of innovation in a 110-year-old company today and in the future.

Following the keynote, a discussion panel will feature enterprising business people in health care, natural resources, technology, and business sectors.

Panelists will discuss the role of innovation in creating value-added and high-paying jobs, growing new markets for the global economy, and developing next-generation leaders. The panelists are:

The panel will be moderated by Steve Clark, president of the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

The Oregon CEO Summit is sponsored by Oregon State University’s College of Business and the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers. Registration for the summit is $50, which includes lunch. The Governor Hotel is located at 614 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland. Registration is due by Thursday, April 28.

For more information and to register, go to business.oregonstate.edu/CEOsummit.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

How American consumers view debt: a case study

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study published this month suggests that while younger Americans are more smitten with credit cards and debt than older Americans, the older generation helps enable their children by encouraging use of credit as a “safety mechanism.”

The findings were based on case studies conducted with 27 white, middle-class Americans in 2006. The researchers, Michelle Barnhart of Oregon State University and Lisa Peñaloza of Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord of France, wanted to explore some of the attitudes, perceptions and cultural meanings behind how Americans view and use debt and credit that could have contributed to the economic recession. While a small study, Barnhart said these participants were representative of overall perceptions Americans have on credit.

The results, which include detailed interviews with participants, are currently available online and will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

“The economic crash was not just about people being dumb or greedy,” Barnhart said. “There are compelling forces out there that lead people to live lifestyles outside of their means.”

In 2008 alone, Americans spent 9.3 percent of their income servicing debt. And in 2010, more than 24 percent of homes in the United States had an upside-down mortgage owing more than the homes were worth. Based on interviews conducted before the 2008 financial crisis, researchers found that even though consumers espouse that they should limit their debt, they take on significant debt because doing so has become normal. As one participant put it, taking on debt is “the American way.”

Barnhart and Peñaloza’s research yielded a few key findings, including:

  • Americans suffer from a lack of financial literacy. Every participant said they had learned about credit card use and debt primarily through personal experience. Very few had received any training in school or at home, and most participants said they didn’t discuss family finances with their children.
  • Half of the participants had debt they were unable to pay and one-third of them were dealing with collection agencies.
  • Participants often talked about credit as a measure of worth, noting that if they were approved for a certain loan they were “good enough for that car.” Statements often indicated that approval for big-ticket items such as cars and homes were directly related to a value of the person.
  • Those who had credit cards and paid them off each month tended to be older, and had higher incomes.
  • Several of the younger participants in the study noted that they did not want to use credit, but felt they had to in order to finance cars and homes in the future. Most of the younger participants also were encouraged by their parents to have credit cards, and started using credit at a much younger age than those older than 50.

Barnhart, who is an assistant professor of marketing at OSU, said much of the research done on cultural behavior and attitudes leading up to the economic downturn has focused on ethnic minorities and low-income minorities. However, she said it has been some of the most educated and privileged of Americans who have engaged in risky financial behavior.

This case study, while a small sample, was able to ask detailed questions to probe into deeper issues within American society.

“Over time, credit card use and heavy debt has become normalized in our culture,” she said. “Even though we say as a society, ‘don’t get in debt,’ the overwhelming messages being sent out – from the way credit is used to approve or disapprove us for services to political leaders telling us to spend after a big disaster to prove our patriotism – all of this has created a culture of debt.”

One of the few young participants to not carry any debt said she felt punished for her refusal to have a credit card. She was refused a cell phone, and had encountered embarrassing situations during business travel because she did not have a credit card. Barnhart said this system of penalizing consumers for not using credit is one of the problems.

“Your credit score is this big black box mystery,” she said. “There are three companies in the entire country that control this information, and they make the rules and the equation is secret. So people are told to get credit cards, but not use them. For some, this is equivalent to filling your freezer with ice cream and telling you not to eat it.”

Barnhart would like to next do a study about how norms, values, and habits have changed since the economic crisis. However, she said financial literacy is still the missing link in American society. She and Peñaloza believe that financial literacy classes should be required in schools, and that these classes should not only address credit card fees and compound interest, but also critique debt as a cultural value.

“It’s easy to sit back and blame consumers for just spending too much, but the truth is we have an entire infrastructure set up to support, maintain and encourage credit card use and debt,” Barnhart said. “I would love to see economics back in high school classes that addresses how to manage household finances. And firms need to step up. The 2010 credit card reform was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.”

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Michelle Barnhart, 541-737-1455