Ispim Wiley Innovation Management Dissertation Award 2013

My research is broadly in the area of Operations Management with a focus on Innovation Management and Sustainable Operations. Within these topics, I am interested in studying the relationship between operational design and strategic interaction on overall system-level and individual firm-level performance.

Innovation Management has been studied extensively in Economics and Management. In contrast to these fields, I use a process lens to model innovation dynamics, which is typical of the Operations Management field. This allows me to study the nuanced interaction of contextual operational specificities and agency issues such as moral hazard and adverse selection. This stream of research is represented in my papers [1] – [7], summarized in Table 1 below. This is also the focus of my PhD thesis, which received the ISPIM-Wiley Best PhD Dissertation in Innovation Management Award in 2013.

My other (and more recent) area of interest, Sustainable Operations, is an emerging field within the Operations Management community. Building on my research in Innovation Management, my work in Sustainable Operations studies the impact of multi-party interactions and supply chain design on sustainability. This stream of research is represented in my papers [8], [9], and [10].

My predominant research approach is to develop analytical models for research questions that are either normative or descriptive in nature. I am also interested in answering questions aimed at validating or rejecting a theoretical construct, for which I appropriately use empirical (including experimental) methodologies. The use of empirical methods, in turn, helps to refine analytical models. This echoes a cycle of theoretical prediction using analytical models, followed by empirical validation and analytical model refinement observed across papers in Operations Management.


Innovation ManagementSustainable Operations
Analytical Models[1] Licensing contracts for university spinoffs

[2] Control rights, options and timing in R&D licensing

[4] Negotiation rights in R&D partnerships

[6] Dispute resolution in R&D collaborations

[8] Capacity allocation for a green farm

[9] Green sourcing

Empirical/Experimental Analysis[3] Operations in NPD alliances

[5] Incentives for competing R&D managers

[7] Bargaining power and alliances in R&D

[10] Labor malpractice in supply chains

Summary of Key Research Papers and Areas

Clarkson University School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Anju Sethi’s Ph.D. dissertation was selected among the top-three dissertations in an international dissertation competition on innovation.  

The competition was held by the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) in collaboration with Wiley. More than 150 dissertations on innovation were submitted for this competition from universities in 40 countries including the United States and Canada.

Dissertations were selected for the award based on impact, innovativeness, scientific rigor, and communication. The ISPIM-Wiley Innovation Dissertation Award is a leading award of its type worldwide.    

The award winners attended the ISPIM conference in Helsinki in June, where the final awards were announced. Sethi attended the conference where her dissertation was awarded the second prize in the competition.

Sethi received her Ph.D. degree from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in 2012. Her dissertation adviser was Professor Louise Heslop. Sethi also has an MBA from Clarkson University and a degree in economics from the University of Delhi, India.

The title of Sethi's dissertation is “The Stage-Gate Process, Organizational Politics, and Performance of New Products.” A majority of medium and large organizations use the Stage-Gate or a similar process to bring discipline into product development and more efficiently allocate firms’ resources by screening out weaker projects. Specifically, Sethi's dissertation examines if the Stage-Gate process is vulnerable to organizational power and political influence.

The dissertation challenges a number of key assumptions underlying research on the Stage-Gate process. For example, it challenges the assumption that if new product projects are evaluated using rigorous criteria, organizational factors such as power and politics will not enter the product development process. The dissertation shows that evaluation rigor is not able to prevent power and politics from creeping into the Stage-Gate process, leading to a negative influence on the innovativeness and market performance of new products so developed.

It also challenges the long-standing notion that surplus or slack resources help in the development of innovative products. The dissertation shows that in a more political organization, slack resources are used as a tool by senior managers to enhance their power, which adversely affects the innovativeness of new products and their market performance.

Sethi has taught courses such as principles of marketing, promotions strategy, and business-to-business marketing at Clarkson.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Anju Sethi’s Ph.D. dissertation was selected among the top-three dissertations in an international dissertation competition on innovation. Above, Sethi (second from left), award winner Niyazi Taneri of the University of Cambridge (third from left), and International Society for Professional Innovation Management executives.

[A photograph for media use is available at]

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