Tag: Praxis

Do you really want to buy that bag of chips that lots of other people have touched? The answer may not be as simple as you think.

Steve Nowlis, August A. Busch Jr. Distinguished Professor of Marketing, shed some light on consumer shopping behavior and retailer shelf-stocking priorities on Thursday, September 25 at the Praxis Luncheon Series.

Nowlis presenting

Prof. Nowlis presenting at the Praxis luncheon.

Nowlis shared findings from his research in a presentation called, “Is a Messy Shelf Actually Working in Your Favor?”  He covered some practical marketing solutions for the audience that included representatives from Schnuck’s, Purina Pet Care, and other local companies.

Q: Should your potato chip shelves be neatly stocked and full?
A: Yes.

Q: Should your shelves displaying laundry detergent look the same?
A: Not necessarily.

The research indicated that consumers seem to think edible products, that looked “handled” on a messy shelf could have been contaminated in some way – even if they are packaged – making the product less desirable.

The same was not true for noningestible items, like detergent.  Soap appeared more desirable if there were fewer items available and the shelf was somewhat disheveled.

Watch video of Prof. Nowlis discussing his research with Kate Freihaut, MBA’14.

About Olin Praxis: A journal that features research conducted by the Olin Business School faculty that is relevant to today’s business professionals. Topics range from finance and strategy to workplace creativity and marketing trends. Praxis translates noted academic papers into practical applications that can impact the way managers do business. Click here to read the latest issue online.

Marketing professors Joseph Goodman and Selin Malkoc presented new research about the effects of time and choice on consumers at the latest Olin Praxis luncheon, Dec. 9. The professors shared details of their experiments that suggest consumers may be suffering from product variety overload and actually prefer fewer choices under certain conditions. In particular, consumers prefer a smaller assortment of products when purchase decisions are to be made in distant future.


Pictured left to right: Joseph Goodman, Richard Mahoney and Selin Malkoc

Over 40 attendees, representing marketing executives from a wide range of local companies including Citi, Emerson, Express Scripts, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Schnuck’s, and others gathered for this year’s second Praxis Luncheon at the Knight Center.

Supported by Richard Mahoney, Olin Distinguished Executive in Residence and former Chairman and CEO of Monsanto, the event was part of the series of luncheons featuring Olin Business School faculty and their research with implications and applications for today’s business managers.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion with the corporate guests. The next Olin Praxis luncheon will be held in February with the winner of the 2013 Olin Award as guest speaker.

Praxis 2013 coverRead the executive summary of “Choosing Here and Now vs There and Later: The Moderating Role of Psychological Distance on Assortment Size Preferences” by professors Goodman and Malkoc in the latest issue of Praxis: Research that Impacts Business.


Wow!  Olin’s faculty members are doing some amazing research.

At our first Praxis luncheon this year, Professor Andrew Knight presented his research on how to effectively lead teams with diverse values.

Most of us think of diversity in terms of demographics, or skill sets.  Professor Knight and his team found that we really need to be thinking about diversity of values – because teams with similar values need to be managed much differently than teams with differing values, in order to maximize team performance.

When team members’ values differ, there is a high risk of conflict.  Managers of these teams can either provide structured, task based leadership, or they can provide person-focused leadership.  Professor Knight found that when managers provided task-focused leadership, teams with a high values variance vastly outperformed (and with less conflict) similar teams receiving person-focused leadership.

When team members’ values were similar, both leadership styles resulted in good performance, although the person-focused managers had slightly better outcomes.

This research is truly relevant to business, across all industries and functions, and certainly has changed the way I look at diversity in teams!

Murray Weidenbaum, Richard Mahoney, and Andrew Knight

Murray Weidenbaum, Richard Mahoney, and Andrew Knight

The Praxis luncheon series was designed to help put the relevant, cutting-edge research of Olin’s faculty in the hands of business leaders who can apply its findings to benefit their own organizations.

Sponsored by Olin’s Distinguished Executive in Residence, Richard J. Mahoney, the luncheon series is part of a broader effort to foster meaningful, mutually beneficial interaction between Olin’s faculty and the corporate community.

Praxis 2013 cover


Read a summary of Prof. Knight’s research paper in the new issue of Praxis: Research that Impacts Business.