By Kara Sherrer
Eric Johnson, Dean of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, announced today that Professor Kejia Hu has been awarded a Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellow. He also announced that Jessica Kennedy’s term as a Dean’s Faculty Fellow has been renewed for another two years. The fellowships recognize young assistant professors whose research has a significant impact. Recipients hold the fellowship for a two-year term, which carries support for research activities; the inaugural fellowships were first announced in 2017.
“It is exciting to see how the fellowships have propelled the careers of our Assistant Professors. Both Professors Kennedy and Hu are having a big impact on their respective fields and making a mark on the Owen community,” Johnson said. “We are grateful that Brownlee O. Currey Jr. created these fellowships to recognize rising young professors whose research is having significant impact.”
Professor Hu is an empiricist in operations management with particular interests in service management and sustainability management. Her scholarship investigates the connection between customers’ decisions and their preferences on service aspects: the speed in service access and the quality in service delivered. Professor Hu also studies product life cycle (PLC) curves from historical demand data to help forecast demand of ready-to-launch new products. Her recent work on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and regulations in the automobile industry found that tighter NOx standards led to a higher probability of misconduct, a particularly important revelation in the wake of Volkswagen’s emission scandal. She’s currently working on a number of healthcare-focused service operations projects.
“I am very thankful that due to receiving the Currey Fellowship, I have the opportunity to move forward with my research in a more efficient manner to promote innovative corporate and public service designs for improved customer experience and social welfare,” Professor Hu said.
Professor Kennedy’s research describes tensions between ethical values (“doing good”) and instrumental outcomes (“doing well”) and explores how people resolve them. Her work has studied why traits and behaviors like overconfidence, accusations, and disrespectful behavior produce desirable social outcomes, describing when and why they are misperceived to signal qualities valued by groups. Some of Kennedy’s recent studies have found that holding higher-ranking positions blinds people to unethical practices they are responsible for stopping by leading them to internalize the group’s values, and that gender differences in identity can help to explain when women and men negotiate differently. In 2018, her article describing women’s strengths as negotiators and leaders won a top award from the Academy of Management. In 2019, her article on gender differences in negotiator identities won a top award from the International Association for Conflict Management.
“Producing research is exciting but also very resource-intensive. I think my best work lies ahead of me and the Currey Fellowship will definitely help to propel me into the next stage,” Professor Kennedy said.