Center for Applied Research
We Get to the Heart of the Matter
The Graziadio School of Business and Management and the Center for Applied Research are committed to developing values-centered leaders and advancing responsible business practice through scholarship. Pepperdine University is proud to uphold its mission to practice thought leadership and social responsibility through the applied learning and research of its faculty and student body.
The Economics and Politics of Corporate Social Performance
Associate Professor of Finance
Focus: The bureaucracy of and relationship between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Key Findings: CSR engagement positively influences operating performance and firm value, and corporate social responsibility and corporate governance are certainly interrelated.
Business Impact: When managers use CSR to resolve conflicts with consumers, employees and the community, firm operating performance and value improve. In addition, social performance and attention to social pressure enhance firm financial performance.
An Empirical Study of Leader Ethical Values, Transformational and Transactional Leadership, and Follower Attitudes Toward Corporate Social Responsibility
Assistant Professor of Organizational Theory and Management
Focus: Seeks to understand leadership as moral, values-based influence process in which leaders and followers develop a collective identity and vision comprised of shared stakeholder values that extend beyond self-interests.
Key Findings: Followers of transformational leaders are more likely to engage in voluntary behaviors and put forth discretionary effort because they believe that their values are in alignment with their leader.
The transformational leadership process positively impacts followers' beliefs in the stakeholder view of CSR, which impacts followers’ willingness to exert extra effort in their organizations and communities.
Business Impact: Systems for selecting, placing, developing and retaining leadership talent should be informed by values-centered transformational leadership models.
Student Learning Impact: Students actively participate in leadership assessment process by completing a multi-source evaluation that measures ethics, personal values, transformational and transactional leader competencies. Feedback provides implications for developing values-centered leadership competencies.
Building a Collaboration Capability for Sustainability: How Gap Inc. is Creating and Leveraging a Strategic Asset
Professor of Organization Theory
Professor of Organization and Management
Focus: Building collaborative capability as organizations partner with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, suppliers, and competitors to build sustainable organizations and processes.
Key Findings: Issues of sustainability are complex and multifaceted, requiring partnerships. Unique skills and attributes are needed to build effective partnerships. Collaboration is a successful strategy when faced with external pressures, if sincere. Finally, there are as many challenges to internal collaborations as to external ones.
Business Impact: Helps businesses realize that partnerships and collaboration are necessary skills and mindsets for effective leaders, especially in turbulent environments.
Student Learning Impact: Students must also learn to embrace ambiguity and be put in situations where they partner and collaborate with not only other students, but also with real organizations during the learning process (E2B, service learning, consulting projects, etc.).
CO2 Emissions and Reduction and Mitigation Potential in China's Chemical and Ammonia Industries
Associate Professor and Discipline Lead of Information Systems
Focus: Offers analysis of China’s chemical industry and provides insight to help that government’s policy makers weigh options to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency in production.
Key Findings: Uncovers the high hurdles that China must get over in order to address the emission and energy use of the chemical industry, especially in the ammonia production segment. Two approaches are presented to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions for the entire ammonia industry. One approach is to partly replace coal use with natural gas. The other approach is to improve the energy efficiency of coal-fueled technologies. For either solution to work, the studies indicate that governmental support of localization and assimilation of energy-efficient technologies will be imperative.
Social Impact: This research is highly relevant given the recent debate on energy issues that has arisen because of the catastrophic events in Japan. Articles from this research highlight the reality that focus and sometimes technological simplicity in addressing critical issues can yield results with impact.
Exploring Happiness and Performance at Work
Assistant Professor of Decision Sciences
Associate Professor of Applied Behavioral Science
Focus: Investigate five managerial roles (director, focuser, linker, influencer, happiness enhancer) and five key practices for each role to determine link between happiness and performance.
Key Findings: The director role in an organization has the most relevance to developing values-centered leaders and advancing responsible business practice. The director needs to effectively orient others to values and define the vision and mission of the organization. A threshold level of happiness is needed to sustain high performance.
Business Impact: Helps executives understand how to be effective leaders and to improve employee well-being, happiness, and performance which in turn produces customer results (satisfaction & loyalty) and ultimately improves business results (revenues & profitability).
Student Learning Impact: A number of these concepts are being included in Ko and Kerns' classes and discussions are taking place about adding an elective course around these issues.