Research & Impact

Research & Impact

In the Willamette MBA program, faculty and students engage in academic research and projects that impact real organizations and have consequences in the real world.  Browse the topics below to learn more about current projects and faculty members who have been quoted in the popular press.

Research Projects

Fred Thompson

3.4 in a Million – Applying Lessons From Greatness

The Six Sigma program saved Motorola over $16 Billion in the 1980s. General Electric reported savings of $12 Billion over the first five years of its implementation. Today, organizations of all sizes and industries seek practitioners who can help them attain the lauded performance of a mere 3.4 defects per 1,000,000 opportunities.

At Willamette, the system of quality management methods is taught by Henry Bi, Associate Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems.

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Fred Thompson

Salem Revolution: How One Organization Plans to Modernize Oregon’s Government

No one disputes that our government needs to evolve. That’s where the consensus stops.

The newly formed, non-partisan Institute for Modern Government (IMG) seeks to change that. By drawing on academic and professional resources, the IMG studies and supports public organizations facing today’s operational and management policy issues.

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Mariann Bradshaw

Market Research For The Real World

Contributing professor Marianne Bradshaw unifies experiential learning with community service.

“It’s not enough to know how to conduct strong market research; you have to understand why you’re doing it. What are the objectives of the research? How will the research impact decisions? What data will help guide that action?”

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Gary Knight

Drop By Drop - Studying The Next Wave Of Globalization

As global management evolves, Dr. Gary Knight examines the emerging majority.

Having authored six books and 40 refereed articles in academic journals, it will come as no surprise to learn that Dr. Gary Knight, Professor of Global Management and Helen Simpson Jackson Chair in International Management, was ranked in the six leading international business journals as one of the top 15 most prolific scholars in the United States, and one of the top 30 worldwide.

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Faculty News

Educating angels: How a local university is building the next generation of entrepreneurs
Portland Business Journal (2014: Aug 20)

"While the latest funding round for PayRange included a number of big names, one of the lesser known investors may be the most interesting.

Included in the round was the Willamette University Angel Investment Fund, a fact that was pointed out to me by fund advisor Rob Wiltbank, who himself is a noted angel investor and researcher.

What makes this angel investment fund stand out is its members. It consists of 14 second-year MBA students in the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. The fund has been around for six years and has a portfolio of 20 companies."

The Great Lakes: Home to 'South Bay Bessie' and some of the most active angel investors in the country (2014: Aug 7)

Robert Wiltbank, a contributing associate professor at Willamette University, who worked on the report, says it's too soon too tell if the spike in Great Lakes deals is a one-time phenomenon or the beginning of a trend. But he does say some angels in the region did some "really solid, co-invested deals" with early-stage venture capitalists this time around, in both the medical devices and the technology industries.

The role of higher education as K-12 underperforms
Oregon Business (2014: May 30)

"...since 1970 the performance of our public education system has steadily deteriorated. By 2009, 26% of the nation’s high school seniors performed at or above “proficient” on the US Department of Education’s 12th-grade mathematics assessment. That same year, 38% of the nation’s high school seniors performed at or above “proficient” in reading. In 2011, 24% of high school seniors were deemed at or above “proficient” in writing. Nonetheless, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of all high school graduates enroll in undergraduate programs."

Ringold shares passion for education
Oregon Business  (2014: Mar 4)

I am an educator because I am committed to informed political, policy, production, and consumption decision-making. I graduated from a public high school and earned my B.A., M.B.A., and Ph.D. at public universities.  For those opportunities, I am grateful. I have taught in a major public research institution, a public city university serving primarily first generation college students and two private universities.

Letter to the Editor: Value of AACSB International Accreditation
Oregon Business (2014: Mar 1)

Like our peer AACSB accredited institutions, Willamette University MBA graduates earn more than a diploma. We form lifelong relationships with our graduates and support them in their pursuit of meaningful careers. It is important that readers understand all of the important attributes associated with an MBA and other graduate programs.  AACSB accreditation is certainly one of those attributes.

City Club of Portland research says 'Frankentax' on property needs to be overhauled
The Oregonian (2013: Nov 7)

"But Steve Maser, professor emeritus of public policy and management at Willamette University and the lead writer of the report, said the state’s odd system is putting downward pressure on local governments that could choke funding for basic services in the future.

'Political decisions are often driven by crisis,' Maser said. 'It’s not there yet. But you can anticipate that it’s going to get there and then action would have to be taken.'"

"New tech incubator set for launch in Portland"
Portland Business Journal (2013: Oct 30)

"Founder Institute, which first launched in 2009, has graduated more than 1,000 companies in 60 cities across the world. It matches mentors with idea-stage companies and allows participants to keep their day jobs during the program. According to founder and CEO Adeo Ressi, nearly 50 percent of Founder Institute graduates have gone on to land angel investment to continue building their companies.

Portland's chapter of Founder Institute will be co-directed by Willamette University's Wade Brooks and Andrew Beldin of Revenue Capital Management."

 "A quiet trip to the ozone hole"
The New York Times (2013: Oct 21)

Edward J. Warnock, an aerospace engineer and contributing professor at Willamette's Atkinson Graduate School of Management, is the chief executive of the Perlan Project. The nonprofit organization is building a glider, Perlan II, to study the stratosphere at close range.

 Robert Wiltbank honored with 2013 Hans Severiens Award
Angel Capital Association (2013: Apr 19)

"Dr. Wiltbank is associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University in Salem, OR, and an active angel investor.

'Rob Wiltbank’s contribution is unique in the world of angel investing,' said Marianne Hudson, ACA executive director. 'He is an angel investor, founder of funds, professor and mentor to future entrepreneurs, and he has researched and written two of the most comprehensive and widely consulted reports on investments by angels in groups.'"

 Oregon's gender pay gap slightly smaller than national average
Statesman Journal (2013: Apr 11)

"Ashley Nixon, a professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Willamette University, said there’s no question the wage gap does exist — instead, it’s a question of what causes it.

'Do we attribute it to discrimination against women or are there other factors to consider?' she said. 'When we do analysis, we find women make 80 percent of what men do, and there are some well-known differences that account for some of this disparity.'"