Engineer-turned-business scholar Brian Connelly wins Auburn’s highest award for research

Write-up system

Although operating at two Fortune 500 providers, Brian Connelly assisted structure the electronics deployed in airport radar techniques and issue-of-sale satellite networks that are normally applied to facilitate fuel buys at the pump.

Currently, the Harbert College or university of Business enterprise professor and David and Terri Luck Eminent Scholar in management has very little to do with technological innovation.

“I simply cannot even figure out how to share my speak to info on my cellular phone, which can be embarrassing when I am chatting it up with younger business people,” joked Connelly, who has been on the acquiring conclusion of several an eye roll when he delivers the human being his small business card.

What brought on Connelly’s Highway to Damascus instant?

By his have account, he was developing a satellite process in the 1990s and had to get acceptance on the value from his boss. Being aware of the enterprise was about to bid on a further, significantly bigger job, Connelly’s manager advised inflating the rate of the program so competitors would imagine charges in the area had been significant.

“We bid ridiculously higher, and then arrived back and won the large venture correct afterward by beating our competitiveness on price tag,” he stated. “That instant was when I understood: approach trumps technological innovation.”

Quickly soon after, he went back again to faculty and acquired a Learn of Business enterprise Administration and doctorate in management, paving the way for a move from the earth of innovative technological design and style to the entire world of corporate technique.

Recently, Connelly gained the 2022 Auburn College Resourceful Analysis and Scholarship Award, the campus’ maximum exploration honor for faculty. His award is in the fantastic arts, liberal arts, architecture and design and style, company, social and human sciences category.

By learning corporate actions and misbehavior, his do the job has shed gentle on well timed gatherings, this sort of as environmental protection, economical misconduct and buyer damage. His research conclusions have assisted condition public plan, performed a purpose in setting up laws and rules and offered new theories about ethical selection-creating.

Connelly has elevated the popularity of Auburn and the Harbert College over the a long time. His scholarly publications have been cited extra than 10,000 situations, and he has given a lot more than 135 invited talks at workshops, conferences and prestigious establishments around the environment. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Administration, which is among the most elite tutorial organization faculty journals. His operate is frequently referenced in media outlets these types of as The Wall Road Journal, The New York Times and United states of america Nowadays.

“The Imaginative Exploration and Scholarship Award is a effectively-deserved recognition of Brian’s revolutionary exploration and potential to obtain options that can positively affect equally the academy and the corporate earth,” reported Joe Hanna, Regions Bank professor and Harbert interim dean. “All of us in the Harbert School of Business are very very pleased of Brian’s accomplishments and happy to phone him our colleague.”

Timely, impactful exploration

In a lately revealed analyze, Connelly and colleagues Miles Zachary of Auburn, G. Tyge Payne of LSU and Lori Tribble of Clemson College examined what they call “organizational virtue rhetoric,” that means language and narratives the place corporations espouse, and promise adherence to, ethical expectations of conduct. The authors located that supervisors ought to be very careful when espousing how virtuous their organization is, in particular if their language is extra symbolic than substantive.

“The difficulty with using virtue rhetoric is that you need to have to walk your communicate,” said Connelly, who is the David and Terri Luck Eminent Scholar and professor in the Office of Administration and Entrepreneurship. “If the firm messes up and engages in undesirable habits, we located that investor response to the misconduct will be four instances as adverse for organizations that talked a big recreation with their virtue rhetoric.

“In other text, top rated professionals need to know that, if they use advantage rhetoric, they basically raise the bar for acceptable company actions.”

In another modern paper, Connelly and colleagues examined how corporate boards of administrators pick out new CEOs in the wake of organizational misconduct. Jointly with Wei Shi of the University of Miami, Jack Walker of Auburn and Matt Hersel of Clemson, the authors created a theory about why, adhering to corporate misbehavior, a board of directors could possibly change its CEO with a person who holds a diploma from a religiously affiliated college.

“We examined irrespective of whether CEOs with degrees from religiously affiliated institutions are in fact a lot less likely than other CEOs to engage in misconduct,” Connelly noticed. “Sure ample, we identified they are. So, it’s a distinction result. If a organization is working with company misbehavior, this method of changing your CEO with a person who examined at a religiously affiliated school could reward them.”

Connelly’s investigation is observing countrywide acclaim. For instance, two of his papers—published in 2006 and 2016—earned Paper of the Year awards from the Journal of Administration. In brief, not only is Connelly publishing in the ideal journals, he is publishing the best do the job in the very best journals.

On the lookout ahead, Connelly observed that his ongoing analysis method explores funds industry and community coverage developments, subject areas that are of importance on Capitol Hill right now. For illustration, he is between the first in the management discipline to look at the moral implications of short marketing.

Precisely, he is investigating how CEOs respond when their providers are attacked by limited sellers, this kind of as the remarkably community assaults on Tesla and Herbalife. He is also at the forefront of administration investigate on meme investing as he examines organizational responses to herd conduct in funds markets, this kind of as what transpired recently with GameStop and AMC shares.

A humble scholar

“I’m grateful for the aid I have loved from my spouse and family members, who have been affected individual with the several hours and strength that I dedicate to my operate,” mentioned Connelly, who came to Auburn in 2008 just after earning his doctorate in management from Texas A&M College. “I wager my father-in-regulation, Franz Geyling, who passed away a handful of several years back, would be specifically happy of this accomplishment. He was a role design for how I tactic my do the job.”

Connelly  is also a distinguished educator, acquiring won one particular of the campus’ highest instructing honors—the 2014 Auburn Alumni Undergraduate Training Excellence award—as very well as a number of Harbert College or university and Division of Administration educating awards.

He is the 2nd Harbert college member to win the Imaginative Investigation and Scholarship Award. In 2018, Harbert Eminent Scholar Dave Ketchen, a professor of administration and entrepreneurship, obtained the award.

“Dave very carefully and patiently mentored me considering the fact that the working day I arrived on the Plains,” Connelly acknowledged, “and I uncovered very immediately that if I just adopted his assistance, I would be effective.”

Ketchen is ranked 23rd in the country in’s listing of the major organization college professors.

“I’m also grateful for David and Terri Luck, who endowed the Eminent Scholar chair that I now maintain,” Connelly extra. “None of this would have been achievable without having their generous reward that has enabled my exploration endeavors.”

Maria Flores

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