The MIT Center for Digital Business A Partnership in Research



Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson explores how advances in information technology contribute to organizational change, intangible assets, and business performance. He directs the Center for Digital Business at MIT, a research initiative that analyzes the business uses of the Internet and related technologies. His projects include a study of how the Internet affects product and service competition and an analysis of optimal pricing strategies for digital information. In a related project, Brynjolfsson is assessing how investments in computers and networks alter productivity, organizational structure, and labor demand

Prof. Michael A. Cusumano specializes in strategy, product development, and entrepreneurship in the computer software industry, as well as automobiles and consumer electronics. His most recent work is a cross industry, strategic analysis of optimizing the mix of products and services in the firm.

Prof. John Hauser examines the design and marketing of new products, voice-of-the-customer methods, customer satisfaction incentives, market research methods, new product forecasting models, competitive marketing strategy, and metrics to manage product development. His latest research focuses on virtual customer methods, automated marketing, and product development metrics.

Andrew McAfee studies the ways that information technology (IT) affects businesses and business as a whole. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition itself – the struggle among rivals for dominance and survival within an industry. He coined the phrase "Enterprise 2.0" in a spring 2006 Sloan Management Review article to describe the use of Web 2.0 tools and approaches by businesses.

Prof. Drazen Prelec interjects psychological reasoning into the study of economic and consumer behavior. In one line of inquiry, he suggests that the traditional economic notion that people make choices by balancing the costs and benefits of alternative options overlooks the influence of personal decision-making rules. In another, he questions the economic assumption that people are invariably impatient, and prefer to have good things sooner rather than later. In other intriguing studies, he probes which items people prefer to save for and which ones they buy on credit, as well as whether people with credit cards spend more than they should.

Dr. Michael D. Siegel looks at the integration of heterogeneous information systems, information technology, and financial services with a particular interest in research on strategy, application, and implementation for financial services, electronic commerce and security.

Prof. Glen Urban concentrates on the fascinating area of trust-based marketing on the Internet. How trust is built on a web site, how site design can maximize sales and trust, and how a trust-based marketing system could provide an alternative to the "push" type of marketing commonly observed, are just a few of the facets that Urban explores. His current research focuses on customer advocacy. His new Theory A aligns the firm as a representative of the customers needs and leads to transparency, unbiased advice, trusted advisors, and best products.

Professor Marshall Van Alstyne Professor Van Alstyne received a BA from Yale, and MS & PhD degrees from MIT. He is an Associate Professor at Boston University and a Visiting Professor at MIT. His work concerns information economics. In designing information goods, this research concerns competitive strategy and network effects. In control over information, it concerns who has access to what information, when, and at what price. Work also balances open source principles against those that generate profits and stimulate innovation. Professor Van Alstyne was among the first to document productivity effects of IT and communications at the individual desktop level. His work has received an NSF Career Award, two best paper awards, and has appeared in Science, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, and the popular press.

George Westerman is a Research Scientist in MIT Sloan and faculty chair for the course "IT for the Non-IT Executive." His research and teaching examine executive-level management challenges at the interface between information technologhy and business units, such as risk management, innovation, and communicating the value of IT.

JuanJuan Zhang studies peer influence on consumer choices and its implication for marketers. She investigates how imitation among consumers shapes the dynamics of a variety of markets, including micro-finance, real estate, and even organ transplant adoption. Through these studies, Zhang aims to uncover optimal marketing strategies that harness the power of popularity, fads, and trends. Zhang is also interested in how market information interacts with firms’ product strategies. Her research explores why firms would continue bad products in spite of negative market feedback, why product personalization may damage firm profits, and how companies should manage consumer co-creation of their products.


Prof. Dan Ariely is a "behavioral economist", examining how people make real decisions and how such decisions deviate from rationality assumed by the standard economic model. The central topics in Professor Ariely's work are: 1) behavior in electronic markets 2) the effects of various payment mechanisms 3) the formation of willingness to pay for products and services 4) the effects of decision contexts on choice and 5) changes in preferences over time. Professor Ariely has a joint appointment in the Media Laboratory at MIT, where he is heading the eRationality research group.

Prof. Cynthia Barnhart specializes in developing models, optimization methods and decision support systems for large-scale transportation problems. She is currently co-director of the Operations Research Center.

Prof. Dimitris Bertsimas studies the theory and practice of optimization, stochastic modeling and control, and data mining. His current research includes robust optimization, data mining in health care, revenue management, and finance. He is currently co-director of the Operations Research Center.

Prof. Gabriel Bitran addresses topics that include matching the supply and demand in service systems, capacity planning, technology selection, pricing of perishable and seasonal products, and understanding consumer behavior in highly interactive services like the Internet.

Prof. Diane Burton employment relations in entrepreneurial companies and human resource management practices. Currently, she is conducting a study of Silicon Valley start-ups, with an emphasis on sources and consequences of different organizational systems, structures, and practices. In ongoing research, she is studying entrepreneurial teams and executive careers.

Prof. John Carroll focuses on industries that manage significant hazards, such as nuclear power, petrochemicals, and health care. Carroll has examined the relationships between leadership, management philosophies, teamwork, mental models, safety culture, and human performance improvement.

Prof. Nazli Choucri works in international relations and international political economy with a special focus on conflict, connectivity, and the global environment. Her current research is on the power of knowledge in the global economy, and the political and strategic implications of e-development, e-business, and e-learning.

David Clark is one of the true founders of the architecture of the Internet. Recent activities include extensions to the Internet to support real-time traffic, explicit allocation of service, pricing and related economic issues, and policy issues surrounding local loop employment. New activities focus on the architecture of the Internet in the post-PC era.

Prof. Roberto Fernandez studies economic sociology, organizational behavior, social stratification, race, and ethnic relations. Among his current projects are networks and hiring and Internet-based recruitment.

Prof. Charles Fine focuses on technology supply chains. He examines how to assess the present and especially the future-profitability and strategic leverage among the various sectors in the supply chain; how to design the supply chain (i.e., determine the boundaries and identity of the organization) based on strategic and logistical assessments; and how to assemble the capability to realize the chosen organizational boundaries and manage within and across those boundaries.

Prof. Shane Frederick studies judgment and decision making, with a focus on intertemporal choice, the heuristics used to simplify decisions, and consumer regret. He is currently studying how to manipulate impatience levels for delayed goods and how surface features of information displays affect tradeoff rates between product attributes.

Prof. Jérémie Gallien focuses on mathematical models for the control of physical flows and economic interfaces in supply-chains. He has worked in particular on outbound optimization for online retailers, dynamic assortment and inventory management for fast-fashion retail store networks, revenue management for make-to-order manufacturers, and online auctions.

Steve Graves develops and applies operations research models and methods to solve problems in manufacturing and distribution systems and in service operations. Currently, he is focusing on supply chain optimization, strategic inventory positioning in a supply chain, and production and capacity planning for various contexts.

Prof. Benjamin Grosof studies information technologies for e-commerce applications and the new generation web. He researches knowledge-based IT for e-commerce applications; technologies, business applications, and strategies for Semantic Web Services (SWS); and the convergence of Web Services and Semantic Web.

Prof. Rebecca Henderson focuses on problems of strategy formulation, competition, research management, and product development in high-technology industries.

Prof. Dirk Jenter is especially interested in the interaction between managers and (possibly inefficient) capital markets. Recent research projects have been concerned with managerial insider trading and corporate capital structure decisions, employee stock option compensation, and CEO turnover.

Dr. Mark Klein focuses his research on coordination science, with the goal of developing methods and tools that support more effective coordination in groups with humans and/or computer-based agents.

Prof. Eric Klopfer focuses on science education, teacher training, and educational technology. He helps teachers build and use computer simulations for science education, and uses handheld and wearable computers to engage learners in simulations. His efforts in virtual reality as an efficient and effective training tool are being implemented at several corporations.

Prof. Thomas Kochan focuses on the need to update America's work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the challenges facing working families in meeting their responsibilities at work and at home and in their communities. Through empirical research, he demonstrates that fundamental changes in the quality of employee and labor-management relations are needed to address America's critical problems in industries ranging from health care, airlines, and manufacturing.

Prof. SP Kothari focuses on financial reporting and capital markets, explaining the diversity in international accounting practices, use of employee stock options for compensating executives and accounting for stock options, evaluating investment performance, and corporate uses of derivatives for hedging and speculation. In addition, Kothari is an expert on economic policy issues in India.

Dr. Robert Laubacher looks at how information technology is transforming business organizations and how those changes reshape employment contracts. Recent projects examine the workings of temporary project teams inside large organizations. These studies focus on how information technology can reinforce and augment existing social networks, both inside and across firms.

Dr. William Lehr is an Internet infrastructure industry economist and consultant. His fields of specialization and research include industrial organization, political economy, and regulatory economics as applied to the information technology industries. His research with the Communications Futures Program focuses on emerging broadband and wireless technologies, and their implications for industry structure, business and public policy.

Fred Leonberger is a Senior Advisor at the MIT Center for Integrated Photonic Systems, and works with a number of technology companies and venture firms in the fiber optics and photonics industry. He is currently working on a research project which is an OpEx model for fiber to the home.

Prof. Don Lessard studies international corporate strategy and finance with a special emphasis on risk and knowledge management. His current research focuses on globalization strategies in network industries and the linkage of strategy on risk management in major projects.

Prof. John D.C. Little is a pioneer in marketing science, Little has done research on a broad set of modeling and decision support issues, including models of individual choice behavior, adaptive control of promotional spending, and marketing mix models for consumer packaged goods.

Prof. Andrew Lo is a widely recognized expert in financial engineering and computational finance. He is the director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering. His research interests include the empirical validation and implementation of financial asset pricing models; the pricing of options and other derivative securities; financial engineering and risk management; trading technology and market microstructure; statistics, econometrics, and stochastic processes; computer algorithms and numerical methods; financial visualization; nonlinear models of stock and bond returns; hedge-fund risk and return dynamics and risk transparency; and, most recently, evolutionary and neurobiological models of individual risk preferences and financial markets.

Prof. Stuart Madnick is focused in two areas - integrating information systems to provide organizations with a more global view of their operations, and Interdependence of Security and the Extended Enterprise (I-SEE SIG).

Prof. Thomas W. Malone teaches classes on leadership and information technology, and his research focuses on how new organizations can be designed to take advantage of the possibilities provided by information technology. He is director of the new Center for Collective Intelligence.

Prof. David McAdams explores how buyers and sellers interact strategically in a variety of settings including markets, auctions, and bargaining. Recent projects include extending classic oligopoly theory to settings in which firms compete in such dimensions as price, advertising, and research; the development of the theory of "multi-unit auctions" to shed light on Treasury bond auctions, IPOs, electricity procurement, and other applications; and showing how a seller no commitment power can still bargain successfully with several buyers.

Prof. Wanda Orlikowski investigates the ongoing relationship between information technologies and organizations with particular emphasis on structures, cultures, work practices, and change. She has examined the use of groupware technologies in organizations and the social and technological aspects of working virtually. She is currently leading a multi-year National Science Foundation project on the social and economic implications of using Internet technologies within firms.

Prof. James Orlin has developed improved solution methodologies for problems in airline scheduling, railroad scheduling, logistics, network design, telecommunications, inventory control, marketing, and computational biology. He is especially interested in developing techniques that obtain high-quality solutions in a short amount of computation time.

Prof. Nitin Patel brings significant insight to the practical applications of operations research and statistical analysis for small samples or rare events. Current areas of research include developing algorithms for data mining.

Prof. Georgia Perakis investigates the theory and practice of optimization and equilibrium problems. She is particularly interested in how optimization models can be applied to solve complex problems in transportation, pricing, and revenue management. She also studies the mathematical structure that lies behind optimization, as well as the equilibrium problems in static and dynamic environments.

Prof. Tomaso Poggio is a computational neuroscientist whose recent work focuses on the processes by which the brain learns to recognize and categorize visual objects.

John Quimby leads the software development of the Process Handbook. His recent work has been focused on attaching tools such as the Matrix of Change and Customer Experience Lifecycle Mapping to the PH.

Prof. Rajeev Ram focuses on physical optics and electronics, including the development of novel components and systems for communications and sensing, novel semiconductor lasers for advanced fiber optic communications, and studies of fundamental interactions between electronic materials and light.

James Rice conducts research in supply chain management, with particular focus on organizational aspects of how firms coordinate both internally within the organization, and externally with customers and suppliers.

Prof. Thomas Roemer studies product development with an emphasis on time to market, project coordination, and information sharing. He is currently conducting studies on the rate of new product introduction in high-tech industries, part commonality strategies, and cooperation patterns between OEMs and aftermarket suppliers in the global automotive industry.

Dr. Alexander Samarov studies trust and reliability in electronic commerce using statistics, statistical learning, and data mining techniques

Prof. Andreas Schulz focuses his research on understanding the theoretical limits of today's optimization methods in view of incomplete information, non-coordinated decision-making, or limited computational power. His industrial collaborations include projects in telecommunications network design, vehicle routing, and scheduling.

Prof. Yossi Sheffi is focused on applications of operations research and computer science to transportation and logistics and on logistics management and integrated supply chain processes.

Prof. Duncan Simester investigates retail pricing and how customers form inferences about competitive prices from common marketing cues such as sale signs, price endings, installment billing offers, and credit card logos. His current work explores the long-term costs of stockouts, the long-term impact of promotion decisions, dynamic catalog mailing decisions, and adaptive techniques for the optimal design of pricing and product decisions. Other work investigates the allocation of ownership in channel relationships, and the adaptive design of market research instruments.

Prof. David Simchi-Levi focuses on developing and implementing robust and efficient techniques for logistics and manufacturing systems. He has published widely in professional journals on both practical and theoretical aspects of logistics and supply chain management.

Prof. Catherine Tucker explores the micro-influences of technology adoption by firms. The aim of her research is to guide firms to the best marketing strategies to speed up adoption of their products. She is particularly interested in empirical studies of the adoption of interactive technologies, network effects, social networks, and word-of-mouth. Her research has focused primarily on the sectors of banking, electronic payments, and enterprise technology.

Prof. Eric Van den Steen uses game theoretic tools to study strategy and organization design. His work has focused on the role of managerial vision in firms, on mechanisms that make managers overoptimistic and overconfident, and on the sources and effects of organizational homogeneity.

Prof. Eric von Hippel discovers and explores patterns in the sources of innovation and develops new processes to improve the "fuzzy front end" of the innovation process-the end where ideas for breakthrough new products and services are developed.

Peter Weill centers on the role, value, and governance of IT in enterprises, including areas such as IT portfolios, IT infrastructure, IT risk management and IT architecture. He is director of MIT Sloan's Center for Information Systems Research (CISR).

Prof. Daniel Weitzner directs the Technology and Society Domain of the World Wide Web Consortium where he is responsible for development of technology standards that enable the web to address social, legal, and public policy concerns such as privacy, free speech, security, protection of minors, authentication, intellectual property and identification.

Prof. Roy Welsch is an expert in applied statistical methodology in manufacturing, ebusiness, and finance, Welsch develops statistical models relating process inputs to product outputs in semiconductor, film, and paper manufacturing. He also looks at hybrid process control, credit card scoring models, data mining for the analysis of massive data sets, robust methods and design, value-at-risk models, and optimization for financial time series.

Prof. JoAnne Yates examines communication and information as they shape and are shaped by technologies and policies over time. Her research encompasses both historical and contemporary organizations, with a focus on changing communication and information technologies and the related work practices. Her current historical work focuses on the life insurance industry's adoption and use of information technology in the twentieth century..

Prof. Ezra Zuckerman studies how social structures of various kinds emerge and influence behavior and key outcomes for individuals, teams, and organizations. His current research projects include a study of industry peer networks, exclusive groups of noncompeting peer firms from the same industry that gather on a regular basis to learn from one another's experiences and to motivate one another to achieve higher performance.

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