The outstanding achievements of researchers at the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) were recognised in its annual awards on 24 November. Six awards were presented for work that contributes to new knowledge and societal impact in international business and management through dissertations and articles across a range of subject areas. New knowledge that was recognised in the ERIM Awards focused on neural representations of consumer experience; social identity and information exchange; collaboration across boundaries; disaster relief logistics; and bringing the principles of open science forward to younger generations. ERIM is the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE).

The awards ceremony was hosted by Prof. Pursey Heugens, Scientific Director of ERIM and also Dean of Research for RSM, and Jessica Dekkers, Acting Executive Director of ERIM. This was the 20th annual ERIM Awards for fellows, members, doctoral candidates, alumni and other members of the research community.

Brain responses during consumer experiences

A dissertation that investigated how consumers’ minds work by measuring their brain responses using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) won the ERIM Dissertation Award. Decoding the consumer’s brain: Neural representations of consumer experience was written by Dr Hang-Yee Chan who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Pennsylvania. His three studies show how analysis of brain responses uncovers nonverbal and ephemeral experiences of consumers. Chan’s dissertation, while mindful of the technical and ethical challenges, aims to lay the groundwork for the expansion of consumer neuroscience from resolving how consumers use their minds to focusing on what consumers have in mind. His promotors were Prof. Ale Smidts and Dr Maarten Boksem.

The jury said Dr Chan’s winning dissertation combines real novelty and interdisciplinary advances, a rare feat, they said. Chan brings presents insights from brain imaging in a way that is valuable to people working with neuroimaging and has already appeared twice in the journal NeuroImaging. It also has relevance for the study of marketing and business and has appeared the Journal of Marketing Research. “Chan’s insights have the potential to change both academic thinking and the world of practice,” said the jury, who agreed unanimously.

A novel concept for management theory

The 2021 Top Article Award was presented to Dr Julija Mell, Assistant Professor in the department of Organisation and Personnel Management at RSM for an article that the jury said ‘stands out because it makes a strong contribution to management theory by introducing a novel concept and theorizing on its consequences for several important organizational phenomena’. Dr Mell’s article Identity asymmetries: An experimental investigation of social identity and information exchange in multiteam systems was written with co-authors, Leslie Ann DeChurch (Northwestern University), Roger Th. A. J. Leenders (Jheronimus Academy of Data Science and Tilburg University), and Noshir Contractor (McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management), and was published in the Academy of Management Journal.

The jury chose Dr Mell’s article for its practical relevance and contribution to management theory. “It utilizes an impressive methodology by testing its predictions and assumptions in three state-of-the-art studies; a lab experiment with a complex and creative design, a scenario experiment, and a simulation. This article¸ despite having been published only recently, has already been cited in several leading management journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, ASQ, and the Academy of Management Annals, signalling its potential to have a strong and lasting impact on the field. And it has been mentioned as an exemplary AMJ publication in a recent editorial on publishing in the Academy of Management journals.”

Two outstanding young researchers

There were two winners for the 2021 ERIM Award for Outstanding Performance by a Young Researcher for ERIM members or ERIM associate members who received their PhD less than five years ago.. The awards went to Dr Harwin de Vries and Dr Julija Mell – her second ERIM Award in 2021.

Improving disaster relief logistics

Dr Harwin de Vries’ research focuses on health and humanitarian logistics, with a focus on disaster relief logistics and how key decisions in health and humanitarian supply chains affect patients and how they could be improved – the jury was impressed by his outstanding research performance and praised the relevance and societal impact of his work. Dr De Vries received his PhD from Erasmus School of Economics and is now Assistant Professor at the department of Technology and Operations Management at RSM.

The jury said: “Through collaboration with more than twenty humanitarian and health organizations he studies how key decisions in health and humanitarian supply chains affect patients and how they could be improved. He particularly explores the potential role of data and prescriptive analytics and new operating models.” Dr De Vries has won several prizes for research, including the 2015 INFORMS Healthcare Best Student Paper Award, and has published outstanding academic papers in scientific journals such as Production and Operations Management, Omega, and European Journal of Operational Research. He also serves as academic focal point at the Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation. Before joining RSM, he worked at INSEAD as postdoctoral researcher and manager of the INSEAD Humanitarian Research Group.

Collaboration across boundaries

Dr Julija Mell’s second ERIM Award this year was for her outstanding performance in researching collaboration across boundaries, for example, bridging cognitive boundaries within diverse teams, bridging geographical and cultural boundaries within globally dispersed teams, and bridging structural boundaries within complex social systems and networks. Her work has been published in leading academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

The two winners were chosen by jury members Prof. Gerrit van Bruggen, Prof. Rommert Dekker, and Prof. Wolf Wagner

Propagating research into society

Propagating the results of academic research into society through its collaboration with companies and government bodies has enabled the RSM-based specialist centre The Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) to fulfil its purpose of envisioning a more sustainable and inclusive world in which business, civil society, and government each play an important role to create collaborative and inclusive solutions for complex societal issues. The PrC won the ERIM Societal Impact Award 2021, which was presented to Prof. Rob van Tulder Professor of International Business-Society Management at RSM, and Managing Director Marieke de Wal MA,  as representatives of the PrC. an international research and knowledge centre for public-private collaboration for sustainable and inclusive development.

The jury said: “The PrC connects scientifically sound research with practitioner experience from cross-sector partnerships to aid sustainable and inclusive development. The structure of the PrC lends itself well to propagating the results of academic research into society through its collaboration mechanisms with companies and government bodies. Providing such a structure enables an efficient way of turning scientific research into practical applications, thereby increasing the societal impact.”

Commitment to open science

Dr Aurélie Lemmens, Associate Professor in the department of Marketing Management at RSM was presented with the ERIM Open Science Award 2021 for her commitment to promoting open science among her peers and younger generations. The award recognises and honours her demonstrable commitment to the principles and practices of open science.

The jury said: “It’s clear Open Science is here to stay. This year’s winner of the ERIM Open Science Award demonstrates that it is possible to embrace the principles of openness and transparency in fields of research where such conversations are not mainstream. The winner has embraced open and responsible research practices in a field where it is anything but evident to do so. Through the use of synthetic data, she has demonstrated that researchers working with private partners (who may be reluctant to share their data) can nevertheless facilitate reproducibility without violating anonymity or non-disclosure agreements.

She has also gone above and beyond what is customary or expected in her field by creating R and Python packages that allow the algorithms she has developed to be easily inspected, disseminated, and applied in both academic and private settings, opening up opportunities for valuable public-private and public-public collaborations.

The jury also noted Dr Aurélie Lemmens’ commitment to bringing the open science principles forward to younger generations by having her PhD students share their work through the Open Science Framework and GitHub, and by highlighting the value of data and code sharing in the courses she teaches at RSM. “She is an inspiration to her peers as well as young scholars in the field of business analytics, management, and marketing, not only at Erasmus University Rotterdam but internationally.”

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

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