Professor is a Pioneer in Behavioral Operations Management

Dr. Elena Katok

Dr. Elena Katok

A researcher gives you $10 and tells you to split the money with someone else. If the other person rejects your offer, each of you gets nothing.

How much would you keep for yourself and how much would you give the other person?

That’s the type of question Dr. Elena Katok might ask as part of her experiments at the Center and Laboratory for Behavioral Operations and Economics in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Katok, Ashbel Smith Professor of Operations Management, is a pioneer in an emerging field called behavioral operations management, which studies how human behavior factors into managerial decisions.

The professor helped establish the Behavioral Operations Management section of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) and helps organize its Behavioral Research in Operations Management conference, which had its 8th annual conference last week in Ann Arbor, Mich. In 2000, Katok was part of a team that won the Franz Edelman Award presented by INFORMS in 2000.

“My interest in behavioral operations management evolved from my interest in experimental economics,” Katok said.

Dr. Elena Katok

TITLE: Ashbel Smith Professor; co-director, The Center and Laboratory for Behavioral Operations and Economics

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Behavioral operations management, production and inventory management

PREVIOUSLY: Calvin E. and Pamela T. Zimmerman Endowed Fellow and Professor of Supply Chain Management, Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University

Experimental economics is the use of experiments to understand how and why markets function, while behavioral operations management focuses on the behavior itself. Katok is co-director of the center with her husband, Dr. Gary Bolton, the O.P. Jindal Chair and a professor of managerial economics. The couple, who collaborate on research and have co-authored dozens of journal articles, joined the Jindal school faculty last year.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal school and Caruth Chair of Management, said he is proud to have Katok on the faculty.

“Dr. Katok is a leader in the field of behavioral operations management,” Pirkul said. “Our students, faculty and the entire community will benefit greatly from her vast research and expertise in this growing area.”

Katok said she is proud of co-organizing the first Behavioral Research in Operations Management conference in 2006. The conference is now held annually, which she said is a testament to the growth of behavioral operations management.

Her research expertise also includes market design and strategic procurement. Her research has been published in top business and economics journals. She is a senior editor and the incoming department editor for behavioral operations for Production and Operations Management. The National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense are among the organizations that have supported her research.

She earned her bachelors degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance and economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She then earned her MBA from Pennsylvania State University, where she also earned her PhD in management science.

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