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UCLA Anderson Review: Mining ‘Deep Reserves of Research’


Posted October 20, 2017 by Lee Davidson - Editor, Digital Content - AACSB International

In September, the University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management launched a new online journal featuring research largely from its faculty. The journal, called the UCLA Anderson Review, is a new player on the field of “Reviews” (think Harvard Business Review, Chicago Booth Review) that aim to bring the latest faculty research to a broader audience with articles written by highly established journalists and writers. Many of the Anderson Review’s contributors have years of experience covering business and finance topics for mainstream publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Global Trade Magazine, to name a few. Through this publication, the journalistic voices will help bring attention to UCLA Anderson’s faculty research and hopefully make it more actionable in business and society.

Aiming Beyond the Walls of the Academy

Dean of the Anderson School, Judy Olian, who also served as AACSB International’s board chair in 2008, recently spoke with us on camera about her passion to make business school research more relevant to the marketplace and to society, so it’s not surprising to see her ambition manifest in the form of this journal. On the origins of the Anderson Review, editor-in-chief Jeff Bailey said that Olian wanted to “spread the word about the smart work faculty members engage in.” Spreading the word, however, has been a known challenge in business schools, where scholars seem to produce research largely for the consumption of other scholars, thus creating an echo chamber of knowledge that either never reaches the audiences on which it could have the most effect or reaches them at a pace that is unhelpful for instituting change.

Bailey, who along with some other staff writers of the Anderson Review, was a previous contributor to the Chicago Booth Review but says that the idea of starting a new faculty review with the opportunity to “mine UCLA Anderson’s deep reserves of research—ongoing and past—was very attractive.” The goal of the Anderson Review is not only to reach a broad audience beyond the academy but to benefit businesses with knowledge and application of new ideas, to influence UCLA’s students and alumni, and to help inform the research of faculty peers at schools around world. In essence, the goal is to “become a publication people look to for smart thinking about the issues in the economy and society,” in Bailey’s words.

A Collaborative Process

Deciding which research gets featured in a given issue lots of collaboration between Bailey and the faculty, Bailey and the staff of writers, and the writers and the faculty. As editor of the Anderson Review, Bailey does initial research to see what faculty members are working on (or sometimes faculty bring research to him that he may not know about), then meets with them individually and, through those meetings develops a sense of the stories that will go into an issue and who among the writing staff can provide the expert coverage. The writers, once they have their assignments, then work closely with the faculty: “It's a collaborative process to produce articles that accurately describe the research, that are compelling to readers and that present the research in the broader context of thinking on a topic,” says Bailey.

But collaborations between faculty and practitioners also are found in the Anderson Review, as in the piece “Examining the Difference Between Quality and Taste in Consumer Preferences,” which features research by assistant professor Stephen Spiller and Facebook product marketing manager Lena Belogolova. Further, the spotlight is not solely on Anderson faculty. In the feature “Save-Save-Save, But Then What?” Carla Fried highlights research by three UCLA faculty members but also points to the collaborative projects of those scholars with faculty from other schools. Perhaps in foresight of this year’s Nobel Prize winner in economics, Richard Thaler of Chicago Booth, the article discusses behavioral “nudges” that were the basis of research by Thaler and UCLA professor Shlomo Benartzi. Fried, who has worked on this topical area for over two decades, also draws on the research of other faculty partnerships between schools throughout her piece. Bailey notes that “Anderson faculty research is quite often done jointly with faculty from other universities around the world,” and they subsequently are able to guide the editorial staff to research outside of UCLA that enables fuller coverage on a topic.

Bailey acknowledges that it takes not only the right talent—of both faculty and writers—but also “enthusiasm and willingness” among the researchers to make a publication like this thrive. As he puts it, “[W]ithout the time and work they contribute in helping us choose and shape topics, understand often complex papers, and get the articles and graphics right, this couldn't be happening.”

Looking Ahead

In the coming months, readers can look forward to articles highlighting research on real estate, finance, health care, marketing, and business operations, to start. As Bailey notes, “UCLA Anderson faculty have diverse research interests and we plan to write about it all. … It's a huge faculty and we've only begun to scratch the surface.”

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