Gerry Tellis (along with Debbie MacInnis, Seshadri Tirunillai and Yanwei Zhang) just had a manuscript on digital content sharing accepted by the Journal of Marketing. Title and abstract are below.

Congratulations, Gerry!

Drivers of Virality (Sharing) of Online Digital Content?
The Critical Role of Information, Emotion, and Brand Prominence


The authors test five theoretically-derived hypotheses about what drives sharing of video ads across social media. Two independent field studies test these hypotheses using 11 measures of emotion and over 60 ad characteristics. The results are consistent with theory and robust across studies. Information-focused content has a significantly negative effect on sharing, except in risky contexts. Positive emotions of amusement, excitement, inspiration, and warmth, positively affect sharing. Various drama elements such as surprise, plot, and characters, including babies, animals, and celebrities arouse emotions. Prominent (early versus late, long vs short duration, persistent versus pulsing) placement of brand names hurts sharing. Emotional ads are shared more on general platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter) than on LinkedIn; the reverse holds for informational ads. Sharing is also greatest when ad length is moderate (1.2 to 1.7 minutes). Contrary to these findings, ads use information more than emotions, celebrities more than babies or animals, prominent brand placement, little surprise, and very short or very long ads. A third study shows that the identified drivers predict sharing fairly well in an entirely independent sample.

Keywords: Virality, shares, social media, ad content, ad cues, emotion, information, brand prominence, video ads, YouTube. (03-11-19)

Vice Dean's Announcement: Leigh Tost promoted to Associate Professor of Management and Organization

Dear Colleagues:

I am delighted to announce that the President has approved the promotion of Leigh Tost to Associate Professor of Management and Organization, with tenure, effective immediately.

Professor Tost joined the Marshall School of Business in the fall of 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Management and Organization. She graduated in 2010 with a Ph.D. in Management from Duke University, and before joining USC spent two years as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and four years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Her insightful research questions and skillful theoretical and empirical execution have earned her an international reputation as an expert on the role of hierarchy and legitimacy in organizations. In particular, she has become known for studying organizational processes from multiple levels of analysis – individual, group, and organization. Her work is unusually interdisciplinary and integrative, drawing from scholarship in the fields of psychology, sociology, organizational studies, and strategy. Her research program addresses three main themes: (1) the distinction between psychological and structural power, (2) the effects of power on selfish versus socially responsible behavior, and (3) judgments about the legitimacy of social hierarchies and social positions. Her work has been published in a broad variety of top-tier journals in management and psychology, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Personality and Social Psychology Review, Psychological Science, and Research in Organizational Behavior.

Professor Tost has demonstrated excellence in teaching, teaching in Marshall’s undergraduate core program with instructor ratings that exceed the corresponding instructor averages for Marshall School courses. At Michigan, she taught in the undergrad, MBA Core, and MBA Elective programs. Professor Tost has additionally made strong contributions through her service to the department and the profession, as evidenced by her role on departmental and doctoral student committees, Academy of Management service roles, as well as her role as editorial board member on three of the top management journals in the field: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. She received the NBD Bancorp Chaired Assistant Professorship Research Award at the Ross School of Business in 2015, acknowledging her as one of the two most research-productive junior faculty members school-wide and has received three “Best Reviewer” awards from the field’s top management journals. She is an active contributor to doctoral education and is praised by doctoral students and her colleagues alike for her theoretical insights, methodological expertise, and her generous and positive nature.

Professor Tost’s promotion is a well-deserved recognition of her outstanding contributions in research, teaching, and service over the years. Please join me in congratulating her and welcoming her to the ranks of tenured associate professors.


Nandini Rajagopalan
Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Joseph A. DeBell Chair in Business Administration
Professor of Management & Organization
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California

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As part of the Emerald Literati Awards for Excellence, John Boudreau and Wayne Cascio just received the distinction ‘highly commended’ from the Journal of Organizational Effectiveness for their article “Human capital analytics: Why are we not there?” A link to their paper is below.

Congratulations, John! (02-26-19)

Tom Cummings (with Herman Aguinis, Chailin Cummings [former MOR doctoral student], and Ravi Ramani) just got a paper accepted for publication in Academy of Management Perspectives: “An A is an A:” The New Bottom Line for Valuing Academic Research. The publication will include commentaries from the AMP reviewers and author responses, which should provoke some attention and debate in the Academy. 

Congratulations, Tom!


In sports, the phrase “a win is a win” refers to the bottom line in those competitions: Winning a game. How the game was won is not as important as the fact that it was won. In many ways, we have reached a similar point in the management field. The increased pressure to publish in “A” journals means the new bottom line for valuing academic research is “an A is an A.” Faculty recruiting committees and promotion and tenure panels readily discuss “how many A’s” a candidate has published and “how many A’s” are needed for a favorable decision, while conversations about the distinctive intellectual value of a publication are often secondary to its categorical membership in journals. We describe reasons why this new bottom line has taken hold and delineate its positive and negative consequences. Also, we offer insights for a variety of stakeholders including (a) non-specialist academics in all management domains including scholars from universities worldwide because the new bottom line for valuing academic research is a global phenomenon, (b) university administrators and funding agencies interested in evaluating research quality and impact, and (c) individuals interested in responsible scholarship and in addressing the current credibility crisis in management. Finally, we offer a forward-looking analysis of how to address challenges associated with the new bottom line for valuing academic research. (02-20-2019)

Excellent news: Florenta Teodoridis and Joe Raffiee both were just invited to the Strategic Management Journal editorial board. Our sincere congratulations to both of them. (02-19-2019)