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Institute for Outlier Research in Business (iORB)

  • Institute for Outlier Research in Business (iORB)

    Institute for Outlier Research in Business (iORB)

    iORB is a new type of business research institute. Our plan is nothing less than to revolutionize research that is performed at Marshall and other business schools, with the goal of encouraging work that has the potential for a transformational impact on society. 

    The institute was in part formed based on a belief by many leading scholars that decades of status quo thinking has created a focus on incremental research, and that bold changes are needed to re-incentivize society’s best researchers to work on issues that more profoundly impact business and society at large. Specifically, iORB provides resources for researchers, managers and policy makers to encourage, fund, and reward outlier research through entrepreneurial programs and initiatives. 

    We are also working to recruit the most impactful academics, who have already demonstrated the ability to change the way business operates. Currently iORB has three main programs: Outlier Research Funding, a Distinguished Visiting Fellows Program, and Conference Funding.


  • Distinguished Visiting Fellows Program

    Distinguished Visiting Fellows Program

    The primary goal of the program is to bring scholars to USC Marshall to inspire cutting edge research, network with faculty and doctoral students, provide feedback on ongoing research, and stimulate joint research with faculty and doctoral students. A secondary goal is to increase the visibility of the school and educate the visitor about the research environment at USC Marshall or potentially interest him or her to join USC Marshall. This year, iORB invites proposals for two categories of visitors: i) Distinguished Fellow and ii) Research Fellow.

  • Gerald Davis, Fall 2023

    Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration

    Professor of Sociology

    University of Michigan, Michigan Ross

    Professor Davis's research revolves around the corporation as a social and economic entity. Recent works delve into topics such as the limited awareness corporations have regarding their global supply chains and the resulting moral quandaries. Other areas of exploration include the breakdown of the social network among corporate elites, alternative organizational models to the shareholder-owned corporation, the influence of national institutions on corporate structures and its implications for income inequality, strategies for harnessing platform capitalism for purposes beyond profit, the role of management research in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, the impact of new technologies on worker political activism within corporations, the ability of social scientists to shape public opinion, and the transformative potential of information and communication technologies in economic organization.

    Davis has an extensive body of work spanning management, sociology, and finance, encompassing six books and numerous articles. Notable publications include "Social Movements and Organization Theory" (Cambridge University Press, 2005), "Organizations and Organizing" (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007), "Managed by the Markets: How Finance Reshaped America" (Oxford University Press, 2009), "Changing your Company from the Inside Out: A Guide for Social Intrapreneurs" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015), "The Vanishing American Corporation" (Berrett Koehler, 2016), and "Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century" (Cambridge University Press, 2022).


iORB provides workshop and conference funding with the goal of stimulating the exchange of ideas that lead to outlier research. Examples of the use of such funding include: staff to organize or run the conference, food and drinks for participants, location rental, or support for highly visible speakers. A call for proposals is sent out annually as part of a competitive submission process and the iORB executive board reviews the proposals and makes final funding decisions.

  • 2023 AIM Conference

    The 3rd annual Artificial Intelligence in Management Workshop and Conference at USC Marshall was held March 16-17, 2023.




iORB’s core mission is to nurture and grow outlier research.

Consistent with this mission, iORB provides funding to support ambitious research projects that require additional resources but have significant potential impact. iORB aims to annually fund several outstanding proposals that will positively impact business and society.

A call for proposals is sent out each Fall as part of a competitive submission process and respected business scholars review the proposals. Based on the reviews, the iORB executive board makes final funding decisions.

The proposals for funding are evaluated according to the following main criteria:

  1. Is there potential for creative and rigorous research that has a likelihood of significant impact on business and society, and will result in publications in premier academic journals?
  2. Is the work of broad impact; i.e., is there a path forward for disseminating the results of the work beyond the proposer’s own academic community?

Funded Outlier Research Proposals


Data plays a central role in the progress of research, the discovery of new phenomena, and the testing and advance of theories.

iORB longitudinal data initiative serves this mission. 

The goals of this initiative:

  1. Initiate novel, potentially high impact, longitudinal data collection on important business phenomena that are likely to bear fruit over the long term of 5+ years.
  2. Brand Marshall as a pioneer in developing and expanding rich new data for research.
  3. Enable cross-functional research in promising new areas that capitalize on recent technological innovations and the strength of our local economy relating to MECC (Media, Entertainment, Culture and Creative) sector.
  4. Increase the visibility of Marshall’s research initiatives and increase citations to Marshall’s publications.
  5. Leverage Marshall’s proximity to the Southern California entertainment-media-video gaming businesses



Institute for Outlier Research in Business
USC Marshall School of Business
3670 Trousdale Parkway
Bridge Hall, Room 101
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0802

Phone: (213) 821‑6579

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