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10-23-2013

Clarkson University Business Professor Wins International Honor

Clarkson University School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Anju Sethi’s Ph.D. dissertation was selected among the top-three dissertations in an international dissertation competition on innovation.  

Clarkson University School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Anju Sethi’s Ph.D. dissertation was selected among the top-three dissertations in an international dissertation competition on innovation. Above, Sethi (second from left), award winner Niyazi Taneri of the University of Cambridge (third from left), and International Society for Professional Innovation Management executives.The competition was held by the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) in collaboration with Wiley. More than 150 dissertations on innovation were submitted for this competition from universities in 40 countries including the United States and Canada.

Dissertations were selected for the award based on impact, innovativeness, scientific rigor, and communication. The ISPIM-Wiley Innovation Dissertation Award is a leading award of its type worldwide.    

The award winners attended the ISPIM conference in Helsinki in June, where the final awards were announced. Sethi attended the conference where her dissertation was awarded the second prize in the competition.

Sethi received her Ph.D. degree from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in 2012. Her dissertation adviser was Professor Louise Heslop. Sethi also has an MBA from Clarkson University and a degree in economics from the University of Delhi, India.

The title of Sethi's dissertation is “The Stage-Gate Process, Organizational Politics, and Performance of New Products.” A majority of medium and large organizations use the Stage-Gate or a similar process to bring discipline into product development and more efficiently allocate firms’ resources by screening out weaker projects. Specifically, Sethi's dissertation examines if the Stage-Gate process is vulnerable to organizational power and political influence.

The dissertation challenges a number of key assumptions underlying research on the Stage-Gate process. For example, it challenges the assumption that if new product projects are evaluated using rigorous criteria, organizational factors such as power and politics will not enter the product development process. The dissertation shows that evaluation rigor is not able to prevent power and politics from creeping into the Stage-Gate process, leading to a negative influence on the innovativeness and market performance of new products so developed.

It also challenges the long-standing notion that surplus or slack resources help in the development of innovative products. The dissertation shows that in a more political organization, slack resources are used as a tool by senior managers to enhance their power, which adversely affects the innovativeness of new products and their market performance.

Sethi has taught courses such as principles of marketing, promotions strategy, and business-to-business marketing at Clarkson.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Anju Sethi’s Ph.D. dissertation was selected among the top-three dissertations in an international dissertation competition on innovation. Above, Sethi (second from left), award winner Niyazi Taneri of the University of Cambridge (third from left), and International Society for Professional Innovation Management executives.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/sethi-ispim.jpg.]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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