Sandi Webster has always strived for self-improvement. That’s why she’s pursuing her Executive Doctorate in Business Administration at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
In October, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune selected Webster’s company, Consultants 2 Go, to join the 2015 Inner City 100, a program that honors the nation’s fastest-growing inner-city businesses.
Based in Newark, N.J., Consultants 2 Go provides consulting and marketing services in the telecom, pharmaceutical, financial services, and insurance industries. Webster, who is pursuing her Executive Doctorate of Business Administration at Fox, founded the company in 2002 with a former colleague, Peggy McHale.
“Peggy and I are very fortunate that our company has excelled in the way that it has,” Webster said. “We’ve rapidly grown our consulting firm beyond our wildest imaginations and it’s an honor that we were recognized in this way by ICIC and Fortune.”
The Inner City 100 program “recognizes successful inner-city businesses and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices, and job creation in America’s urban communities,” according to ICIC.
The list of companies was unveiled Oct. 7 at the Inner City 100 Conference and Awards in Boston. Winners gathered for a full-day business symposium featuring management case studies from Harvard Business School professors and interactive sessions with top CEOs. Keynote speakers included Governor Charlie Baker, and Harvard Business School Professor and ICIC Founder and Chairman Michael E. Porter.
Webster’s professional trajectory changed due, in part, to missing the bus.
Then an executive with American Express, Webster didn’t arrive to work on Sept. 11, 2001. Early-morning crowdedness on the day of New York City’s mayoral primary election kept her from catching her usual morning bus and, as a result, she never made it to her company’s building, located less than two city blocks from the World Trade Center.
“I had been with the company for 18 years and, after the attacks, I never went back to work for American Express at that building,” Webster said. “We lost so many good employees that day, and it caused the displacement of so many others. It altered the lives of everyone who was in New York City.
“I can’t tell you how many people started their own businesses after the tragedy of 9/11, simply out of need.”
After that day, Webster said she connected with McHale and began to reconsider her line of work.
Webster, whose company generated nearly $10 million in revenue in 2014, is always looking to improve. She, too, was looking to further herself.
“Being in the business world, I aspired for a higher-level degree,” she said. “I have a unique perspective, having worked in corporate America and now in representing clients in the small-business side. I can see where gaps are and help them work more efficiently.
“That’s why I chose the Fox School. I found the Executive DBA faculty to be knowledgeable. The proximity to our offices in Newark, N.J., was important, as well.”
Webster said working mothers comprise 80 percent of Consultants 2 Go’s employees. Her vision for her company, she said, is to offer flexible hours and locations for her workers.
“Corporations tend to let go of senior executives, some of whom are women, and that’s intellectual capital walking right out the door,” Webster said. “Conversely, there’s no one around to train young executives. That’s where I believe Consultants 2 Go can fill a void.
“Within the Executive DBA program, I hope to earn greater knowledge and complete research so I can more-closely work with companies to help them realize a better use for their intellectual capital.”
Douglas Franklin, a second-year PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, co-authored a paper that has been accepted for publication in Leadership Quarterly, a top journal. Franklin’s paper, titled “An Exploration of the Interactive Effects of Leader Trait Goal Orientation and Goal Content in Teams,” explores how leaders’ personalities and goal orientations affect teams’ task commitment, learning, and overall competency. “One of my co-authors and mentor, Dr. Christopher Porter, introduced me to the concept of leader-goal orientation, which relates to a leader’s tendency to guide their teams to focus on learning more or displaying their current knowledge when working on tasks,” said Franklin.
When working in a group, it’s inevitable that a team’s goals won’t always align with its leader’s predisposition, Franklin said. He and his fellow researchers found that, ultimately, goal orientation of leaders has a direct effect on overall team competency, for better or for worse.“When team leaders have a high tendency to encourage learning-goal orientation, it helps teams perform better when assigned performance goals,” Franklin said. “However, when team leaders have a high tendency to encourage absolute performance-goal orientation, their teams learn less when assigned learning goals.”
Franklin added that he and his fellow researchers also found that team commitment improved when leaders placed a stronger emphasis on learning goal orientation rather than on performance goal orientation. Goal orientation of leaders affects society as a whole because it is a large factor in everyday life, he said.
“Whether at work, in outside organizations, or even at home, it is important to take into consideration how your personality and your tendencies may affect those who you lead and collaborate with,” Franklin said. “Sometimes our goals do not necessarily align with subordinates, co-workers, and collaborators, which may have negative consequences if not checked.”
Though organizations typically use Big Five personality traits, and Meyers Briggs tests to understand employees during recruitment and training decisions, goal orientation may be a meaningful quasi-trait to test, Franklin said, because “it mirrors the achievement habits of people.”
At the Fox School, Franklin is pursuing his PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. He expects to complete the doctoral program in Spring 2019 and receive a faculty appointment in higher education thereafter.
Prior to his studies at the Fox School of Business, Franklin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He also earned an MBA from Rice University, and a Master’s degree in Management from Texas A&M University.
TD Ameritrade Institutional has awarded a $25,000 grant to Temple University’s Fox School of Business to foster development of a new financial planning degree program, as part its third-annual Next Gen Financial Planning Grants.
Through its Next Gen Financial Planning Grants, TD Ameritrade Institutional hopes to help the registered investment advisor industry remain vibrant for years to come by encouraging more colleges and universities to expand and enhance their financial planning degree programs, increasing the number of graduates produced each year. According to U.S. Department of Education data, roughly 700 students completed bachelor’s degree programs in financial planning in 2013, while only 90 U.S. colleges and universities offered degrees dedicated to financial planning.
“Independent financial planning is one the fastest-growing areas of the financial services business and may offer some of the brightest career prospects in the marketplace, but advisors need more than financial expertise. They need a strong desire to help people and a talent for building strong ties with clients,” Tom Nally, President of TD Ameritrade Institutional, said in a statement. “Schools like … Temple are helping educate and train a new generation of advisors so they can enter the workplace well-prepared for solving real world challenges.”
As part of a broader effort to encourage more undergraduates to pursue financial planning careers, and avert a talent shortage when thousands of baby boomer-era advisors leave the business, TD Ameritrade Institutional also awarded a grant to the University of North Texas, in Denton, Texas, to expand its existing financial planning degree program.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business will launch its Financial Planning undergraduate program this fall. Grant funds will help fund scholarships to attract top-tier students, underwrite a weekly “seminar series” that brings the workplace to campus, engaging financial planning practitioners in the Philadelphia area to speak with students providing insights into the profession’s challenges, trends and potential opportunities.
The Financial Planning major will prepare students for careers in the growing field bearing the same name, which takes a holistic approach to working with clients in order to enable them to identify and attain lifestyle and retirement goals. Students who complete the Financial Planning curriculum are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation – a unique feature of the program.
“We are incredibly proud to have been selected by TD Ameritrade Institutional as the recipient of this grant,” said Cynthia Axelrod, Program Director of Fox’s Financial Planning major and Assistant Professor of Finance. “Professionals in this field are in high demand, and this grant will bolster Fox’s efforts to provide highly qualified students that will excel as Financial Planners. “
Diana Kyser’s management style involves intricately fitting together a company’s puzzle pieces. Sometimes, a few pieces are missing. In most cases, the pieces are there and simply need to be arranged.
It’s a skill Kyser said she has always possessed.
“In our Navigating the Global Marketplace class, Professor (Ram) Mudambi talks about orchestrators – the kinds of people who can take a product that’s already in place and improve upon it,” Kyser said. “Professionally, that’s how I see myself. I’m a builder, a fixer.”
Kyser is a doctoral candidate in the inaugural cohort of the Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program at the Fox School of Business.
She’s also one of the leading businesswomen in New Jersey.
NJBIZ has named Kyser one of its Best 50 Women in Business for 2015. The weekly business journal selects women who reside or maintain employment in New Jersey, and must hold a senior management position within their organization. Honorees are either self-nominated or nominated by others. (Click here for NJBIZ’s 2015 honorees.)
“This is the 10th-annual award for NJBIZ. I’ve been nominated before, but I’d never been selected, so it’s rewarding,” said Kyser, of Summit, N.J.
Kyser’s professional background is rich with leadership experience. She’s the founding partner of COO on Demand, assisting companies in tailoring their execution strategies and formalizing their operations to scale for continued growth. Kyser’s company, which was founded nearly three years ago, offers operational experts to handle bookkeeping, human resources, management communications, business strategizing, and more for companies of all sizes.
“Maybe you’re a small business that needs help with the operations side, so the owner can focus on running the product side,” Kyser said. “Maybe you have a mid-size business that needs help refining its operations or strengthening its overall business plan. Maybe you manage a big business and you need a chief operations officer on an interim basis until you can hire one. These are some of the services we offer.
“Some of these companies could really benefit from high-level, experienced talent but, at the moment, can’t afford it. We think COO on Demand is quite revolutionary.”
Ultimately, Kyser said, she envisions bringing all of COO on Demand’s employees and offerings under one roof in a call-center-like setting, with management services being rendered by phone.
“It all comes back to reducing small-business failure rate, and it’s a goal that can be achieved,” she said.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Kyser in the early 1990s helped found C3i, which blossomed into a worldwide leader in technical support services for life sciences companies. She and two other C3i cofounders sold the $75 million venture funded global technology solutions firm within the last year to Telerx, a division of Merck.
Looking for another challenge, Kyser enrolled in Fox’s Executive DBA program, which launched in Fall 2014. She’s surrounded by others like her, who hold high-level, senior leadership positions as researchers, executives or entrepreneurs. The program, which is offered by only a handful of business schools nationwide, combines research with real-world experience.
“I can’t tell you how amazingly skilled the people in this program are,” Kyser said. “Their wealth of experience and knowledge is unbelievable. I’ve always loved academics and learning, and this program puts the business piece right there with the research and learning pieces.”
Just like in Kyser’s professional career, it’s all about fitting the pieces together.
Dr. Seok-Woo Kwon, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the entrepreneurship research committee of the Academy of Management (AOM).
Founded in 1936, the AOM is the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars. Its membership spans 20,000 members in 115 countries.
“The organization sponsors many interesting sessions that can enable and advance future research. I am very honored to be invited to the group,” Kwon said of the opportunity.
In 2012, Kwon received the Academy of Management Review’s 2012 Decade Award, one of the discipline’s most-prestigious awards, which recognizes the most-influential AMR research paper of the last 10 years, for his 2002 work, “Social Capital: Prospects for a New Concept.”
Kwon, who joined the Fox School of Business in 2012, instructs Organizations and Management Theory, a core course at the PhD level, and teaches Managing Knowledge Networks at the MBA level. Prior to his arrival at Temple, Kwon earned his PhD in Management and Organization from the University of Southern California, where he also attained his Master’s degree in Communication Management from the university’s Annenberg School for Communication. Previously, Kwon received his Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and his Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.
If annual shareholder meetings are held far away from home headquarters, earnings results may not be as up to par as companies want them to be.
A new study by Yuanzhi “Lily” Li of the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and David Yermack of New York University, titled Evasive Shareholder Meetings, found that companies tend to schedule meetings in remote locations when managers have information about future performance they want to keep private to avoid scrutiny by shareholders, activists and media.
The research team gathered data including location, days of the week, and the start time of 9,616 annual meetings between 2006 and 2010. Their findings indicate a systematic pattern of poor company performance, which followed annual meetings that are, moved a great distance away from headquarters.
“If managers don’t want to answer questions, they’ll make it harder for shareholders to attend,” Li said.
The paper cites an example using meeting locations of TRW Automotive Holdings, an auto parts manufacturer. The company held its 2007 annual meeting in McAllen, Texas, over 1,400 miles away from its headquarter located just outside Detroit, and more than 300 miles from the nearest major airport. In 2006 and 2008 to 2010, the company held its meetings in New York City. Coincidentally, in 2007, the company’s stock price fell from $38.97 to $25.90.
“We’re surprised by just how far managers are going to avoid activists and shareholders,” Li said.
Company bylaws may specify that meetings must take place with a recurring date or location, but often times, the board of directors are given the flexibility in choosing the site of the meeting.
Li and Yermack found that seventy-one percent of shareholder meetings take place within five miles of the what the managers would refer to as the “home office,” while sixteen percent occur between five and fifty miles away. They also noticed that twenty-nine percent of annual meetings take place more than fifty miles from a major airport.
Li believes companies and managers should change their practices, making it easier for shareholders to attend these annual meetings, allowing voting to take place with a higher quorum.
“Companies should be holding annual meetings closer to home,” Li said. “ We will be glad to see a law coming that says companies should always hold meetings in a close proximity to its headquarters so that local shareholders and analysts can easily attend.”
School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Associate Professor Joel G. Maxcy and University of Oklahoma Department of Health and Exercise Science Lecturer Daniel J. Larson recently published an article titled “The industrial organization of sport coaches: Road cycling as a distinguished case” in the Journal of Sport Management.
The September 2013 paper presents a theoretical model of the organization of the sport coaching industry. It is the first study to show in formal mathematical expressions how coaches are appropriated into the employment settings of sports teams. The model, based on a variety of considered sport characteristics, predicts whether the individual athlete or the sport organization will be the direct employer of coaches. The example of professional cycling coaches is presented at length and offers empirical evidence that is consistent with the model’s predictions. Other sports settings are discussed within the paper as well.
“This work stemmed from my simple observation of the cycling coaching market, where commercially well developed teams hired almost no ‘team’ coaches, and instead the cyclists hired their coaches independently,” Larson said. “When I examined this further, it became clear that there was very little research on the overall industrial organization of coaches, let alone a theory to explain these interesting outcomes.”
Maxcy, who served as Larson’s PhD advisor at the University of Georgia, was eager to lend his expertise to this project. According to Maxcy, who has made numerous contributions in this area, the literature on industrial organization of team-sport leagues and player labor markets is quite well developed in sports economics. Nonetheless, the coaching industry, a significant part of sports, had not been modeled.
“Dan’s experience as a cycling athlete and coach provided a significant intuitive dimension that greatly helped facilitate the formal modeling process,” Maxcy said.
Larson also explained that this research could lead to improved models of the coaching industry as well as empirical tests of the theory. He said that it could be a particularly useful start for examining consulting and external training services in broader industrial settings where coached employees also work within teams.
Maxcy said that a critical contribution of this work is separating the coaches’ roles into trainer and strategist components. “In most sports, one role or the other dominates the coach’s task list, and the integration of the two roles goes a long way in the determination of the employment relationship,” he said.
Larson’s research background is largely comprised of the study of economics and marketing of competitive cycling. These endeavors were preceded by substantial work experience in cycling coaching and international professional cycling team management.
Maxcy has an extensive research background in sport labor relations and industrial organization. His related past publications include articles that have examined issues such as free agency, contract length, and compensation in professional sport.
Assistant Professor Steven N. Pyser, jointly appointed to the Legal Studies and Human Resource Management departments of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has contributed his insights on the impact of trust on business success in a new book, Trust Inc.: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset.
Trust Inc.’s editor, Barbara Brooks Kimmel — co-founder and executive director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World — selected 30 experts to make the case for trust in the new book.
This handbook on organizational trust is divided into six sections: Why trust matters; How trust works in practice; What it takes to be a trustworthy leader; How trustworthy teams impact business; How to restore trust; and A new paradigm for organizational trust. Pyser authored the latter.
Pyser’s essay, titled, Capitalism and High Trust: Leveraging Social Worlds as Intangible Assets, was inspired by his pracademics approach — combining the works and viewpoints of academics and practitioners — as well as the applied practice and research he’s conducted in the past 15 years.
In his essay, Pyser argues that having an understanding of performance standards and a working definition of workplace trust are winning strategies required to achieve excellence in today’s global business economy.
He offers a new paradigm and structure for global capitalism and competitiveness. It requires a culture of high trust by leveraging conversations and business communications through “social worlds” and “communication perspectives” used as intangible assets.
“Being recognized for domain expertise by Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is a wonderful honor,” Pyser said. “I’m privileged to be in the esteemed company of the international expert contributors in the book.”
In discussing his essay and how to build capacities for business trust connections, he acknowledged the integral role of being Temple Made (LAW ’84) and serving on the Fox faculty at a world-class research university play in developing his theories, personal and professional successes.
Pyser said he appreciates the academic freedom and ability to innovate as a Fox professor through the continuing support of the Dean’s Office and his department chairs – in Legal Studies, Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Jr. and in Human Resource Management, Dr. Deanna Geddes. “Their encouragement and varied course assignments have motivated my teaching, research and emerging applied practice approaches to business trust,” he said.
Pyser reserved the highest praise for his students, who “have taught him well” about the role trust plays in education, business and life. He indicated that “trust is a catalyst for learning together in community, professional growth and enhancement of transferable workforce skills.
“Fox students continue to impress me how they make things happen – especially, their commitment to academic excellence, grit, resilience and real-world readiness,” Pyer said.
Pyser is the president and founder at The Pyser Group, which specializes in ethics, leadership development, corporate governance and sustainability strategies. He is a Caux Round Table Fellow and contributes to the current work of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 Development Agenda.