School of Management hires two new professors

The Yale School of Management announced Wednesday that it will be hiring two professors, James Baron and Joseph Simmons, to join the SOM faculty in July.

Baron will leave the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join Yale as a professor of organizational behavior, while Simmons, currently a postdoctoral research associate at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, has been named an SOM assistant professor of marketing. And Stanford organizational behavior professors Deborah Gruenfeld and James Phills, Jr. will serve as yearlong visiting Yale professors beginning this fall.

Simmons, whose primary research focuses on judgment and decision making, said his move to Yale was primarily motivated by the quality of marketing education at SOM.

“A lot of the best research on judgment and decision making is being done in marketing departments at business schools, and Yale’s marketing department is one of the strongest,” Simmons said. “[SOM marketing professors] Nathan Novemsky and Ravi Dhar are just tremendous researchers in the field, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me to want to be with them.”

Baron — who was a colleague of SOM Dean Joel Podolny during the 11 years Podolny served on the Stanford business faculty — cited SOM’s mission of “educating leaders for business and society” as one of the school’s main attractions for him.

“I know [Podolny] shares my view that business schools need to be not just about economic imperatives but also about society,” Baron said in a statement issued by SOM. “I have great confidence in and admiration for Joel and his vision for Yale SOM, and I’m excited about helping the school realize its potential to build a first-class organizational behavior department.”

In the statement, Podolny praised Baron’s scholarship and the contribution he expects the new hires will make toward the school’s redevelopment efforts.

“I can think of no organizational scholar who has sustained higher standards, and I am delighted that [Baron] is coming to Yale,” Podolny said. “Not only does it constitute a major leap forward in the rebuilding of organizational behavior at SOM; it also contributes to and reinforces the school’s broader momentum around our curriculum reform efforts and the planning for a new campus.”

Given all of the resources and opportunities for study that Yale affords, Simmons said, he looks forward to continuing his research on the decision making methods used in betting on point spreads in sporting events. With a background in psychology, Simmons said he was also attracted by SOM attempts to bridge the gaps between fields such as psychology, marketing and organizational behavior.

“I feel very comfortable going to a place like that where they’re not afraid to look at things in an interdisciplinary way or communicate between departments to share research on the same idea,” Simmons said.

Podolny said he expects the two visiting professors from Stanford to prove instrumental in the first-year implementation of the new SOM core curriculum.

“Both [professors Gruenfeld and Phills] will be very much involved in the new curriculum efforts, and I have the highest admiration for both of them as scholars and teachers,” Podolny said.

The two visiting professors said they were eager to be a part of SOM’s curriculum experiment this coming fall.

“I love the idea of a more integrated curriculum in which faculty pool their insights to address specific management challenges,” Gruenfeld said.

Phills, another former colleague of Podolny, said he was excited to work with Podolny again in the implementation of the new academic program.

Baron holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California at Santa Barbara and Simmons holds a doctorate in psychology from Princeton. Baron is also the co-author of the textbook “Strategic Human Resources: Frameworks for General Manager,” which is currently in use by students at the Yale SOM.

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