Behavioral Operations Management


The mission of the Behavioral Operations Management Section is to provide for a continuing, specialized focus within INFORMS aimed at leading the development of research into behavioral dynamics in operations management modeling, policy prescription and practice. Its intent is to provide mechanisms for the exchange of ideas, experiences and techniques for research growth in this area with the end goal of increasing the practical applicability of operations management.

2017 Behavioral Operations Conference

The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is proud to host the 12th annual Behavioral Operations Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 12-14, 2017. The conference will begin with a one-day Young Scholars Workshop on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, and the main conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, July 13-14, 2017.

The goal of the conference is to bring together researchers with a common interest in the intersection of human behavior and operations, with the aim of sharing current work, fostering research development and developing relationships among scholars in the field.

We look forward to seeing you at MIT!

We welcome submissions of papers for the Behavioral Operations Conference and the Young Scholars Workshop until April 15, 2017.  Please submit a one-page abstract when registering for the conference.

Key Deadlines

  • Paper Submission: April 15, 2017
  • Notification of Acceptance: May 7, 2017
  • Registration Deadline: May 31, 2017 

Please see the website for further details and to register:


Andrew Davis, Elena Katok, Georgia Perakis, Ken Schultz, Jordan Tong, Yanchong Karen Zheng (Chair)

2016 Best Working Paper Award Winners

On behalf of the awards committee, please join in congratulating the winners of the 2016 INFORMS Behavioral Operations Management Section Best Working Paper Award. The results were announced at the conclusion of a special presentation session at INFORMS 2016: 

First Place: A Behavioral Study on Abandonment Decisions in Multi-Stage Projects by Javad Nasiry (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Xiaoyang Long (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), and Yaozhong Wu (National University of Singapore)


A Behavioral Study on Abandonment Decisions in Multi-Stage Projects (Nasiry, Long and Wu) studies how a project manager decides to continue or abandon a mult-stage project as its projected value evolves. The paper develops a behavioral model and conducts a controlled laboratory experiment to study how continuation decisions are made under two information conditions: a full information case where the projected value is known in every period, and a limited review case where the project manager must choose when to evaluate the expected value of the project. The results show both delayed and premature termination.  Continuation decisions are highly path dependent, with continuation (abandonment) more likely after a string of value increases (decreases). The authors show that a behavioral model based on an expectations-based reference point, the sunk cost bias and the status quo bias can explain the range of observed choice patterns. The reviewers and the committee were impressed both the novel and interesting research questions that have a range of applications, and the careful and well executed analysis. The paper also had a very nice combination of a detailed analytic model and a novel experimental setting.

Second Place: Impact of Queue Configuration on Service Time: Evidence from a Supermarket by Jingqi Wang (University of Hong Kong) and Yong-Pin Zhou (University of Washington, Seattle)


Impact of Queue Configuration on Service Time: Evidence from a Supermarket (Wang and Zhou) examines empirically the impact of using pooled or separate queues on server speed.  In addition to the operational effects of pooling, they consider two psychological effects on server productivity: reduced server speed under pooling due to social loafing, and increased server speed under pooling due to a longer line.  They perform a careful econometric analysis using a unique dataset combining video and transaction data from a supermarket that uses a mix of pooled and dedicated servers.  They find evidence for both the direct slowdown effect due to social loafing, and the indirect speedup effect of queue length.  However, the find that overall the direct loafing effect dominates, with pooled queues having on net approximately 7% slower service times.  The paper provides surprising empirical evidence that runs contrary to a classic operational recommendation. The reviewers and the committee were impressed with the careful analysis, the interesting ways video data was incorporated into the analysis, and the importance and likely impact of the authors’ findings.  

Honorable Mention:  Ideation-Execution Transition in Product Development by Evgeny Kagan (University of Michigan Ross School of Business), Stephen Leider (University of Michigan Ross School of Business) and William Lovejoy (University of Michigan Ross School of Business)


Ideation-Execution Transition in Product Development (Kagan, Leider and Lovejoy) study the innovation process in a product development setting where both idea generation and execution are important.  The authors investigate how the allocation of time between the ideation and execution phases, as well as whether the innovator can freely choose when to transition, affects the performance of the resulting ideas.  The authors conduct an experiment with a novel creative task, and use video data to record and analyze subject’s creative process.  The authors show that processes that allow subjects to endogenously choose when to transition to execution perform worse, in large part because subjects delay initial building and testing of designs (which predicts ultimate performance).  This leads to significantly worse execution of their ideas.  The authors conduct a second set of experiments that show several interventions that improve subjects performance under a flexible process – with the greatest improvement coming from a requirement to demonstrate a minimally viable prototype.  The reviewers and the committee noted that the paper uses a novel experiment to study a very important topic, and brings fresh insights into successful new product development.


Selecting the Winners

While we recognize the winners, the entries indicate that there is exciting stream of future work to advance the field. There were 24 submissions and we were pleased to see so many high quality entries – we expect many of these working papers to appear in top academic journals. The entries demonstrated diversity in the breadth and depth of important operations management topics. They also show case the diversity of research methods, which included analytical modeling, lab/field experiments and econometric / secondary data analyses. The research questions spanned a range of important operational topics: Inventory, Pricing, Product Development, Quality management, Healthcare, Queueing, Project Management, Supply Chain, Risk, etc. 

This year, the third place paper was co-authored by a member of the Award Committee. The external reviews for this entry were independently and confidentially obtained, and the remaining two committee members both agreed that it should be considered as a possible finalist. The INFORMS Behavioral Operations Management Section President (Wedad Elmaghraby) assisted in evaluating and ranking the papers, and the final ranking was unanimous.

We also would like to acknowledge our reviewers.  Every entry went through a double-blind review process with two or three reviewers beyond the committee. The reports and the reviewers’ assessment played critical role in selecting the awardees. The committee also reviewed the papers, the written comments, and the scores. The anonymous reviews were shared with the authors of the papers, and the feedback has been very positive as authors mentioned the timely, constructive, and focused feedback they have received. We thank the reviewers for their service to making this award a success.

Given the high-quality entries, the Section is looking forward to a successful competition next year. The 2017 Awards committee will be led by Michael Becker-Peth (University of Cologne); the committee will name the honorary committee member and issue a call for papers in early 2017. 


Stephen Leider (University of Michigan), 2016 Awards Committee Chair

Yanchong Karen Zheng (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), 2016 Committee Member and 2015 Chair

Enno Siemsen (University of Wisconsin), 2016 Honorary Committee Member

2015 Best Working Paper Award Winners

Results were announced at the conclusion of a special presentation session at INFORMS 2015: 

  • First Place: Bargaining Process and Channel Efficiency by Ernan Haruvy (University of Texas at Dallas), Elena Katok (University of Texas at Dallas), and Valery Pavlov (University of Auckland)
  • Second Place: Transparency and Indirect Reciprocity in Social Responsibility: An Incentivized Experiment by Tim Kraft (University of Virginia), Leon Valdes (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Yanchong Zheng (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Honorable Mention: Learning From the Best: The Effects of Public Relative Performance Feedback on Variability and Productivity by Hummy Song (Harvard University), Anita L. Tucker (Brandeis University), Karen L. Murrell (Kaiser Permanente), and David Vinson (Kaiser Permanente)
2014 Best Working Paper Award Winners

Results were announced on Nov. 9, 2014 during the INFORMS BOM Best Working Paper Presentation session at INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Congratulations to all finalists. 

  • First Place: Designing Incentive Systems for Truthful Demand Information Sharing– Theory and Experiment by Lisa M. Scheele, Marco Slikker and Ulrich W. Thonemann
  • Second Place: Capacity Investment in Supply Chains: Contracts and the Hold-up Problem by Andrew Davis and Stephen Leider
  • Honorable Mention: Remanufacturing, Third-Party Competition, and Consumers' Perceived Value of New Products by Vishal Agrawal, Atalay Atasu and Koert van Ittersum
2013 Best Working Paper Award Winners

Results were announced on Oct. 6, 2013, 2014 during the INFORMS BOM Best Working Paper Presentation session at INFORMS Annual Meeting.

  • First Place: Waiting Patiently: An Empirical Study of Queue Abandonment in an Emergency Department Robert Batt & Christian Terwiesch
  • Runner Up: Trust, Trustworthiness and Information Sharing in Supply Chains Bridging China and the U.S. Ozalp Ozer, Yufei Ren, & Yanchong Zheng
  • Honorable Mention: The Design of Experiential Services: Optimal Sequence and Duration of Service Activities Aparupa Das Gupta, Uday Karmarkar, & Guillaume Roels

Congratulations to all.


Past Conferences on Behavioral Research in Operations Management

Key Contacts

Andrew Davis (President), Cornell University
Rogelio Oliva (President-Elect), Texas A&M University
Jordan Tong (Treasurer), University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ruth Beer (Secretary), Indiana University
Ken Schultz (Eternal Unofficial Newsletter Writer), Air Force Institute of Technology

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Meetings & Conferences