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Dave Ketchen, a Harbert Eminent Scholar at Auburn University, has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management (AOM), the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars. Founded in 1936, AOM’s global community today numbers more than 18,000 people and spans over 120 countries.
Dave Ketchen, Harbert Eminent Scholar of Management
Ketchen was among 10 individuals elected in 2023 for their significant contributions to management research and teaching. Roughly 1% of AOM members earn this distinction.
“To get recognition from your peers is special,” said Ketchen, noting that existing Fellows select the new honorees each year. “That’s something that people really treasure.”
“Dr. Ketchen is extremely deserving of being selected as an Academy of Management Fellow,” said Harbert College of Business Interim Dean and Regions Bank Professor Joe Hanna. “Dave has a phenomenal research record that substantially enriches his academic discipline and industry, while bringing prestige to Auburn University and Harbert College.”
A highly influential researcher, Ketchen is best known for his insightful contributions to the fields of strategic management, entrepreneurship and supply chain management. He has published over 200 research articles, and his work has been referenced by his peers more than 50,000 times, according to Google Scholar.
“Dave is a true strategy scholar,” said Auburn management faculty colleague Brian Connelly, the Luck Eminent Scholar in Harbert College. “He has investigated the complex issue of strategic management from all angles and has helped startup companies be successful, has done work on emerging topics such as diversity and is adding to what we know about strategic approaches to supply chain management.”
A Harbert faculty member since 2006, Ketchen conducts research aimed at understanding why some firms prosper and others struggle. His research has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and other major media outlets.
In 2017, a study with Auburn colleague Michelle Zorn upended conventional wisdom about the performance of companies with lone-insider corporate boards, a form of governance where board members are nearly all independent of the firm except for one company executive — usually the CEO.
Lone-insider boards became popular in the 2000s in response to the failure of firms like Enron and MCI Worldcom, which had boards dominated by company executives and their cronies — some of whom engaged in corrupt business practices.
The study found that companies with lone-insider boards pay their CEO too much, allow more financial misconduct and underperform compared to companies with boards comprised of a mix of independent members and company executives.
In a follow-up study published in 2020, Ketchen and Zorn examined whether corporate board are biased in their assessments of a CEO they helped hire. They found that board members become too invested in their decisions which in turn makes it difficult for them to fire poorly performing CEOs whom they helped hire. One implication is that having some turnover on the board after hiring a new CEO is healthy because it helps the board clearly evaluate the new executive’s performance.
As an instructor, Ketchen teaches undergraduate, masters and doctoral level courses, including a course on the business of starting and operating a brewery for students enrolled in Auburn’s Brewing Science degree program.
He serves on the board of the Why Not Win Institute, a non-profit that centers on hard work, relationship building and accountability based on lessons drawn from the life experiences of successful Alabama entrepreneur Larry Thornton. Ketchen and Thornton recently published a graphic novel “You Have to Live, Why Not Win” that extends the Institute’s reach with young people.
He is the former chair of the board for Alabama Launchpad, a statewide competition for startup businesses, and he helped Michelin Development distribute $2 million in job creation loans in Alabama. Earlier in his career, Ketchen served as an instructor with the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at Florida State University.
Among his many accolades, in 2018 Ketchen was Auburn’s recipient of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Faculty Achievement Award — the campus’ most prestigious faculty honor – and Auburn’s Creative Research and Scholarship Award.
“When you have success, it’s a function not only of your own efforts, but what other people have done for you,” said Ketchen, recalling how a doctoral student and professor from his undergraduate days encouraged him to get a doctorate. “None of us becomes successful without people acting on our behalf and guiding us along the way.”
Ketchen received his bachelor’s degree in marketing and doctorate in business administration from Penn State University.
About the Harbert College of Business
The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice in emerging business disciplines. Our alumni, friends, and corporate partners actively support and engage our faculty and students to integrate business theory with practical experience and instill the level of professional proficiency and personal integrity demanded by employers around the globe.