Research

    Karen Zheng's research studies fundamental and emerging operations management (OM) problems with a behavior-centric, data-driven, field-based approach. This approach brings a strong focus on the behavioral, process, and supply chain design aspects that are key to enabling empirically-grounded and practically-implementable solutions. Her research addresses four general topics: (I) the design and impact of online platforms to enable efficient physical supply chains in resource constrained environments, (II) the role of information transparency in driving positive behaviors, especially for environmental and social responsibility, (III) the impact of a supply chain’s structural properties on the behaviors of various stakeholders, and (IV) the impact of consumer behaviors on retail operations. In addressing these questions, her research spans various application domains including food and agricultural supply chains, environmentally and socially responsible operations, supply chain information sharing, and pricing and revenue management.
    Zheng collaborates with both public and private partners on the ground to ensure that her research leads to positive impacts to society and practice. For example, through a collaboration with the state government of Karnataka, India, her research team have designed and implemented a new two-stage auction on its state-wide online agricultural platform for a major market of lentils. The implementation has led to significant profit gains for over 10,000 farmers traded in the market during the treatment period. In another project, her team is working with an agri-tech company to design data-driven market intelligence tools to benefit over 26,000 fresh produce farmers in Bihar, India. Recently, she has started collaboration with Fair Trade USA to utilize information transparency to promote the adoption of fair-trade products on both the consumer and the producer sides.

Research Interests

  • Supply chain transparency and information sharing
  • Environmentally and socially responsible operations
  • Smallholder agricultural supply chains
  • Behavioral operations management
Visit Karen's Google Scholar page
"Motivating Supplier Social Responsibility under Incomplete Visibility." Kraft, Tim, León Valdés, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management. Forthcoming.
"Network Trust and Trust Behaviors among Executives in Supply Chain Interactions." Choi, Emily, Özalp Özer, and Y. Karen Zheng. Management Science. Forthcoming.
"The Impact of Unifying Agricultural Wholesale Markets on Prices and Farmers’ Profitability." Levi, Retsef, Manoj Rajan, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 117, No. 6 (2020): 2366-2371.
"Behavioral Operations: Past, Present, and Future." Donohue, Karen Lisa, Özalp Özer, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management 20th Anniversary Special Issue Vol. 22, No. 1 (2020): 191-202.
"Economically Motivated Adulteration in Farming Supply Chains." Levi, Retsef, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng. Management Science Vol. 66, No. 1 (2020): 209-226.
"Supply Chain Visibility and Social Responsibility: Investigating Consumers' Behaviors and Motives." Kraft, Tim, León Valdés, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management Vol. 20, No. 4 (2018): 617-636. Download Paper. Supplemental Material.
"Markdown or Everyday Low Price? The Role of Behavioral Motives." Özer, Ö., Y. Zheng. Management Science Vol. 62, No. 2 (2016): 326-346.
"The NGO's Dilemma: How to Influence Firms to Remove a Potentially Hazardous Substance." Kraft, Tim, Yanchong Zheng, and Feryal Erhun. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management Vol. 15, No. 4 (2013): 649-669. Download Paper. Appendix.
"Trust in Forecast Information Sharing." Özer, Ö., Y. Zheng, K. Chen. Management Science Vol. 57, No. 6 (2011): 1111-1137. Appendix.
"A Process Analysis of Global Trade Management: An Inductive Approach." Hausman, W., H. Lee, G. Napier, A. Thompson, Y. Zheng. Journal of Supply Chain Management Vol. 46, No. 2 (2010): 5-29.
"Relative Performance Transparency: Effects on Sustainable Choices." Buell, Ryan, Shwetha Mariadassou, and Y. Karen Zheng, MIT Sloan Working Paper 5590-17. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, January 2019.
"Artificial Shortage in Agricultural Supply Chains." Levi, Retsef, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng, Working Paper. 2019.
"Improving Farmers' Income on Online Agri-platforms: Design and Field Implementation of a Two-stage Auction." Levi, Retsef, Manoj Rajan, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng, MIT Sloan Working Paper 5863-19. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, January 2020. Supplementary data.
"Governance and Food Safety in China: A Data-Driven Approach." Gao, Q., Yasheng Huang, Q. Liang, Y. Sui, and Y. Karen Zheng, Working Paper. 2019.
"Consumer Trust in Social Responsibility Communications: The Role of Supply Chain Visibility." Kraft, Tim, León Valdés, and Y. Karen Zheng, MIT Sloan Working Paper 5818-19. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, June 2019.
"Risk Drivers for Economically Motivated Food Adulteration in China's Farming Supply Chains." Huang, Yasheng, Retsef Levi, Stacy Springs, Shujing Wang, and Y. Karen Zheng, Working Paper. 2018.
"Chapter 14: Trust and Trustworthiness." Özer, Özalp and Y. Karen Zheng. In The Handbook of Behavioral Operations, edited by Elena Katok, Karen Donohue, Stephen Leider, 489-523. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018. Download Chapter.
"Chapter 14: Establishing Trust and Trustworthiness in Supply Chain Information Sharing." Özer, Ö., Y. Zheng. In Handbook of Information Exchange in Supply Chain Management, edited by Albert Y. Ha, Christopher S. Tang, 287-312. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2016.
"Chapter 3: Assessing Consumers' Valuations of Socially Responsible Products with Controlled Experiments." Zheng, Yanchong, Tim Kraft, and León Valdés. In Environmentally Responsible Supply Chains, edited by Atalay Atasu, 29-50. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2016.
"Chapter 20: Behavioral Issues in Pricing Management." Özer, Ö., Y. Zheng. In The Oxford Handbook of Pricing Management, edited by Özalp Özer, Robert Phillips, 415-459. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Work In Progress

  • “Where Should I Sell? Data-driven Market Intelligence for Fresh Produce Farmers,” with R. Levi, S. Singhvi.
  • “Influence Maximization in Rural Networks,” with R. Levi, S. Singhvi.
  • “Incentives for Quality Investment by Smallholder Farmers,” with Y. Yang.
  • “Evolution of Trust in Strategic Information Sharing,” sole author.
  • “Promotion in the Presence of a Rewards Program,” with R. Hariss, G. Perakis.
  • “Process-driven Discussions in Collective Decision Making for Operational Risk Management,” with R. Levi, S. Wang.