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    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

  • Smallholder supply chains in developing countries
  • Supply chain transparency and information sharing
  • Environmentally and socially responsible operations
  • Behavioral operations research

Visit Karen's Google Scholar page

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, X. Liu, 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.