Y. Karen Zheng

Faculty

Y. Karen Zheng

About

Yanchong (Karen) Zheng is a Sloan School Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Karen Zheng's research studies fundamental and emerging operations management problems with a critical lens on the behavioral factors impacting human decisions, particularly in information-rich environments. Her research employs a methodology that integrates theoretical modeling of OM problems with empirical investigation of human behavior. In particular, current OM and behavioral theories serve as a normative foundation for building sound hypotheses on relevant behavioral factors, and for guiding careful analyses of these hypotheses with controlled experiments and appropriate field data. Empirical findings, in turn, inform the development of new OM models that capture missing but important behavioral factors. Karen's research goal is to establish enhanced models that can better predict human decisions and prescribe effective, actionable strategies in practice.

Some of her current research projects investigate how trust, cultural heterogeneity, and process design affect information sharing in important operations contexts; when increased supply chain transparency affects consumers’ and companies’ decisions in social responsibility contexts; how the structure and traceability of food supply chains influence the risks of adulterations of food products; and how consumers' behavioral regularities in their purchase decisions impact retailers' revenue management strategies.

Zheng holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Tsinghua University in China and a PhD from Stanford University.

Honors

Karen Zheng honored for working paper

Karen Zheng wins NSF award

Publications

"Behavioral Operations: Past, Present, and Future."

Donohue, Karen Lisa, Ozalp Ozer, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 20th Anniversary Special Issue. Forthcoming.

"Motivating Supplier Social Responsibility under Incomplete Visibility."

Kraft, Tim, León Valdés, and Y. Karen Zheng. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management. Forthcoming.

"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.

"Unifying Agricultural Wholesale Markets: Impact on Farmers’ Income."

Levi, Retsef, Manoj Rajan, Somya Singhvi, and Y. Karen Zheng, Working Paper. 2019.

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Press

Investing in supply chain visibility builds trust with consumers

The study has implications for how companies communicate their social responsibility initiatives.

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Ideas Made to Matter

Tainted food on purpose? It’s adulteration

A look at intentional and unintentional food adulteration, and why it matters to agricultural supply chains.

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