Y. Karen Zheng


Y. Karen Zheng


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

Her 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, Zheng's 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.

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


Karen Zheng honored for working paper

Karen Zheng wins NSF award


"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.

"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.

"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.

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Supply chain transparency, explained

What is transparency, how does it differ from visibility, who’s demanding it, and how can it boost ESG ratings and consumer trust.

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New auction design for digital agricultural platforms

Prof. Yanchong (Karen) Zheng says: “We found that the underlying operational and supply chain design of the platform plays a significant role in whether farmers benefit from the initiative."

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