Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Spring 2008

Huntsman student researchers talk with Utah Legislators

The research efforts of five undergraduate students, and the professors who helped them, were showcased last January during the annual Research Day on Capitol Hill.

The students, from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, set up four illustrated research posters for the event. Work from other colleges at Utah State University, as well as the University of Utah were featured.

The event provides an opportunity to show members of the legislature how the Huntsman School of Business and Utah State University add value to an undergraduate student's educational experience through research.

Vikki Carlisle discusses her research with Dean Douglas D. Anderson, left, and Brent C. Miller, vice president for research at USU.
Vikki Carlisle discusses her research with Dean Douglas D. Anderson,
left, and Brent C. Miller, vice president for research at USU.

The student's research sought answers to very specific questions. For example, does remorse influence peoples' perceptions of unethical behavior? And what happens when someone assumes no responsibility for an unethical act and simply blames others? Would that person be seen as more unethical?

Margo Farnsworth, a sophomore majoring in business administration, addressed these questions in a controlled experiment. She found that neither remorse nor blaming others influenced people's perception of the unethical act itself; all respondents in the study perceive the act to be equally unethical. Instead, remorse influenced people's perceptions of how ethical the person was. She learned that when someone is remorseful, they are more likely to be seen as ethical than someone who accepts no responsibility, according to director of undergraduate research for the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Ken Bartkus.

Another student, Vikki Carlisle, a sophomore majoring in marketing and economics, did a study on food product certifications. Carlisle found that when people were informed that certified products had not been independently tested, it had a negative impact on their perception of the product and the certification. The results also suggest that some consumers may falsely believe that the presence of a certification means that it was independently tested, Bartkus said.

Natali Naegle, a junior majoring in marketing and economics, did research on student procrastination. Surveying students, she asked them questions about school, home and work procrastination. She found that students tended to procrastinate more with school work and home tasks than they would with work projects. Surprisingly, she found that students with high grade point averages were just as likely to procrastinate as those with lower GPAs.

Josh Kerkmann, a junior majoring in international business, and Joseph Irvine, a sophomore majoring in management information systems, studied ways to solve a fundamental problem facing charter schools. Since these schools are expected to select the students they will admit through non-biased admission lotteries, Kerkmann and Irvine developed software that makes it easier to randomly select students.