Karen Donohue

Karen Donohue

Professor and Curtis L. Carlson Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Operations
Supply Chain and Operations


  • BA
    Mathematics and Economics, St. Olaf College
  • MS
    Industrial Engineering and Management Science, Northwestern University
  • PhD
    Industrial Engineering, Northwestern University


  • Supply Chain Coordination
  • Behavioral Operations
  • Environmental Operations


Karen Donohue is an expert in supply chain management and behavioral operations. Her research examines methods for coordinating inventory and distribution decisions across supply chains, as well as ways to align supply chain activities to improve environmental outcomes. She draws on a number of different methodologies in her research including stochastic modeling, game theory, empirical methods, and behavioral economics. Donohue’s research is often conducted in concert with partners from industry and governmental organizations, with recent examples including 3M, Best Buy, MNTap, and Medtronic. Her early research was funded through an NSF Career Award.

She holds the Curtis L. Carlson Endowed Chair in Supply Chain at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Donohue is also academic director of the master of science in supply chain management program at the Carlson School. Outside of the Carlson School, she holds a joint appointment in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department (College of Science and Engineering) and is a Faculty Research Scholar in the Center for Transportation Studies and a Fellow in the Institute on the Environment (all at the University of Minnesota). She also serves as associate editor for the Manufacturing & Service Operations Management journal. She holds BA degrees in mathematics and economics from St. Olaf College, and MS and PhD degrees in industrial engineering and management science from Northwestern University.

Selected Works & Activities

  • Journal Articles
    “Strategic Visual Merchandising of New and Open-box Products: Evidence from Experiment and Retail Data”, N. Ertekin, Y. Ding, and K. Donohue, (2023), to appear in Management Science.
  • Journal Articles
    "Ordering Behavior and the Impact of Allocation Mechanisms in an Integrated Distribution System", E. Spiliotopoulou, Karen Donohue, and Mustafa Çagri Gürbüz, (2022), Production and Operations Management, 31 (2), 422-441.
  • Journal Articles
    "Online Business-to-Business Markets for Industrial Product Reuse: Evidence from an Operational Policy Change", S. Dhanorkar, K. Donohue, and K. Linderman, (2020), to appear in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.
  • Journal Articles
    "Behavioral Operations: Past, Present, and Future", K. Donohue, O. Ozer, and Y. Zhang, (2020), Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22 (1) 191-202.
  • Journal Articles
    “Closing a Supplier's Energy Efficiency Gap through Assessment Assistance and Procurement Commitment", Nguyen, Donohue, Mehrotra, Management Science (2019), 65 (1), 122-138.
  • Journal Articles
    "The Decision to Recall: a Behavioral Investigation in the Medical Device Industry", G. Ball, R. Shah, and K. Donohue, (2018), Journal of Operations Management, 62 (9), 1-15.
  • Journal Articles
    "Initiating and Sustaining Supplier Involvement in Development Projects: a Behavioral Investigation", Wuttke, Donohue, and Siemsen, Production and Operations Management (2018), 27 (1), 80-99.
  • Journal Articles
    “Managing and Reallocating Inventory across two Markets with Local Information”, E. Spiliotopoulou, K. Donohue, MÇ Gürbüz, and H.S. Heese, European Journal of Operational Research (2018), 266, 531-542.
  • Journal Articles
    "Contract Preferences and Performance for the Loss Averse Supplier: Buyback versus Revenue Sharing," Zhang, Donohue, and Cui, Management Science (2016), 62 (6) , 1734-1754.
  • Journal Articles
    “Information Reliability in Supply Chains: the Case of Multiple Retailers”, E. Spiliotopoulou, K. Donohue, and MÇ Gürbüz, Production and Operations Management (2016), 25: 548–567.
  • Journal Articles
    "Repurposing Materials and Waste through Online Exchanges: Overcoming the Last Hurdle," Dhanorkar, Donohue, and Linderman, Production and Operations Management (2015), 24: 1473-1493.
  • Journal Articles
    "Order Stability in Supply Chains: Coordination Risk and the Role of Coordination Stock," Croson, Donohue, Katok, Production and Operations Management (2014), 23: 176-196
  • Associate Editor, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM)

  • Supply chain coordination

  • Reducing environmental impact of supply chains

  • Wickham Skinner Award for Best POM Paper Published in 2016, Carlson School Faculty Research Award (2017, 2012); Carlson School Faculty Service Award (2012, 2006); INFORMS Behavioral Process Management Service Award (2008); INFORMS Behavioral Process Management Most Influential Paper Award (2007); Operations Research Meritorious Service Award, (2004, 1999, 1998); National Science Foundation Career Award (1996-2002).

  • Behavioral issues in supply chain management

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