Michael Park dissertation winner

PhD Student Wins National Dissertation Proposal Competition

Friday, October 21, 2022

A Carlson School PhD student, Michael Park, '23 PhD, took home top honors at the INFORMS Organization Dissertation Proposal Competition.

Park’s dissertation is titled “Essays on the Politics of Innovation,” and his advisors are Professor Aks Zaheer and Associate Professor Russell Funk in the Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship Department. Park beat out seven other finalists and more than 130 proposals overall to win the top prize, one of the most prestigious available to doctoral students studying organizations.

“It was a tremendous honor to win this competition,” he says. “This is a competition that has been going on for 30 years and many of the past winners are people well-known in the field. I feel very fortunate to have won.”

Park’s dissertation explores the important factors in the political environment that are consequential for firms to come up with new technologies and innovations. Much of his work explores how lobbyists for technology companies influence governmental regulations. His work shows that although lobbying often leads to regulatory changes beneficial for the firm’s innovations, the lobbying efforts may also have the unintended consequence of leaking knowledge about the firm’s innovations to competitors. This paper demonstrates that firms lobbying for innovations face a tradeoff between appropriating additional value from their technologies and disclosing technological knowledge that competitors may expropriate.

Park presented his dissertation in front of a panel of eight leaders in the field, including Carlson School Professor Aseem Kaul. 

“Getting to know my fellow cohorts and the other faculty judges was a tremendous experience,” he adds. “It’s great to be able to make those connections as I enter my career.”