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Professors Ashworth and Murphy take Research Award honours

Laurence Ashworth (left), Dean David Saunders and Pamela Murphy

For one QSB scholar, consumers’ reaction to perceived mistreatment is a source of great fascination. For another, it is the psychological aspect of fraud that keeps the research fires burning.

The questions they ask may differ, but what Professors Laurence Ashworth and Pamela Murphy do share is a passion for business research and a special honour from their Queen’s peers. At a ceremony held December 2, Laurence received QSB’s 2009 Award for Research Achievement, while Pamela took home the School’s 2009 New Researcher Achievement Award.

Laurence – an Assistant Professor in Marketing who joined QSB in 2003 – discovered different routes by which unfair treatment can have a strong impact on a consumer’s self-esteem. “I find fairness intrinsically interesting, partly because most people have the experience of being treated unfairly by stores. What always got me was the strength of those reactions, the feelings of injustice inspired even in trivial cases. I wanted to figure out what was going on.”

Assistant Professor in Marketing Pamela Murphy, who joined the School in 2007, is a fitting recipient of the QSB’s New Researcher Achievement Award, which recognizes a pre-tenured faculty member’s contribution to new knowledge. Her research, which grew from her involvement in the business world as an auditor, controller, marketing manager, and management consultant, is focused on identifying how people rationalize unethical behaviour.

Dean David Saunders congratulates Bob Cavanagh, Director of QSB’s Information Technology department, at his retirement reception in August. Bob devoted 25 years to Queen’s, first with the University’s central IT department before he joined QSB in 2000. Colleagues and friends paid tribute with heartfelt thanks and some good-natured ribbing.She runs experiments with students in networked computer labs to show the role rationalization plays in committing fraud. “I love getting people into experiments and looking at what they do,” she says. “Humans truly fascinate me, and they rarely do everything I think they will. That’s what keeps us going as researchers.”

The award program is administered by an ad hoc committee of QSB professors who consider the research achievements of their peers. In addition to the recognition, recipients receive grants to support their research and facilitate its dissemination through journals and other quality publications.

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