Entrepreneurship professor, alumna publish paper in Organizational Dynamics
Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship Sean McMahon and Elon alumna Laura Orr ’16 researched if readers of popular business books perceived the books to be sources of authoritative information, compared to their actual quality.
Sean McMahon, Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Laura Orr ’16, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, waded through more than one thousand pages of text from popular business books to analyze the sources of the claims the authors make.
The duo’s collaborative research was published in the 2017 edition of the journal Organizational Dynamics. Their paper is titled, “Pop psychology? Searching for evidence, real or perceived, in bestselling business books.”
The co-authors examined books from two major best-selling lists, the New York Times and USA Today, and then gathered reader reviews from Amazon.com for each book.
They found that although many readers consider the popular business books to be authoritative, the books are actually filled with frequent low-fidelity knowledge, or claims that are not backed with evidence-based sources.
Orr is the ninth recipient of the Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership, and received support for undergraduate research from The Martha and Spencer Love Foundation. Orr now works as an associate relationship manager at Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, North Carolina.
McMahon joined Elon in 2013. His research has been published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. He is the founder of Knowtro.com, an open platform that makes complex research easy to find, cite and use. Previously, McMahon co-founded Jaywalk, a platform for unbiased investment research that was acquired by The Bank of New York in 2002.
Organizational Dynamics is a publication focused primarily on organizational behavior and development and secondarily human resource management and strategic management.