Meet SMU DataArts' New Donna Wilhelm Research Fellows

Nov, 16 2018 / In /

Dr. Michael Braun, associate professor of marketing and Corrigan Research Professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business, and Dr. Daniel M. Cable, professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, have been named the new Donna Wilhelm Research Fellows at SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research.

SMU DataArts compiles and analyzes data on arts organizations and their communities nationwide and develops free reports on important issues in arts management and patronage, with the goal of helping arts and cultural leaders make more informed decisions and improve the health of their organizations.

The Wilhelm fellowship, an annual, one-year appointment, was launched in 2015 through the efforts of Dallas philanthropist and civic leader Donna Wilhelm. That year Wilhelm provided a $500,000 challenge grant that raised a total of $1 million for SMU DataArts’ research, programs and services, including endowment of the new fellowship.

Dr. Cable, who began his fellowship in August, is working with the SMU DataArts research team on the connection between workforce diversity, perceptions of well-being related to work, perceptions of psychological safety at work, and organizational performance. Dr. Braun, who began his fellowship in October, is working with the team to examine two topics: the impact of tax-law changes on charitable contributions, and customer relationship management strategies in the nonprofit arts field.

“We are very fortunate to have these two world-class scholars working with us,” said Dr. Glenn Voss, research director of SMU DataArts. “Dan is a thought-leader in the area of organizational culture and change and Michael is a leading expert in modeling customer behavior. I am really excited about the insights we are going to generate working with the two exceptional scholars.”

Daniel Cable earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University and has taught at London Business School since 2010. His research and teaching focus on employee engagement, change, organizational culture, leadership mindset, and the linkage between brands and employee behaviors. He was recently selected for the international 2018 Thinkers50 Radar List. The Academy of Management has twice honored him with “best article” awards, and The Academy of Management Perspectives ranked him among the “Top 25 most influential management scholars.” He is the author of Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce (Prentice Hall, 2007); Alive at Work (Harvard Business Review Press, 2018); and more than 50 articles in top scientific journals. His research has been featured in numerous major news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times and Business Week.

“I’m thrilled to be appointed as a Wilhelm Fellow with SMU DataArts,” said Dr. Cable. “I look forward to conducting research on helping arts organizations find ways to increase creativity and help employees and members get more living out of life!”

Michael Braun earned his Ph.D. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at SMU since 2013. The core of his research is the statistical analysis of large and complex customer databases, with an emphasis on customer lifetime value, advertising effectiveness and public policy issues. He has written on, spoken on, and taught about management topics such as sales forecasting, customer retention and valuation, marketing ROI, social networking models, segmentation and targeting strategies, online advertising and insurance decisions.  Professor Braun’s work has been published in top academic publications such as Marketing Science, Management Science and the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and he is a member of the Marketing Science Editorial Review Board.

“SMU is developing rapidly as a premier research center for business applications of customer analytics, and SMU DataArts provides a way to bring that expertise into the nonprofit arena,” said Dr. Braun. “Arts organizations can benefit from the same analytical methods that have become popular elsewhere in the economy. I am looking forward to studying how recent innovations in statistical methods can be used to improve the long-term viability of the arts in the U.S.”

The inaugural NCAR Wilhelm Fellow was the late Dr. Richard Briesch, a professor of marketing in the Cox School, who was instrumental in creating SMU DataArts’ spatial model and its KIPI Dashboard. The dashboard is an online tool that allows arts organizations to find out how their companies are performing compared to similar organizations, what they are doing well and where improvements could be made – and giving them tools and resources to help make those improvements. The second fellow was Dr. Ernan Haruvy, professor of marketing at UT-Dallas, whose research focused on the effect of competition on innovation and performance in the performing arts.

About SMU DataArts

In August 2018, SMU announced the merger of its National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), a leading provider of evidence-based insights on the nonprofit arts and cultural industry, with DataArts, the respected Philadelphia-based resource for in-depth data about U.S. nonprofit arts, culture and humanities organizations. The mission of this combined entity is to empower arts and cultural leaders with high-quality data and evidence-based resources and insights that help them to overcome challenges and increase impact.

Since its founding in 2012, NCAR has integrated national data on arts organizations and their communities to provide evidence-based insights and tools to arts leaders as well as groundbreaking research on the impact and viability of the nonprofit cultural industry. NCAR’s research is available free of charge to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers and the general public. Recent publications include white papers on ways to improve working capital health, dispelling the myth that the arts are elitist, and diversity and equity in the arts, as well as reports on the health of the U.S. arts and cultural sector.

DataArts, a nonprofit organization originally incubated within The Pew Charitable Trusts, created and manages the widely used Cultural Data Profile, an annually updated national data set covering the financial and programmatic activity of 12,000 U.S. cultural nonprofits. Data and insights drawn from the Cultural Data Profile are used by grantmakers to steward their investments; by research institutions such as SMU to identify trends and develop findings about the sector; and by cultural institutions to improve their financial and programmatic operations.

SMU DataArts integrates the strengths and capabilities of both organizations, which have been closely collaborating since 2012. NCAR’s research expertise, its partnerships with other data providers, and the resources of a major research university are now combined with DataArts’ existing data collection platform and relationships with arts organizations and grantmakers. SMU DataArts aims to make data useful and accessible to all in the arts and culture field, illuminating strengths, challenges and opportunities for individual arts organizations and for the sector as a whole, to help ensure long-term stability.