Doctoral dissertations by business candidates net top honors for investigating sustainable technologies worldwide & demystifying the context of ‘cool’

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KINGSTON, R.I., Sept. 25, 2013 — Two College of Business Administration doctoral candidates at the University of Rhode Island have earned top international honors for their dissertations.

Bogdan Prokopovych, a visiting assistant professor, received the Emerald Best International Dissertation Award from the Academy of Management’s International Theme Committee last month. Prokopovych’s dissertation, which explores creating new markets for sustainable technologies and services, was selected from four finalists that included dissertations from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and Pennsylvania State University.

Gerry Matos, a doctoral candidate who is teaching marketing communications this semester at the College of Business Administration, was awarded the American Marketing Association Foundation Valuing Diversity Ph.D. Scholarship. A first generation Puerto Rican American who lives in North Kingstown, Matos is part of a nationwide effort called The Ph.D. Project, which aims to increase the diversity of corporate America by increasing the diversity of business school faculty. His dissertation will focus on the context of “cool” in our culture.

Prokopovych collected data in three countries: Tajikistan, focusing on a market for small-scale renewable energy systems; Germany for bio energy; and the United States for environmental services in the shellfish industry. The College of Business provided resources for him to present his work at management conferences where he gained significant feedback from leading scholars in his field.

Prokopovych, who is originally from Ukraine and lives in Boston, teaches courses in strategic management, business and society, and entrepreneurship. A former Kauffman Dissertation Fellow and URI Coastal Institute IGERT Fellow, Prokopovych thanked the College of Business for supporting his research and writing, and he praised URI as “an environment very conductive for doing dissertation research.” He completed his Ph.D. last year.

The College also supported Matos with funds to attend international conferences. His dissertation is on the construct of “cool,” which he said historically has been tied to African-American culture. Matos was a senior executive vice president at New Era, a brand best known as the official cap for Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Part of his research will explore the phenomenon of brands using minority populations to create a sense of cool among majority populations and the tensions that arise over time.

“The theory of cool, historically, is something is cool until it becomes popular then the people who made it cool move on,” he said. “But some brands still maintain that cool. What makes and keeps brands cool?”

His research will include interviews with advertising, public relations, and brand insiders or “the purveyors of cool” as well as consumers and the media. He expects to finish the dissertation and graduate in 2015.