OSCM Distinguished Scholars

Each year our Division bestows a Distinguished Scholar Award to a leading global scholar in our community. This award is intended to serve a dual purpose. The first is to honor distinguished leaders in the field of operations and supply chain management scholarship. Second, the award helps define the unique position of the OSCM division at the Academy of Management within the larger field of OSCM scholars. The award has two primary criteria:
1. to recognize commitment to serve the operations and supply chain field, both as a whole and within the Academy of Management, and
2. to honor scholarly excellence which has helped to shape both the field’s body of knowledge and practice.

The OSCM division promotes research on important and broad problems, with a focus on empirical research that is often cross-disciplinary. The Distinguished Scholar award offers an opportunity to highlight, define and honor scholars that emphasize this focus.

2023 OSCM Distinguished Scholar Award
John Gray (Ohio State University) and Stephan Wagner (ETH Zürich)

Award Winner

John Gray

John Gray is a Dean’s Distinguished Professor of operations and business analytics. He joined Fisher after receiving his PhD from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Prior to pursuing his PhD, he worked for eight years in operations management at Procter & Gamble, receiving an MBA from Wake Forest University’s evening program during that time. He holds two undergraduate degrees from Dartmouth College and its Thayer School of Engineering.

Dr. Gray teaches/has taught an elective he created called Strategic Global Sourcing (at the Ph.D., Executive, MBA, and undergraduate levels) and Data Analysis (at the Ph.D., Executive, and MBA levels); he has won a college teaching award for each class. A student project from his elective led to a co-authored case (Scotts Miracle-Gro: The Spreader Sourcing Decision) that has been widely adopted, earning the title of an “Ivey Classic”. He serves as academic co-director of the new Master of Supply Chain Management program at Fisher, and also serves as academic director the college’s Ph.D. programs.

Dr. Gray’s research has been published in top multi-disciplinary management journals, including Decision Sciences, Management Science and Organization Science; and top operations and supply chain journals, including the Journal of Operations Management, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, and Production and Operations Management. His research has received several awards, the Jack Meredith Best Paper award from the Journal of Operations Management and the Emerald Citations of Excellence award which recognizes the most impactful articles across a wide range of journals. Two of his papers were awarded the OM Division's Chan Hahn best paper award at the Academy of Management conference. Within Fisher, he was named to the inaugural class of Dean’s Faculty Fellows, a distinction he held from 2014-2017. 

He has also received substantial external funding, including being co-PI of a $1.7 million two-year contract with the FDA awarded from October 2019-September 2021. He has also served as a Department Editor at the Journal of Operations Management and a Senior Editor at the Production and Operations Management journal. He is Vice President and President-Elect of the Industry Studies Association; for which we served as conference chair for its 2023 conference in Columbus.

In August 2022, he began a part-time role as a consultant for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) of the United States. He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related to pharmaceutical supply chains.

He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related to pharmaceutical supply chains He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related to pharmaceutical supply He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advisin chains


Stephan Wagner 

Stephan M. Wagner is a Professor of Supply Chain Management, holds the Chair of Logistics Management, and is the Founder and Director of the HumOSCM Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland. From 2008 to 2019 he was Director of the Executive MBA in Supply Chain Management. Prior he served on the faculty of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany, and worked for 10 years as head of supply chain management for a Swiss-based technology group and as senior manager for an international top-management consulting firm. He obtained an MBA from Washington State University and a Ph.D. and Habilitation degree from the University of St. Gallen.

Stephan is most known for his work at the intersection of entrepreneurship and operations management, on supplier innovation, on the role of digital technologies in supply chains, and his ‘early’ work on supply chain risk and disruption. The latter received much attention in the past three years. It was taken up by scholars for their research on supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19 and geopolitical tensions. 

He is the author and editor of 13 books and over 150 book chapters and articles. He published empirical OSCM research in general management journals such as Academy of Management Journal or Journal of Management, OM journals such as Journal of Operations Management or Production and Operations Management, and practice journals such as California Management Review or Interfaces. Furthermore, his work has appeared in leading methods journals, such as Organizational Research Methods or Sociological Methods and Research. Newspapers such as the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal reported about his work. For his research, he attracted substantial amounts of funding and competitive grants and won or was a finalist for numerous research awards. Most recently he was the winner of the Journal of Supply Chain Management Best Paper Award (2020) and the Journal of Business Logistics Best Paper Award (2022). Several of his Ph.D. students were finalists or winners of the Academy of Management OSCM Division Best Student Paper Award.

To date, Stephan’s work has received more than 20,000 citations according to Google Scholar (h = 70) and more than 7.500 citations according to Web of Science (Core Collection) (h = 48). Furthermore, according to Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators, several of his articles are “Highly Cited Papers” in the fields of Economics & Business respectively Engineering, placing them in the top 1%, and one article is a “New Hot Paper”, placing it in the top 0.1% of the academic field.

With the foundation of the Humanitarian Operations and Supply Chain Management (HumOSCM) Lab at ETH Zurich in 2019 (www.HumOSCM.ethz.ch), Stephan has emphasized his ambitions to create policy and society impact. He supports humanitarian organizations, such as the World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Ministry of Health in Uganda to optimize their supply chains and last-mile-operations.


Our warmest congratulations, John and Stephan, on winning our division’s Distinguished Scholar Award! What made you take a job in academia?

John Gray: I thought about it during my undergraduate years where I was an engineer but found the prospect of living in a lab unappealing. Instead, I went to work in manufacturing and after a few years there decided to pursue an evening MBA at Wake Forest. Here, I found professors who seemed deeply engrossed in really interesting work (including Jack Meredith and Barb Flynn). Their narratives about their academic careers resonated with me, painting a picture of academia as a dynamic, impactful, and fulfilling profession. This, combined with the appeal of working on a college campus, led me to transition into academia after eight years at P&G.He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related to pharmaceutical supply chains He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related 


Stephan Wagner: Going into academia was not at all a strategic plan that I developed at some point and meticulously implemented. During my studies, in particular, at Washington State University in the mid-‘90s, I got involved in some research projects and teaching, and I liked it a lot. While I worked in banking, industry, and consulting for quite some time, I learnt a great deal about various aspects of business and management. Most of my work in practice was already in the fields of purchasing, logistics, supply chain, and operations. During that time, my desire to explore and transition into academia got stronger. Three factors were decisive. First, the stimulating academic environment and atmosphere. Second, the freedom to choose the topics I would like to work on and to set my own agenda. Third, the passion for scholarly research and student mentoring.

What were the defining moments in your career?

 John Gray: My career has been punctuated by several defining moments. Typical milestones such as passing comps, landing a job, and achieving tenure were undoubtedly significant. A particularly impactful phase was joining Ohio State, where I was surrounded by supportive colleagues and a culture of doing important, relevant, and rigorous work. My department chair, Peter Ward, assigned me an elective closely linked to my research. This merge of teaching and research greatly benefitted me, even if I didn't fully realize its importance at the time. Another pivotal moment came when I felt confident about attaining tenure, a few months before it happened. Getting tenure obviously reduced my overall stress quite a bit (if not my workload). Recently, being asked to take a consulting position with the White House felt like a defining moment.member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on issues related to pharmaceutical supply chains He is a member of the Pandemic Preparedness Team, advising them and others in the EOP on is

  Stephan Wagner: In my academic career, it was the two occasions where I received offers and took up professorships, first at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany, and subsequently at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. I often think that in both cases I was really lucky. And I am thankful to both institutions. I owe lots of thanks to several people who supported me in getting prepared to gain these positions, foremost my doctoral advisor. Another defining period – not really a “moment” – was when I decided to invest time and resources into work that might have more societal impact instead of research impact. This was when I started doing work in humanitarian operations and supply chain management. Given all the tensions, wars, and suffering around the world, this was the right decision. Another decisive moment was when I had to take up my new big admin job this summer. Now I have to do with the ETH Zurich presidents and vice presidents on a regular basis, mostly on topics around finances, leadership, strategy, or organizational matters. Will see where this moment leads me to.

What was your the most important lesson you would like to share with younger faculty?

John Gray: First, just to empathize that it can be, and was for me, at times a grueling journey with seemingly little to showcase for several years. Most, if not all, accomplished scholars faced uncertainties in their formative years, and still regularly face rejection. To persist in this challenging environment, the most important thing is to focus on problems about which you are really interested. Such an approach enables sustained motivation, allowing individuals to navigate inevitable obstacles with a sense of purpose. Further, even though each research paper might not revolutionize a field, collectively, they can significantly influence practice, scholarship, and policy. To summarize, my advice is to remain aware that everyone faces challenges, to work on genuinely intriguing problems, and to remember that cumulative efforts over time can lead to significant impact.

  Stephan Wagner: For the younger colleagues who are in doctoral programs or just get out of it, I think they should take risks. The European job market is somewhat different than the US job market. It means that in some countries the positions for assistant professors, or professors in general, are more limited. As a consequence, young colleagues should be open to considering positions in other countries, which comes along with many uncertainties, both professionally and personally. It is a fine line between taking up bold and innovative research that might lead to impactful research and staying close to one research problem that might result in good publications and ultimately tenure. Post-PhD, I recommend that young colleagues should pursue both. Only doing the second might be discouraging. Another advice is to network, network, network, … that is the most important and enjoyable part of our job.


Any fun facts about yourself? 

John Gray: While I do not have any particularly wild or unique fun facts (laughing), my wife and I adopted two children, aged 23 and 20 now. I played amateur baseball until the age of 30, and now play tennis, run, and do yoga. I enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and backpacking. I love college football, which I know is not unique but certainly is another reason Ohio State has been such a great place for me. One of my fun accomplishments is completing the Columbus Ale Trail four of the last five years; this entails visiting and enjoying a drink at each of the city's 40ish breweries and getting a stamp. My wife humorously refers to this as my "adult sticker chart"; for all that effort, for the last one I earned a poster. This year the prize is a tee shirt. It’s definitely about the journey!

  Stephan Wagner: Hmm, when it comes to fun, I immediately think of the mountains. Whenever I am above, say 3000 feet, I forget the problems and challenges I have with research and/or administrative issues. At the same time, I sometimes call these days my “strategy retreats”, maybe more as an excuse for myself that I spend a day in the mountains by myself or with like-minded friends. At ETH Zurich we have initiatives around “mental fitness”. They started during the Covid-19 pandemic. When I substitute the ‘mental’ part with ‘physical’ it is like a booster for my mental creativity and endurance.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, John and Stephan!

Past OSCM Distinguished Scholar Awards
2022   1. Dave Ketchen (Auburn University) / 2. Kevin Dooley (Arizona State University)

2021   Lutz Kaufmann, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management
Mark Pagell, University College Dublin
2019   Lisa Ellram, Miami University
2018   1. Craig Carter (Arizona State U.) / 2. Daniel R. Guide, Jr. (The Penn State U)

2017   Steven Melnyk (Michigan State U.)
2016   Kevin Lindermann (U. of Minnesota)
2015   Elliot Bendoly (Ohio State U.)
2014   Janet Hartley (Bowling Green State U.)
2013   Robert D. Klassen (Ivey School of Business)
2012   1. Tom Choi (Arizona State U.) / 2. Keong Leong (California State U.)
2011    Morgan Swink (Texas Christian U.)
2010    Ken Boyer (Ohio State U.)
2009    Ram Narasimhan (Michigan State U.)
2008    Chris Voss (London Business School)
2007    Peter Ward (Ohio State U.)
2006    Aleda Roth (Clemson U.)
2005    Barbara Flynn (Wake Forest U.)
2004    1. Richard Chase (U. Southern California) / 2. Roger Schroeder (U. Minnesota)
2003    1. Chan Hahn (Bowling Green U.) / 2. Jack Meredith (Wake Forest U.) / 3. Linda Sprague (China Europe International)