“Business for a Better World” Dissertation Proposal Competition

Colorado State University

  • Nicole Davis, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

Dissertation title: “Do consumers respond positively to all representations of diversity in marketing?”

  • Angie Fairchild, UNC Kenan-Flager Business School

Dissertation title: “Essays on corporate climate change mitigation”

  • Kristie Moergen, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas

Dissertation title: “Same and cross-class interactions during employment interviews”

are the 3 winners of the 2022 Business for a Better World” Dissertation Proposal Competition.

The Colorado State University College of Business will give each of these scholars $6,000 to continue their work, and present their research during the Business for a Better World Research Symposium on Sept. 23. 


Endorsed by Responsible Research in Business & Management (RRBM) and consistent with RRBM’s vision, the College of Business at Colorado State University is providing funding for dissertation proposals addressing business sustainability. We seek proposals from students across all business disciplines. The authors of the three proposals judged to have the greatest potential for enhancing societal well-being will each receive $6000. In addition, the winners along with leading scholars whose research is aimed at creating a better world, will be invited to participate in a virtual research workshop during which the winners will present their research.

To be eligible, proposals must focus on one or more environmental and/or social outcomes of business. Applicable areas of inquiry (stated in broad terms) include, but are not limited to:

  • ESG strategy and organizational purpose
  • Natural capital
  • Circular economic systems
  • Greenhouse gasses
  • Conservation
  • Resource extraction
  • Pollution
  • Climate change
  • Transparency, integrity, and trust
  • Health and safety
  • Poverty and insecurity
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Marketplace discrimination
  • Marginalized communities
  • Financial wellbeing
  • Maladaptive behavior and addiction
  • Technology and wellbeing

Eligibility is limited to those who are pursuing a doctorate in a business discipline and whose dissertation research at the time of submission to this competition is less than 50% complete.

Proposals must be no longer than 20 pages in length and adhere to the following structure:


Identify the problem you are studying and its societal significance. In doing so, illuminate how the research addresses an important gap in current knowledge and the helpfulness of the findings. The introduction must describe how the research contributes to understanding and practicing business in a sustainable manner. Thus, in addition to considering the economic priorities of business, the research must have strong social and/or environmental business implications.


This section of the proposal must detail the methods that will be utilized. Clarity, accessibility, and detail are critical such that reviewers gain an understanding of how the research will be executed. This section should be well organized and presented in a sequence that is easy to follow; use headings and subheadings. Figures and tables (preferably embedded within the text) should be used to complement the text and provide important details. Use clear descriptions of concepts while including highly technical material in appendices. Given page limits, make sure to include the information that is most critical in gaining a complete understanding of the research approach. From your description, it should be evident how the research design follows the principles of responsible research to enhance both the credibility and usefulness of the research findings. (See the RRBM position paper for a description of the seven principles of responsible research.) Applicable theory and references to papers providing strong precedence for methodological approaches should be included; however, space constraints will not permit a review of the literature.

Conclusion and Managerial Implications

Explain how your work helps advance understanding of your subject and creates new opportunities for practitioners and researchers. The conclusion should answer these questions: How might your findings and interpretations affect and alter strategies, behavior, and practices in companies? What are the limitations of your study, and what aspects of your topic need further study? What is the next step for practitioners and researchers?


All text citations should be fully listed as references at the end of the paper. Follow the reference style used by the academic journals in your discipline.

File Submission

Dissertation proposal summaries should be submitted via separate pdf files:

      1. Title page
      2. Abstract
      3. Main proposal with references, tables, figures, and appendices – 12-point font, double-spaced, left-justified, 1-inch margins, numbered pages (limited to 20 pages total excluding the title page and abstract).
      4. An introductory letter from the student’s advisor confirming that the proposed dissertation research is no more than 50% complete.


Proposals must be submitted via B4BWDissertation[at]colostate.edu by June 3, 2022 (11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time).


The review process will be managed by an interdisciplinary team of business faculty at Colorado State University’s College of Business. Proposals will be reviewed via a double-blind process by experienced scholars.

Funding decisions will be announced by August 1, 2022. Winners will present their proposals during a workshop on Friday, September 23, 2022.


Please contact competition co-chairs Chris Blocker (chris.blocker[at]colostate.edu) or Samantha Conroy (samanatha.conroy[at]colostate.edu)