Hello! My name is Alan Benson. I am an Assistant Professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota– Twin Cities. I teach Coursera’s module on Rewarding Employees, which is part of the certificate Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers. I received my PhD from the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where my dissertation advisors were David Autor (MIT Economics) and Paul Osterman (MIT Sloan). I received my Bachelor's degree from the ILR School at Cornell University. I am also on the Graduate Faculty of Minnesota's Department of Applied Economics and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC), and am a member of the Social Media and Business Analytics Collaborative (SOBACO). My research is in personnel economics, a branch of labor economics that concerns employment issues within firms. I work with companies to analyze their compensation plans, incentives, and staffing practices for the primary purpose of improving organizational performance. I've done research with salespeople, police, firefighters, nurses, and manufacturing workers, and my research has been covered by national news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NBC News, PBS Newshour, LA Times, Deseret, the Baltimore Sun, and others. Here are some recent projects: Using "Big Data" to Improve Organizational Performance. I'm working with a company that provides sales performance management software over the cloud to bring microeconomic methods to data science. A sample research question: "Do the best salespeople tend to make the best sales managers? If not, who does?" Working with Companies. I also work with individual companies to analyze the effectiveness of their incentives, staffing, and retention programs. A sample research question: "How effective are manufacturing plants' incentives to reduce defect rates?" My teaching outside of Coursera includes or has included compensation and benefits, statistics, management, business economics, and negotiations for undergraduates, MBAs, HR Masters, executives, and doctoral students.
Human Resources Management Capstone: HR for People Managers