Our Story

As behavioral science continues to evolve the expanded studies of human decision-making, it is important that researchers recognize what drives consumer actions and reactions in today’s market place. The Carolan Research Institute (CRI) has been established to further explore everyday consumer actions within the framework of Dr. Geraldine Fennell’s ideas.


carolan-research The CRI was founded by the late Geraldine Fennell, a visiting faculty researcher at UTSA from 2007-2013. Dr. Fennell, who died in 2014, was an accomplished marketing practitioner and academic researcher. In her earlier career, she worked for Unilever and J. Walter Thompson and receiver her Ph.D. in social psychology from City University of New York. Her work was published in numerous marketing journals and conference proceedings including the Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Marketing Letters, Journal of Advertising Research, and Motivation and Emotion. She set up the CRI to be an endowed source of funds for doctoral student and faculty research in marketing.

Dr. Joel SaegertDr. Joel Saegert worked with Dr. Geraldine Fennell as a researcher and colleague from 1980 until her death in 2014, publishing numerous papers with her that deal with her models of customer wants and desires as the basis for marketing strategy.

Dr. Saegert was Professor of Marketing at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He received his PhD in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1970 and taught marketing at UTSA from 1976 to 2014. He published papers in a number of marketing and psychology journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. He is past president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and a member of the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association. He retired from UTSA after 37 years of service and worked actively as a trustee for the CRI.

Supporting Top-Tier Research

The CRI has funded proposals at various universities in the US and abroad. Some of the recent publications that have emerged from past funded projects include:

  • Allen, B. J., Deepa Chandrasekaran, and Suman Basuroy. (2018). “Design crowdsourcing: The impact on new product performance of sourcing design solutions from the “Crowd”.” Journal of Marketing, 82(2), 106-123.
  • Lalwani, Ashok K. and Jessie J Wang (2019). “How Do Consumers’ Cultural Backgrounds and Values Influence Their Coupon Proneness?: A Multi-Method Investigation,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45(9), 1037-1050.
  • Park, Hanyong, Ashok K. Lalwani, and David H. Silvera. (2019). “The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Price-quality Judgments,” Journal of Consumer Research.
  • Pena‐Marin, J. and Ruomen Wu. (2019). Disconfirming Expectations: Incorrect Imprecise (vs. Precise) Estimates Increase Source Trustworthiness and Consumer Loyalty. Journal of Consumer Psychology29(4), 623-641.

CRI Executive Board

President: Merry Saegert, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President: Hector E. Bajac, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President: Robert J Hoover, Ph.D.

CRI Evaluation Committee

Ishani Banerji, Ph.D. (Proposal Consultant)

Dr. Ishani Banerji is Assistant Professor at the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. She joined the faculty of the Department of Marketing at the College of Business at the University of Texas San Antonio in 2015 where she met Dr. Saegert. Before joining UTSA, she was the Research Director for the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University.

Her key research interests are in social influence, embodiment, and culture. In particular, she has focused on how interpersonal communication (particularly word of mouth) and socioeconomic status can influence consumer behavior. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Ph.D., Indiana University (2013); M.A., Wake Forest University (2008); B.A. Denison University (2006).

Hector E. Bajac, Ph.D.

Dr. Bajac is Professor of Marketing and Assistant Dean at the School of Communications at Universidad ORT Uruguay. For the twenty three years he was the Head of the Marketing Department at the same university, where he was also the Director of the MBA program.

He received his Ph.D. from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, a Master of Science in Marketing and an MBA from Texas A&M University and is a Certified Public Accountant from the Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.

His academic career was pursued in parallel to a management career. He was CEO at CABA, a Uruguayan firm in the alcoholic beverage industry, Commercial Director at Diageo Uruguay, the world leader in spirits, and Head of the Consulting Department at KPMG Uruguay. During two consecutive terms, he was President at the Chamber of Advertisers in Uruguay.

Dr. Bajac was an invited professor at Idaho State University, ESADE Spain, Universidad Politécnica, Spain and Universidad de Chile, and a speaker at University of Texas, San Antonio and Texas A&M, Corpus Christi. He also was an in-company trainer for firms in Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and England.

He is a reviewer for the journal ACADEMIA and has received the Outstanding Teaching Award from Idaho State University and from Universidad ORT Uruguay. He was granted scholarships from the Organization of American States and the Rotary Foundation.

His area of academic interest is consumer behavior and its relationship with brand building. He has conducted several studies based on the framework developed by Dr. Geraldine Fennel.

Robert J. Hoover, Ph.D.

Dr. Hoover was Professor of Marketing in the College of Business at Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho and Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. His International Business background spans some three decades as Entrepreneur, Researcher, Teacher and Consultant. His work has included involvement in Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Uruguay, France, Portugal, Finland, Morocco, New Zealand, and Ireland. He was a member of the Academy of International Business, the International Trade and Finance Association and The Business Association of Latin American Studies.

His research and teaching interests center on Strategic Marketing Decision Making, specifically Segmentation Strategies, in the Global Marketplace. His research has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Global Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Education Review, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and NAFTA: Law and Business Review of the Americas among others.

He was Project Director for the Internationalization through Resource Integration Business and International Education Program Grant of the US Department of Education at Idaho State University. In Spring 2005, Dr. Hoover was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Uruguay. Dr. Hoover holds the BBA, MBA and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to ISU, Dr Hoover has taught at The University of Denver, Texas A&I University, Corpus Christi State University, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, The University of the Americas – San Jose, Costa Rica, Universidad ORT – Montevideo, Uruguay, Universidad CUDEC – Queretaro, Mexico, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M International University and the Helsinki School of Economics.

Ashok Lalwani, Ph.D.

Ashok is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington. Ashok was on the faculty in the Department of Marketing at UTSA from 2006 to 2011. During this period, he had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Joel Saegert (who was also on the faculty) and engage in intellectual discussions with Dr. Geraldine Fennell (who was a visiting faculty member for some of that time). He fondly remembers the stimulating discussions and interactions with both Joel and Geraldine, and is grateful for their friendship and mentorship.

Ashok’s research focuses on the role played by cultural factors in shaping consumers’ judgments, behaviors, and responses. Another research stream examines biases in consumers’ price perceptions.  Ashok has published more 30 articles in scholarly journals such as Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. Ashok has won numerous awards for his research and teaching.  He is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Award for Research Achievement, and the Dean’s Research Excellence Award, both at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His co-authored paper titled “The Horizontal/Vertical Distinction in Cross-Cultural Consumer Research” was one of the top 20 most cited articles in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2006-2011. He was also on the list of excellent instructors (top 10% campus-wide rated as outstanding) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is the recipient of the Board of Trustees Teaching Award at Indiana University, as well as the Kelley School of Business Associate Professor Research Award.

Ph.D., University of Illinois (2006); M.S, University of Florida (2002); M.S., National University of Singapore (1998); B. Tech. (Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology (1994).