Faculty & Research

John R. Olson

Professor and Department Chair : Operations and Supply Chain Management Department

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John Olson is a professor in the Operations and Supply Chain Management Department. He teaches in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the Opus College of Business. His teaching focus has been on helping both students and companies implement effective quality management programs and making better decisions using data. Before teaching at the University of St Thomas, he was a faculty member in the Department of Management at DePaul University, where he won the department of management teaching award.

As a faculty member of the Opus College of Business, his teaching, research and service activities have focused on helping others develop and implement continuous improvement and quality programs. Over the past 10 years, he has worked with several Fortune 500 companies and health care organizations on their strategic planning process, metric setting and the implementation of quality and continuous improvement programs. In addition to his academic credentials, he holds a master black belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Olson's current research is focused on quality management and continuous improvement in health care systems. Prior to his work in health care, he focused primarily on supply chain issues surrounding e-commerce systems. His research has appeared in many leading operations management journals including: Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, European Journal of Operations Research, Interfaces and several others. His research in health care has been featured in Health Service Research, International Journal of Medical Informatics and Quality Management Journal. Olson has co-authored two books, including one of the first textbooks related to operations management in health care (Healthcare Operations Management, 2nd ed.).


Academic Background

B.A., University of Minnesota
M.B.A., St. Cloud State University
Ph.D., University of Nebraska

Research Specialties

  • Global operations management
  • Impact of e-commerce on operations management
  • Information sharing in the supply chain
  • Implementation of health care initiatives
  • Use of quality programs in health care settings

Current Research

  • Effect of Lean Six Sigma on governmental health care programs
  • Operational analysis of public and privately-run health care program

Major Works

  • McLaughlin, D. B. and J. R. Olson. Healthcare Operations Management, 2nd edition. Healthcare Administration Press, 2012.
  • Olson, John R., James Belohlav and Lori Cook, "A Rasch Model Analysis of Technology Usage in Minnesota Hospitals," International Journal of Medical Informatics (2012).
  • Behohlay, J., L Cook, J. R. Olson, D. Drehmer, "Core Values in Hospitals: A Comparative Study," Quality Management Journal 17:4 (2010).
  • Olson, J. R., J. Hays, J. Belohlav and L. Cook, "Examining Quality Improvement Programs: The Case of Minnesota Hospitals," Health Services Research 43:5 (2008): 1787-1830.
  • Olson, J. R., J. Belohlav, L. Hartman and R. Rubin, "The Quandary of Serving Multiple Masters: An Institutional Exploratory Analysis of Publishing in Business Law," Midwest Law Review 20 (2006): 1-22.
  • Olson, J. R. and L. Cook, "The Sky's the Limit: An Activity for Teaching Project Management: An Experiential Learning Activity," Journal Of Management Education 30 (2006): 404-420.
  • Olson, J. R. and K. Boyer, "Internet Ticketing in a Not-For-Profit, Service Business: Building Customer Loyalty," International Journal Of Operations And Production Management 25:1 (2005): 74-93.
  • Olson, John, J. Belohlav and K. Boyer, "Operational, Economic and Mission Elements in Not-For-Profit Organizations: A Case of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra," Journal of Operations Management 25:3 (2005): 125-143.
  • Olson, John and K. Boyer, "Internet Ticketing in a Not-For-Profit, Service Business: Building Customer Loyalty," International Journal of Operations and Production Management 25:1 (2005): 74-93.
  • Olson, John, M. Schniederjans and Q. Cao, "Consumer Perceptions of Product Quality: Made in China," Quality Management Journal 11:3 (2004): 8-19.  
  • Olson, John and K. Boyer, "Factors Influencing the Utilization of Internet Purchasing in Small Organizations," Journal of Operations Management 21:2 (2002): 225-245.
  • Olson, John and K. Boyer, "Drivers of Internet Purchasing Success," Production and Operations Management 11:4 (2002): 480-498.

Significant and Scholarly and Professional Honors

  • Best paper award, Midwest Law Review, V20, pp 1-22.