Dr. Coughlan joined the faculty in 1985. Dr. Coughlan's main research interests are in the areas of distribution channels, sales force management and compensation, and pricing. Current research projects include optimal management of multi-level marketing distribution channels; sales force diversification and optimal group incentive payments; drivers and management of sales force turnover; measuring compliance, monitoring, and enforcement of MAP policies; and wardrobing and optimal open-box retail sales. Her work on "Direct Selling Distributors: Why Do They Stay or Leave?" won the best doctoral-student paper award at the 2017 Global Sales Science Institute conference; it is joint research with Prof. Manfred Krafft of University of Muenster and Julian Allendorf, a Ph.D. student at University of Muenster.
Dr. Coughlan is a co-author of the book, A Field Guide to Channel Strategy: Building Routes to Market (with Sandy Jap), and was the lead author of Marketing Channels (a Prentice-Hall textbook) through its seventh edition. She serves on the Senior Advisory Board of the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, and is Editor in Chief of the SSRN Marketing Research Network and of its Quantitative Marketing e-Journal and the Marketing Science e-Journal. She is a Research Fellow of the Direct Selling Educational Foundation and an Institute of Marketing Research Fellow of the University of Muenster, Germany. She has served as an Associate Editor and editorial board member of the journal Marketing Science, and on the editorial boards of Journal of Marketing and Journal of Retailing.
For her excellence in teaching, Dr. Coughlan was the recipient of the school's Executive Master's Program Teacher of the Year Award for the best elective course in 1996 and again in 2003, as well as receiving the Sidney J. Levy Teaching Award in 2000-01. She teaches classes on distribution channel strategies at the MBA and executive MBA levels, and on quantitative models in marketing at the doctoral level.
Coughlan received her Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University. Prior to her appointment at Kellogg, she was a professor at the business school of the University of Rochester; she was a Visiting Professor of Marketing at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France in 1997-98.