In an effort to teach future managers how to empower their employees, Wichita State University will open the nation's academic center devoted to market-based management, school officials announced Friday.

Starting in January 2007 at the W. Frank Barton School of Business, the Market-Based Management Center will provide MBA students a classroom setting supplemented by interactions with executives at Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based firm that owns companies in industries ranging from commodities trading to chemical manufacturing.

“The new center will provide an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about Koch Industries' unique management philosophy and give students, entrepreneurs, educators, and government officials the chance to learn from its successes and failures," Melissa Cohlmia, Koch's communications director, said in a statement. 

Market-based management refers to a style of decentralized decision-making -- encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship from every employee. Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch coined the phrase, and has employed the technique in growing his company into the world's second-largest privately held firm.

“It fits extremely well with the Barton School’s mission in preparing students for the global entrepreneurial marketplace,” said John Beehler, dean of the Barton School, who hopes the center can become a leader of market-based management principles and attract scholars interested in experimental economics from around the world.