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Fox PhD candidate Mike Obal wins 2013 Robert Robicheaux Dissertation Proposal Award


June 5th, 2014

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Mike Obal, a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School of Business, recently won the 2013 Robert Robicheaux Dissertation Proposal Award from the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA).

“It’s just really exciting to win an international award,” he said. “I know that it’s the type of award that people from various countries compete for, so it’s nice to get that recognition from a reputable, external organization.”

Those who had meritorious dissertation proposals with a research focus in supply chain management or business-to-business marketing were encouraged to apply for the award from SMA. Proposals were evaluated through a blind-review format. SMA, a premier marketing association, hosts an annual conference that brings together marketing educators and professionals from throughout the United States and abroad. It currently has members from 34 countries.

Obal’s dissertation examines the adoption and acceptance of disruptive technologies within firms. Disruptive technologies are a type of technology that starts as a niche product but falls short of a primary technology. Over time, this type of technology improves to the point that it actually replaces the primary technology, therefore disrupting the market.

“However, predicting what technologies will be disruptive and which ones won’t has been a long-standing issue in marketing, management information systems and other fields,” Obal said.

He specifically studied cloud computing and how firms are deciding whether to move away from more traditional software in favor of cloud computing platforms.

Obal was drawn to this type of research because he saw an opportunity to fill gaps in academic literature and a lack of understanding of key technologies, such as cloud computing, from a practitioner’s standpoint. Companies that consider purchasing this type of technology consistently have issues in determining who to buy the products from and what to look for in cloud-computing packages.

“It’s this realistic sort of issue that firms don’t necessarily have a straight answer for,” Obal said.

In February 2013, Obal completed his dissertation proposal, titled “Analyzing the Roles of Buyers, Suppliers and Employees on the Adoption of Disruptive Technology.” As part of the SMA recognition, he won a trip to Hilton Head, S.C., where he will receive a $500 award.

Obal’s research interests also include trust development in online marketplaces, the usage of online interpersonal ties in purchasing decisions and the role of interorganizational relationships on technology adoption.

Obal has published in Industrial Marketing Management, the Journal of Service Management and the International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. He has also presented at conferences — including the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS), and the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) — and represented Temple at the 2012 AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium.

Before coming to the Fox School, Obal was an instructor of business and coordinator for the Community Center for Entrepreneurship at Bunker Hill Community College. He has also worked as a search-marketing specialist at iProspect, a sales manager at the Boston Beer Company and a graduate assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Obal obtained an MBA in marketing from UMass Boston and a BS in marketing from Syracuse University. –Alexis Wright-Whitley

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