Bogotá, Colombia

According to the research findings of a professor from the Fox School, business ownership doesn’t always equate to entrepreneurship.

Dr. Kevin J. Fandl, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies in Business, and his coauthor, Juana Paola Bustamante of the International Finance Corporation, analyzed a law passed in 2010 in Colombia to assess the impact of business streamlining laws on small, gray market firms. The law aimed to convince owners of gray market or legally non-compliant firms to become part of the formal marketplace, which entails steps such as acquiring licenses, registering with the local chamber of commerce, complying with labor laws, and paying taxes.

They found that a majority of business owners in Colombia had no interest in becoming entrepreneurs and scaling their firms. Instead, they preferred to operate within informal markets as a means of generating enough capital to support their cost of living, and not much more. In fact, in most cases, these firms utilized informality as a market advantage, securing economic advantages by avoiding the very things that make firms formal, like taxes and labor costs. Fandl’s research paper, “Incentivizing Gray Market Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets,” was published in Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, the world’s top-ranked international trade law journal, according to Washington & Lee.

Colombia’s 2010 formalization law, Fandl explained, was an attempt by the country to streamline the process through which businesses registered with the government. The law offered these “shadow” businesses a transition period during which they would pay no taxes, registration fees, or contributions to the government for the social security and health of their employees. The costs eventually would be phased in, according to the law, allowing businesses to be more successful in the immediate term and contribute to employee benefits at a later date. But this approach was based on an economic theory that high costs are the principal barrier to business formalization, a theory that Fandl appears to debunk in some cases.

Kevin J. Fandl

Fandl’s study explored the level of informality exhibited within Colombian firms and found practically no significant change before or after the law was enacted. While some larger firms used the law as an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of formal operations at virtually no additional cost, most small firms targeted by the law chose to stay informal.

“The World Bank and a number of other institutions have studied this, and economists have generally concluded that firms operate informally as gray market firms, because it is too difficult or too expensive to formalize their operations,” says Fandl, who added that roughly 50 percent of firms in Latin America qualify as gray market firms. “It’s a huge problem, because, in essence, these firms are engaging in anti-competitive behavior that undercuts the formal market and allows them to lower their overhead costs, giving them an unfair advantage.”

Prior studies in this area relied heavily on anecdotal evidence, according to Fandl, and found that bureaucracy and escalating costs were cited as reasons for holding back owners of gray market firms, providing them with no incentives for registering their businesses. Fandl’s research, however, revealed the opposite.

“We found that while a few use the informal economy as a means to build businesses in a cost-effective manner, the majority of small firms operate informally only to accrue basic income. These inefficient firms are what we call ‘survivalist firms,'” he says. “They operate their firms to maintain a basic standard of living, and without the desire to become a successful entrepreneur.”

Since passing its 2010 law, Colombia and its Ministry of Commerce have developed pilot programs to educate the owners of these firms to become more entrepreneurial, teaching basic business skills such as accounting and management, helping them differentiate between strong and weak markets, offering mentorship, and providing collaborative opportunities with other survivalist firms. These efforts, Fandl says, are intended to find and spark the entrepreneurial spirit the Colombian government believes lies within some of these firm owners.

Fandl’s study concludes that there’s no single solution to Colombia’s efforts to legitimize its informal marketplace. The nation struggles to combat a high unemployment rate, which prompts its people to seek work and find a living any way possible, even if that means doing so by operating a gray market firm.

“’Forced entrepreneurship’ is the term we use in our paper, and until the unemployment crisis is addressed, this issue will not have a solution,” says Fandl, who adds that follow-up studies in this area are ongoing.

This story originally appeared in On the Verge, the Fox School’s research magazine.

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Bernie Milano, BS ’61, stands with graduates of The PhD Project.

Decades after the implementation of affirmative action, African-American and Hispanic-American students are more underrepresented within colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to The New York Times.

This gap extends into business as well. Only one quarter of senior executives in Fortune 500 companies are minorities, with Hispanic and African-American executives underrepresented by 9 and 13 percentage points, respectively.

Alumnus Bernie Milano, BS ’61, saw an opportunity to break this cycle. In 1994, he founded The PhD Project, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing workplace diversity, to address this racial disparity in workplaces and academia—starting with business schools’ doctorate programs.

It began with a question, Milano recalled to the Chronicle for Higher Education in 2015. Frustrated at the lack of diversity while recruiting for KPMG, Milano wanted to know what could encourage students of color to study business: “Would diverse faculty attract diverse students? And with a diverse faculty and diverse students, would the diverse students then perform up to their potential?”

An absence of faculty of color at the front of classroom can inherently limit ideas of higher education for minority students. The PhD Project guides and encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students to pursue doctorate degrees, in order to widen the pool of underrepresented faculty, administrators, and leaders throughout the nation’s schools and workplaces.

The Fox School recognizes the crucial role that business schools play in this cycle. “By supporting the students of today, we are strengthening the next generation of faculty and leaders,” says Lisa Fitch, senior associate director of PhD programs at the Fox School.

Together, The PhD Project and the Fox School help doctoral students and alumni faculty members become anchors of proof that young students need. The alumni then become role models, demonstrating that a doctorate is achievable and necessary for a representative career cycle.

Dr. Jamie Weathers, PhD ’16, assistant professor of finance at Western Michigan University and graduate of The PhD Project.

“As a minority in higher education, you are likely to be the only one in your cohort,” says Jamie Weathers, PhD ’16, an alumna of the Fox School and graduate of The PhD Project. “Having access to a network of people that look like you, that face the same challenges as you, is beyond helpful.”

According to a study from the TIAA Institute, university faculties have become slightly more diverse in the last two decades. Since 1994, The PhD Project has been successful in guiding 1,000 African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students in completing their doctorate degrees.

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Four months after Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still struggling. (Photo: Ivan Cardona)

For many students, the first semester of a new degree program is challenging. For Ivan Cardona, it was nearly impossible.

Cardona, a Puerto Rican native, came to the Fox School for his first residency of the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program on September 15—about one week after Hurricane Irma rocked the island territory.

Immediately after the weekend residency, he faced down Hurricane Maria, which directly hit the island with 175 mph winds and more than three feet of rain. Cardona barely arrived home in time to take shelter with his two young daughters.

“My home rumbled and shattered for over 24 hours,” Cardona remembered. At 5 a.m., he watched as water began creeping into his home. After the storm, with his family safe, his house compromised and his business flattened, Cardona reflected on his situation. “Puerto Rico was simply gone, and whoever took it away left a broken, wrecked, and shattered skeleton of an island.”

Nearly the entire island lost electricity and almost half lacked access to clean drinking water. As Cardona was left to rebuild his community, his dreams of a doctorate degree could not have felt further from his grasp.

“Weeks went by before I got to communicate with Temple.” Without internet, Cardona traveled to the nearby medical center for his evening WebEx classes, “hiding from the mandatory curfew on the island,” he conceded.

Yet despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, Cardona persevered.

In mid-October, he traveled back to Philadelphia to, in his words, graciously bow out of the program. Instead, Cardona received overwhelming support from colleagues and professors. “I felt a real sense of empathy, commitment and concern that I never expected,” he said of his experience. With new books to replace his waterlogged ones, Cardona finished his second residency with a renewed spirit.

Now, four months after Hurricane Maria hit, nearly one-third of Puerto Rican residents are still living without power. Although Cardona’s struggles are far from over—long lines at the ATM, grocery stores, and gas stations constantly overwhelm him—he has led efforts to clean up and rebuild his community. In November, he organized a Thanksgiving dinner for over 2,000 people, and in December, he coordinated a toy drive that benefited nearly 3,000 children.

As he starts the second semester of his three-year executive doctoral program, Cardona reflected on the challenges of last few months. Thanks to the support from his colleagues, he was able to keep up with his studies while helping the island recover. “I realize we were more than just a cohort,” he said. “I’m part of the Temple family and we take care of one another. It is something that truly makes me Temple proud.”

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Pursuing a PhD involves years of commitment and dedication. Fox Research took some time to reflect with Zeda Li, a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Statistical Science Department, as he comes closer to receiving the title of “doctor.” Find out more about his experiences avoiding burnout, publishing in journals, and life after dissertations.

Congratulations on nearing the end of your doctoral degree. How do you reflect on your time at the Fox School?

Our cohort in the Statistical Science Department was great! We all started together in our required courses and we continued working together every day—whether it was for homework, tests, or any questions. The faculty in my department has been very helpful, as well. For example, I am working with Dr. Yuexiao Dong, even though we are in completely different fields. Dr. Zhigen Zhao was able to show me new material through computing clusters. When I was preparing for my job interviews, Dr. Cheng Yong Tang scheduled several rehearsal talks so that faculty and students from the department could give me feedback.

You recently authored a paper that was accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Statistical Association. It is rare to see a PhD candidate as a first author, much less a journal of this caliber. What was your experience producing the paper?

I never thought my dissertation could be accepted into an A-level journal, but I think this is why you need advisors because they have more perspective with what kind of research can be highly regarded enough to be published. This paper was supervised by Dr. [Robert] Krafty, and of course, Dr. [William] Wei gave useful feedback. I was also able to attend the Joint Statistical Meeting, which is the largest annual statistic meeting. I was able to get a lot of great feedback prior to the publication of the paper.

How have you seen your work have real-world impact?

I am working with Dr. Krafty on a grant investigating the time-series data that measures patients during different medical experiments—specifically sleep data experiments. We are trying to understand why brain signals occur while patients are sleeping by looking into the relationship between those signals and the characteristics of these patients. This will help inform doctors how they should treat patients, especially those with insomnia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and the elderly who may be stressed—all of which can affect sleep patterns.

What advice to you have for other doctoral students?

From my experience, the most important thing is time management. I do not spend all my time studying and researching. I do research but I also like to watch sports, go to Philadelphia 76ers’ games, and play soccer. You have to do things in an efficient manner with balance. Once you work, you pay attention. Once you play, you can forget about your research for a while. It is important to have balance.

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Concussions have forever altered the sports landscape, calling attention to an injury that is difficult to diagnose and spawning a major motion picture.

Samuel D. Hodge, LAW ’74, professor at the Fox School, has co-authored a book that approaches head trauma and brain injuries, including concussions, from the perspective of the insurance, legal, and medical fields. His book, Head Trauma and Brain Injury for Lawyers, is the latest in a series of medical-legal guides he has penned for the American Bar Association. He’s written others spanning anatomy, the spine, and forensic autopsies.

“We used to assume that boxers were just ‘punch drunk,’ or that a football player ‘got his bell rung,’ but now, obviously, we know better,” says Hodge.

While the book delves into head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Hodge says he and co-author Jack E. Hubbard, professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, took a broader approach. The book covers basic anatomy of the brain and its functions, explains the neurological system, and demonstrates how to understand and interpret diagnostic tests for this area of the body.

“What makes the book so interesting and its breadth so wide is that we have chapters on head injuries sustained in military combat, sports, third-party lawsuits, social security disability, and workers’ compensation,” Hodge explains. “Our approach, from both a medical and legal perspective, should make this the seminal book on this subject—not only for medical and legal professionals, but also for those in the insurance industry.”

TBIs contribute to roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his research, Hodge found that TBIs were the most common injury incurred in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“On the surface, that is surprising,” he says. “But because our military personnel have full body armor, they’re protected from shrapnel in pretty much every other part of their bodies. But road landmines, explosions, and IEDs made concussions and other types of brain trauma the signature injury of the war.”

Concussion litigation has shaken the NFL, as former players file federal lawsuits against the league both for failure to acknowledge the lasting effects of brain-related injuries and to establish guidelines for the recognition and prevention of them. TBIs have been identified as a major cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a protein buildup that causes degeneration of the brain. The discovery of CTE, and the NFL’s initial refusal to address it, inspired Concussion, the award-winning film starring Will Smith.

Robert C. Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University, who previously has urged the NFL to embrace medical findings pertaining to concussions and CTE, authored a chapter in Hodge’s book.

“Concussions aren’t simply a timely topic that will go away. People still lack a fundamental understanding of their effect on the brain,” Hodge says. “The contributions of Dr. Cantu and other leading experts to this book demonstrate the relevance of TBIs, concussions, and all head injuries today.”

This story originally appeared in On the Verge, the Fox School’s research magazine.

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Gordon Burtch/Carlson School of Management

It started as a casual conversation with a friend.

That is how Dr. Gordon Burtch, PHD ’13, says he decided to obtain his PhD in management information systems (MIS) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. He was already working as a consultant with an undergraduate degree in software engineering. A doctoral degree, he thought, would help him harness the experiences he had in the business industry and explore research in an entrepreneurial way.

Today, he has received two of the top honors available to young scholars.

At the end of 2017, Burtch received both the Early-Career Award from the Association of Information Systems and the Sandra A. Slaughter Early Career Award from the INFORMS Information Systems Society. Both awards recognize individuals in the early stages of their careers who have already greatly contributed to the field of information systems through research, teaching, or service.

As an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Burtch focuses on understanding what drives people to contribute online—such as supporting a crowdfunding campaign or donating to a charity. He analyzes website data to model and predict consumer behavior, explores social factors like the influence of peer groups, and designs interventions that aim to encourage people to get involved in online campaigns.

While Burtch says these awards are quite the honor, he credits his experience at the Fox School with much of his success today.

“I was given the freedom to explore collaborations with whomever I wanted,” Burtch explains. After multiple collaborative research efforts, including with senior associate dean of research Paul Pavlou, Burtch found his niche working with Dr. Sunil Wattal, associate professor in the MIS department.

In working with Wattal, Burtch discovered an interest in econometrics and was able to expand his research expertise under the guidance of his mentor. Being at the Fox School, he says, gave him resources and ability to experiment until he found his forte.

Now, Burtch is seen as an emerging leader in his field. Not only is he dedicated to his research efforts, but he also takes time to mentor students. “I always tell my students,” he says, “to start from the business problem first and work backwards.”

While the awards are an honor, Burtch is not complacent. His research direction is constantly evolving, but Burtch hopes to expand his research to support the public good. He plans to apply his insights to stimulate positive social behaviors, such as encouraging people to volunteer or donate money to charities.

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Home healthcare is a growing need for many Americans. But is it delivering on its promises? (Photo: MyFuture/Flickr)

Americans are growing older—and their caretakers need to decide the best and most cost effective way to care for them.

Since 2011, nearly 77 million baby boomers have become eligible for Medicare. For the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, home healthcare (HHC) is a convenient and cost-effective solution that avoids the necessity of receiving care through hospitals and nursing homes.

HHC meets an important demand in the healthcare system. Experts have found that close to 90 percent of Americans wish to spend their final time at home. But how does the care HHC providers deliver compare to that of larger health institutions?

In collaboration with investigators at the University of California at Irvine, Dr. Jacqueline Zinn, professor in the Fox School’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, has received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to investigate the cost effectiveness and quality of care provided by home healthcare agencies.

Over the last decade, the home healthcare field has seen dramatic increases in patients, care providers, and spending. The New York Times reported that individual states spend close to $200 billion of their own funds on Medicaid, making it the second biggest item within their budgets.

As projections continue to rise and healthcare technology advances, patients should be aware of their care options.

“What we don’t know is whether or not the technologies that lead to additional growth impact the quality of care delivered,” said Zinn. “In other words, do larger facilities have better quality associated with growth? What is the optimal [home healthcare] agency size with respect to cost and quality? These are the questions we hope to answer.”

Home healthcare not only includes rehabilitative care after surgery, but hospice care and palliative care, which is dedicated to relieving people’s physical and emotional symptoms after facing life-threatening illnesses.

“Healthcare is on track to become 20 percent of the GDP,” said Zinn. “That means one in every five dollars generated by the U.S. economy will be in the healthcare sector.”

Alongside her fellow researchers at the UC Irvine, Zinn aims to discover valuable insights for patients, government, and health institutions, and home healthcare agencies alike by learning more about this under-researched field.

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A map of global trade routes. (Credit: Jeff Warren/Flickr)

Is working remotely in your future?

For many, it already is. A 2016 poll from Gallup found that 43 percent of Americans are working remotely at least part of the time, up from 39 percent in 2012. According to a survey at the London Global Leadership Summit, executives anticipate more than half of their employees will be remote by 2020. With a workforce less attached to a physical office, how does this affect businesses?

Dr. Ram Mudambi, professor in the Fox School, seeks to understand this question and others like it, which play at the intersection of business, geography, and technology.

To do that, he launched International Business, Economic Geography, and Innovation (iBEGIN), a now-annual conference that aims to enhance research around the knowledge economy—based on intellectual capital and human talent—that sustains international business today.

“iBEGIN is based on the idea that connectivity across space is the ‘invisible web’ that underlies all human civilization,” Mudambi explains.

This past December, Mudambi and several of his fellow Fox School faculty and doctoral students attended iBEGIN at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The conference—sponsored by the Fox School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives, as well as Ca’ Foscari University—brings together experts from the fields of business, geography, and technological innovation to explore international connectedness in time, space, and economy.

“Innovation is the outcome of social interactions among people, through either organizations or personal relationships,” says Mudambi, “Studying such complex phenomena requires a holistic approach.”

This year, attendees sought to learn more about how employees who work remotely, away from their companies’ main offices or headquarters, impact how international businesses function and grow.

When remote employees spend time with their colleagues face-to-face, the parties are more likely to value their time together, increase their level of attention, and emphasize knowledge and information exchange. The conference attendees discussed how international businesses were using remote work, what forms of temporary co-location increased creative interaction and long-term relationships, and which mechanisms improved knowledge exchange.

iBEGIN expands upon the work of the CIBER, Temple University’s premiere program to promote academic research, curriculum development, and outreach programs in international business.

Funded by the Department of Education, CIBER plays a vital role in producing cutting-edge international business research, promoting international ideas within the community, and fostering worldwide learning among Temple students and faculty. As one of only 17 centers in the country, CIBER has received continuous federal funding since its inception in 2002.

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This was a busy—and for some, award-winning—fall semester for the Fox School research community!

On October 18, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives hosted its 7th Annual PhD Paper Competition in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall. This year, 31 doctoral students and alumni submitted papers and created visual posters of their research to compete for more than $3,000 in cash and prizes.

Papers were evaluated by Fox School faculty, who chose winners in categories including first year, second year, and third-to-fourth year doctoral students. Students also competed for best dissertation proposals and completed dissertations. The 15-member evaluation committee judged the rigor, novelty, and presentation of the research, as well as its contribution to theory, practice, or policy.

Lauren Spirko, assistant professor of Statistical Science/PhD candidate

Winners included Lauren Spirko of the Statistical Science Department, who won first place in the completed dissertation category for her paper proposing a statistical method for analyzing enormous data sets of genes and their various types of expressions. See a full list of participants and winners here.

On November 1, the Office hosted its 15th Young Scholars Interdisciplinary Forum, which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that span disciplines within and outside of the Fox School. Together, twenty Fox doctoral students and faculty members received nearly $35,000 in grant funding for their research.

Han Chen, a Marketing and Management Information Systems PhD student, received a grant for her research aiming to understand the neurophysiological responses to branding and marketing with respect to age. The funding will go toward the purchase of eye-tracking glasses to monitor subjects’ eye movements when reviewing physical and digital advertising materials.

Terry T. Namkung, DBA student

The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program also had students succeed this semester. Terry T. Namkung, a first-year DBA student and CEO of DC Energy Systems, was chosen as one of seven finalists in the 2017 Global Business Challenge. He presented his research—an energy panel that aims to reduce energy waste by 30% by decreasing the inefficiencies of Alternating Current to Direct Current adapters, converters, and inverters—in Brisbane, Australia, in early November.

Carla Cabarle, a second-year DBA student, showcased her work at the Fall 2017 Meeting of the Institute for Fraud Prevention. As one of five finalists, Carla presented on using analytics to predict the risk of financial statement fraud in crowdfunding to academics and industry experts in financial risk and fraud management.

On behalf of Paul Pavlou, senior associate dean of research and Milton F. Stauffer Professor in the Fox School, the Office congratulates the doctoral students and faculty on a very successful fall semester.

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For the financial community, the period around earnings announcements—the official public statement of a firm’s profitability—is often a time of speculation. As investors, knowing when to buy or sell stocks is part of the job. And when earnings announcements are released, the risks are only magnified.

The question is: Why hold onto a risky investment?

For decades, researchers have been unable to understand the irregular behavior of investors holding during earnings announcements. Dr. Pavel Savor, associate professor of finance at the Fox School of Business, proposes a groundbreaking explanation of this phenomenon in his paper, “Earnings Announcements and Systematic Risk.”

Depending on the news—good or bad—regarding a firm’s performance, earnings announcements can create a risky investing environment. Savor found that the expectation of a firm’s earnings can entice investors to hold stocks while expecting higher returns.

“People are naturally risk-averse,” says Savor. “If you are holding on to a risky asset, you need to be compensated for it.”

Pavel Savor, Associate Professor of Finance

For example, if you were given the opportunity to hold a one percent stake in Google at the time of an earnings announcement, what should you do? “You would say, that’s not enough [stock], because it’s a very risky time.” If investors are holding a stock around earnings, they are going to demand higher returns. This risk-based explanation, Savor argues, causes the stock prices to increase during these periods.

And this doesn’t just impact the period around the earnings announcements. Savor found that the anticipation of the announcements has a longer term effect than previously thought. According to the research, the performance of a firm during an announcement period can predict its future growth two and three quarters into the future. Savor found that the returns at announcing periods were significantly better predictors for performance than market returns.

Much research has been conducted on earning announcements, but this study is the first of its kind to show that returns around earning announcements can be explained by risks inherent in those announcements.

For this leading-edge research in the finance field, Dr. Savor received the Amundi-Smith-Breeden Prize given to the top three papers each year from the Journal of Finance.

Savor’s word to investors: Proceed with caution. “Be aware of the risk you are bearing,” he says. The gamble of investments may be inevitable, but with the recognition of the risk involved, firms can perform better. Earning announcements not only reveal a firm’s progress, but also give insight to how the economy is reacting to stocks.

“We [researchers] all hope our work will have tremendous impact,” says Savor. He anticipates this research will help investors be better informed when choosing their investments. “Our paper is likely to change at least how people view some return patterns. This is something no one was able to show before.”

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Do you find it unfair when a friend gets a referral bonus after you bought the product they recommended? According to new research, the answer largely depends on social distance—or the closeness of a relationship—between the new and existing customer.

In the last five years, the percentage of U.S. citizens with social media profiles has grown from 56% to 81%. Companies want to take advantage of their customers’ social networks, so many encourage customers to promote their products by offering monetary incentives for referrals.

Researchers Yili Hong of Arizona State, Paul A. Pavlou of Temple University, Nan Shi of Shanghai University, and Kanliang Wang of Renmin University of China investigated the success of these online social referrals, with particular interest in the social distance between customers and their expectations of fairness in the distribution of referral rewards.

Example of an online social referral ad

The research outlines three types of online referral incentives: rewards that go to only the existing customer, to only the new customer, or divided equally between the two. Groupon, for example, offers a monetary bonus to those who have made successful referrals. However, Dropbox splits their reward equally between both the old and new clients.

The researchers conducted both lab and field experiments with people in two types of personal relationships: a long social distance, such as an acquaintance; and a small social distance, such as a friend or a close relative.

Hong, Pavlou, Shi, and Wang found that acquaintances in long social distance relationships prefer the monetary reward to be split equally. But for close friends with a small social distance, people are less concerned about the fairness of the reward.

Interestingly, online referrals are more successful between friends with smaller social distances, despite the reward not being fairly split between friends.

The study is the first of its kind to consider both fairness and social distance in social commerce. “While fairness has been viewed as a fundamental prerequisite to successful referrals, it is only important for distant acquaintances and not close friends,” says Pavlou, senior associate dean and Milton F. Stauffer Professor in the Fox School of Business at Temple University.

This research provides new insight for companies designing online referral systems. Based on these findings, Pavlou says, “Companies can experiment with less than equal (fair) referrals to maximize the success of the referral while minimizing the cost of the reward.”

Their paper, “On the Role of Fairness and Social Distance in Designing Effective Social Referral Systems,” was published in MIS Quarterly in September 2017.

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For some, outsourcing is a dirty word. But does it have to be?

According to Forbes, approximately 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the United States yearly. “Offshore” outsourcing, in particular, has become a widely used method in relocating office jobs to countries where labor costs are significantly lower. For example, Carrier, an Indianapolis-based HVAC company, made headlines for laying off 600 workers, sending those jobs to Mexico instead.

However, new research from the Fox School shows that choosing to outsource in a foreign country goes beyond a pros and cons list or a review of your bottom line—it is a strategic business decision.

J. Jay Choi, professor of finance, and Masaaki “Mike” Kotabe, professor of international business and marketing, embarked on a collaborative project in order to understand what motivates firms to seek options such as offshore outsourcing, in a way previous research has not.

Their paper, “Flexibility as Firm Value Drivers: Evidence from Offshore Outsourcing,” which was accepted for publication in the Global Strategy Journal, blends the researchers’ backgrounds strategy and finance to analyze outsourcing as an approach rather than a choice.

Choi and Kotabe found that firms chose to outsource in a foreign country in order to have flexibility in the face of uncertainty. An uncertain market can mean an upsurge in prices, a decline in demand, unforeseen competition, or an economic recession. Companies have to be flexible in order to adapt to these changes—which offshore outsourcing can offer.

“Our work fills an important gap demonstrating that flexibility adds value in more uncertain conditions, more so internationally than domestically,” said Kotabe. “Outsourcing provides firms the ability to adjust and evaluate their options in order to gain quality resources with limited costs.”

When firms are able to move their operations offshore, they essentially gain more freedom. Lower costs, more suppliers, and the ability to expand in more financially driven areas become widely available.

This level of flexibility is not as easily achievable when it comes to domestic operations.

However, Choi and Kotabe explain this approach may come with set-backs. “Offshoring allows firms to perform better financially, however, this relationship may be somewhat weakened by potential loss of domestic innovation and talent while dealing with foreign suppliers.”

Choi and Kotabe merged their respective disciplines in order to gain a unique perspective of outsourcing. “The key is to conduct business research as realistically as possible, so that we can provide relevant research findings to the business community,” said Choi.

The taboos that surround outsourcing may still exist, but with this new research, businesses and consumers alike can better understand when outsourcing will provide the best results.

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While there are many roads to launching a successful essay, article, or research paper, many of those roads have bumps, tolls, and avoidable potholes. Luckily, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School is here to help doctoral students and faculty avoid some of the most common writing mistakes.

Matt MacNaughton, a professional copy editor, shares his six recommendations for writers who want to get the most out of their papers.

1. Know Your Audience

Take a moment to ask, “Who am I writing this for?” If you are planning to submit your work to a journal or present it at a conference, look for submission guidelines that can help you tailor your entry for those readers. If your paper has the wrong format or layout, or uses a non-preferred citation style, your readers may decide that this isn’t the publication for you.

Be sure to introduce language with which your readers may not be familiar. If your audience is in your field, then perhaps you can assume a rudimentary knowledge of technical terms. If you are writing for general purpose, like a newspaper or magazine, define any jargon. If it’s redundant, an editor will remove it anyway.

2. Utilize Clear, Concise Language

In writing as in life, our diction requires our utmost attention. While we sometimes think that certain concepts require vivaciously paced sentences that deliberately pontificate their topic with the multisyllabic majesty of a character from Twelfth Night, most of the time it is truly unnecessary.

Did you understand that paragraph? Probably not as well or as quickly as you could have, if I had simply said, “Long sentences with big words are not usually better than shorter sentences with simpler words that convey the same meaning.” In fact, the latter contains more information in a shorter sentence. Keep it simple!

3. Quick Grammar Tips are Great…

Spelling mistakes and grammar missteps happen all the time, whether intentionally or by accident, but it does not have to be this way! There are a number of tools online that can help with easy questions concerning unfamiliar grammar rules. For example, does the comma go inside quotations, or outside? How about a semicolon or colon? I could tell you that most places in America will tell you unequivocally to put the comma inside and the colon outside, however –

4. …But Not Always Perfect

–in the U.K., sometimes those grammar rules are flipped!

Be very careful with these rules, because even if I comes before E except after C, the science can be very flawed! While knowing the difference between They’re, There, and Their will never come back to bite you (there are, in fact, no exceptions to this rule), style guides vary widely over things as silly as the Oxford comma. While quick grammar rules and tips can be helpful, don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to search for an answer in a style guide or the internet. A recommended style guide is the Associated Press, but, again, it depends on the requirements of the publication or conference.

5. Read Your Paper Out Loud

This is something that a number of people have heard about but very few practice. When you read your work out loud, you become acutely aware of each and every choice you made while writing, and can tease out the minute problems in pacing and language that otherwise your eyes would have glossed over .

You may not realize it, but you can hear grammar mistakes that your brain doesn’t recognize in print. You may even find yourself confused out loud when you were positive it made sense in print.

6. Get a Second Pair of Eyes

So you’ve gone through your paper to make sure you weren’t being verbose, that you were aligned with your submission guidelines, and that all your questions of grammar were addressed. Then, for good measure, you read it out loud and found a few more areas that could be edited for clarity. But sometimes reading and re-reading a paper can make you essay-blind. You need a second pair of eyes (and, maybe, a vacation).

That’s why the Office of Research at the Fox School has set you up to succeed with a copy editor who is available to read your manuscripts and provide feedback tailored to your needs. Doctoral students and faculty can send a request for copy editing services through our website. Once received, most submissions are returned with feedback within a week. Happy writing!

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Paul A. Pavlou is the Milton F. Stauffer Professor and senior associate dean at the Fox School of Business, and co-director of Temple University’s Data Science Institute. Dr. Pavlou has repeatedly been ranked number one in the world in publications by top publications in the Management Information Systems (MIS) discipline in 2010-2016, he has won several best paper awards, and his work has been cited more than 31,000 times by Google Scholar.

We caught up with Dr. Pavlou to ask what advice he has for doctoral students and aspiring researchers.

How do you determine a research question?

Observe what’s happening in the real world and try to see if you can contribute in those emerging areas. Start by seeing what is going on around the world, what companies do, what is happening in society, and trying to see what is interesting in the world and what excites industry and managers. It is about looking at the “big picture.” Often, an idea is not perfect the first time. You have to discuss it, improve it, sharpen it, and challenge it. You have to ask why people, academics, and managers would read your work—it should be an interesting problem that has broader societal implications. So you have to focus on what interests people and about what people would get excited. There’s simply no magic formula!

What happens once you have an idea you would like to research?

First, form a team that has complementary strengths. You look for researchers who either have or are doing work in a certain area. For example, if you are working with highly quantitative and empirical research, you need to find people who can deal with large scale data and sophisticated types of methodology. Sometimes you need an expert in an area who can guide the research in a certain way. You need to consider the unique advantages your project may carry. What do we have in terms of data? And keep asking, is this a practical problem that is exciting and relevant to industry and practice?

How can PhD students get feedback and develop their own points of view on research topics?

We have different forums to give feedback from different departments. There are school-wide events, such as the Young Scholars Interdisciplinary Forum and the PhD Paper Competition, where students can present their work, and we encourage them to be receptive to the feedback. There are also multiple department-specific events, and students should make an effort to present in front of the faculty. However, it is important that doctoral students have their own voice and viewpoints on their research topics. I do not want students to just go along with my feedback without questioning it. Students need to be able to defend their positions and not to agree without carefully thinking about the feedback. Students are supposed to know their topic better than anybody.

What advice do you have for current and prospective PhD students?

My advice is to do interesting research that is theoretically and methodologically strong. Try to be focused in your substantive area of expertise. It is best to be strong in one area versus being weak in two areas. Quality is more important than quantity! Also, be as rigorous as possible in terms of your methodology—and the doctoral programs are the best place to strengthen your methodological skills.

How can the Office of Research help doctoral students?

The Office of Research supports students in multiple ways. We provide services such as copyediting for manuscripts, and a workbook with tips for successful grant writing. We have small funding opportunities such as our new seed-funding program that is designed help students establish proof-of-concepts or complete a pilot study. We offer numerous databases for research, and can support travel arrangements for presenting at conferences. However, the most useful resource we have is the faculty and their time. In both the PhD program and Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program, we have advisors who can guide your research and dissertation.

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Dr. Daniel Funk has made a significant mark on the field of sport management.

Funk, the Washburn Senior Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM) and the director of the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University, recently received the Earle F. Zeigler Award from the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), one of the highest honors given to individuals in the field of sport research.

The award celebrates Dr. Funk as a key contributor to NASSM’s premier Journal of Sport Management and one of the most often-cited authors in the history of the sport management discipline.

Throughout his career, Funk has studied sport and recreation consumer experiences in order to help organizations understand customer acquisition, retention, and expenditure. He investigates the cognitive, physical, and organizational factors that shape our preferences and behavior to develop an effective mixture of marketing and management strategies that have become renown in the world of sport research.

Funk’s contributions have ranged from studies of an individual’s psychological connection to sports, to the relationship between sports team allegiance and customer loyalty. For example, Funk, along with Dr. Jeremy Jordan, associate dean at STHM, contributed to a paper by PhD student Bradley Baker about why runners keep running marathons.

The study investigated the relationship between runners’ satisfaction with and repeat participation in long-distance running events. Many studies have reviewed consumer satisfaction, but not much research has been conducted on experiential products, such as marathons.

After growing dramatically since 1960, road running peaked in 2013 and has been slowly declining each year. Between 2014 and 2016, two million less people crossed a finish line, but there were 2,000 more races from which to choose.

“Like any other business, running has a finite amount of customers,” Funk said. “If there is a decline in the demand for races and an oversupply in the amount of races offered, then there is an issue.”

While the researchers found a linear correlation between satisfaction and repeated participation in marathons—the more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to run the race again—satisfaction from an experience, like a marathon, is different than traditional customer satisfaction.

For instance, runners who have a “bucket list” may not come back to that race, regardless of how satisfied they are. Factors indicating a higher likelihood to return included previous running experience and geography—meaning that experienced runners and local runners were more likely to come back, despite that fact that first-time runners reported higher satisfaction levels with the race.

The article, “Run Again Another Day: The Role of Satisfaction on Repeat Marathon Participation,” was the winner in the NASSM’s national student research competition in 2016 and was recently published by the Journal of Sport Management.