In the idea marketplace, the value of the Fox Brand is closely tied to the research and engagement activities of our faculty. At time, faculty work in the real of the hypothetical and abstract. The value of this is inherent in the academic world, but the impact on society can be misunderstood. In the Fox School, we connect our research to the impact it has on business society, and we support the flow of ideas from scholar to business practitioner and the large marketplace.
Discover big ideas through our new initiative – the Idea Marketplace where leading edge research meets practical application. Where we harvest these big ideas to shape educational programs that are responsive to, and more importantly can anticipate, the changes in business practice.
Job hunting is a challenge for most people—but for ex-convicts transitioning back into everyday life, finding a job can be nearly impossible. Data suggests that over half of the men and women who return home after being released from prison are unemployed for up to a year. Many of the formerly incarcerated see self-employment as one of the only routes to earn a steady income without resorting to low-wage employment.
Dr. Charlotte Ren, a Fox School associate professor in the Strategic Management department, saw the challenges the formerly incarcerated face and created an integrated course that provides entrepreneurial skills to this underserved population. This year, Ren’s course, “The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration,” was identified by the Academy of Management as one of the finest innovations in the area of entrepreneurship education and received the 2017 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award.
Ren’s course is part of a larger, on-going initiative called the Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), an initiative she founded in 2014. “At the core of this course [and PREP] is the idea of addressing societal challenges and transforming lives through knowledge creation and sharing by bringing together college students and members of disadvantaged populations,” said Ren.
The ten-week accelerated program brings together students from multiple disciplines and formerly incarcerated individuals for intensive training on the many ways of starting and running small businesses and social enterprises.
After completing the course, students from both the university and the judicial system will be able to understand major theories of entrepreneurship, acquire skills involved in designing and implementing social entrepreneurship programs, and also understand the nature and scope of community reintegration problems
The economic benefits of re-entry programs like Ren’s have been projected to make a significant impact. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the U.S. economy lost between $57 and $65 billion in 2008 alone due to unemployed or underemployed ex-convicts. Through her course, Ren is helping to create opportunities for the formerly incarcerated to contribute to society and our economy in a meaningful way.
“I hope my course will inspire more faculty members,” Ren said, “both at the Fox School and across other schools and universities, to develop courses that apply their research and teaching expertise into addressing some of the pressing social issues in society.”
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Healthcare in this United States is a lightning rod for debate. As Congress grapples with the future of the Affordable Care Act, the American people face uncertainty in medical care and costs.
To improve the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness for patient care, hospitals have increasingly turned digital, using Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to store and share patient’s medical history. However, as the use of EMR systems increased, so did reported healthcare costs.
Since the adoption of the physician coding systems used to store and update EMRs in 2009, Medicare has experienced an estimated $380 million increase in reimbursements per year. Medicare accused hospitals of “upcoding,” or illegally overstating patients’ diagnoses and treatment, in an effort to receive a higher reimbursement. A 2012 study showed that hospitals in Utica, NY, and Nashville, TN, increased its patient reimbursement claims by 43% and 82% respectively after adopting EMR systems.
In response to this drastic surge in reimbursements, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted a pilot program, the Recovery Audit Program, from 2004 to 2010. Researchers at the Fox School partnered with researchers at McGill University to study how this audit program has been able to reduce illegal Medicare reimbursement claims, thus lessening the financial burden on American taxpayers.
The initial goal of implementing EMRs was to lower costs by reducing medical errors, over-testing, and re-admissions. But the findings of Dr. Kartik K. Ganju of McGill and Drs. Hilal Atasoy and Paul Pavlou of Temple University, confirmed that the adoption of the coding system is associated with an increase in Medicare reimbursements, particularly in the case of for-profit hospitals.
The research found an average of $217,745 in inflated reimbursements to Medicare per hospital per year, and even higher costs (nearly $370,000 in overages) at for-profit hospitals. After finding $693 million in overpayments by Medicare in six pilot states, the audit program was adopted nationwide in 2010.
The researchers looked into this “trillion-dollar conundrum” and found that the audit program successfully combated upcoding by using default templates and by identifying and removing cloned records of old patient that were erroneously copied into a new patient’s medical chart. After the audit became nationwide, the study found that it had corrected up to $2 billion in incorrect claims; yet for-profit hospitals were still reporting high reimbursement fees than their nonprofit counterparts.
The bottom line? While EMRs have enhanced coordination and information sharing, they also make it easier to report expensive and potentially inappropriate healthcare expenses.
As the first successful evaluation of the Recovery Audit Program, the researchers praise the work that has been done, but warn that stronger oversight by the government is still needed to combat ever-increasing costs, especially at for-profit hospitals.
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When looking for a restaurant, bakery, plumber, or lawyer, you’re likely to visit sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to help make a choice. In fact, recent research shows that 78 percent of consumers in the United States will read online reviews prior to making a purchase or decision. Meanwhile, businesses can use these review sites to interact more directly with their customers, through tools like new owner response features.
How does this online interaction translate into real-world performance? Dr. Subodha Kumar, professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, conducted a study to find out.
Kumar examines the impact of the adoption of the business owner response feature within online review platforms in his paper, “Exit, Voice, and Response in Digital Platforms: An Empirical Investigation of Online Management Response Strategies,” which was accepted for publication in the Information Systems Research, an A-level journal.
Businesses that use the response features saw an increased number of mobile “check-ins” through sites like FourSquare and Facebook. Although the feature has been beneficial for businesses that use it, the key to consistent success resides in the need for companies to stay up-to-date with ways to connect with their consumers, both present and future.
“Overall, the new features supported through digital platforms will help businesses develop the right engagement strategy, improve consumer experience, and generate more reviews and consumer traffic, which will ultimately open more revenue generating opportunities for both the digital platforms and businesses,” said Kumar. This strategy will essentially drive higher website traffic and, if done well, enhance customer relations.
The study also found that use of the online response feature impacted the performance of nearby businesses. For example, in analyzing the performance of nearby restaurants in direct competition, businesses that directly engaged with customers online increased their number of check-ins, while businesses that did not use the features saw a decrease. This spillover effect suggests that businesses must be aware of how their neighbors and competitors are engaging with customers online in order to optimize their own digital strategies.
With the growth of mobile check-ins, social media, and online reviews, the research possibilities are evolving as well. “A future research direction is to examine which types of online management responses are more likely to attract consumers and enhance business performance,” said Kumar.
Dr. Subodha Kumar recently joined the Fox School. He will be a part of the Data Science Institute, an interdisciplinary body that connects multiple disciplinary perspectives to increase collaboration in the fields of computer science, math and statistics, and business knowledge.
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Do you do more online mobile shopping when it’s raining, snowing, or sunny outside?
The recent research of Xueming Luo, a chair professor of marketing at the Fox School and the director of the Global Center on Big Data in Mobile Analytics, has found the answer to this question.
Philly Voice recently interviewed Luo regarding his research on the behavior of mobile shoppers during various types of weather. When asked about the weather conditions that promote the most mobile shopping, Luo said the following:
“So, the answer is during a sunny sky—compared with a cloudy sky—people will spend more. With the rainy sky, people spend less. And this is significant because we think people, during a sunny day, they’ll be in a better mood and when they’re in a better mood it triggers all kinds of purchasing decisions.”
Learn more about Luo’s research and read the full story at phillyvoice.com.
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Scott Bruce, a PhD student at the Fox School of Business, publishes in top statistics research journal, Biometrics.
Researchers are up to their elbows in data. But new methods are needed to address the increasing size and complexity of modern data structures, especially those with time-varying dynamics.
“Frequently, with biomedical experiments, you have time series data from many different participants, along with other clinical and behavioral information for each,” explains Scott Bruce, a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Statistical Science at the Fox School.
“However,” he continues, “much of the statistical literature focuses on the analysis of a single time series, so there is a need for new theory and methods that can analyze more complex data generated from these kinds of modern biomedical experiments.”
Bruce’s article on his recent research—under the advisement of Dr. Robert Krafty (University of Pittsburgh) and Dr. Cheng Yong Tang (Temple University)—was accepted for publication by the prestigious statistics journal, Biometrics (and appears online through “Biometrics Early View”). He has developed a new method called “conditional adaptive Bayesian spectrum analysis,” or CABS, which can be used to analyze associations between the dynamics of time series data and other data of interest.
The University of Pittsburgh’s AgeWise Caregiver Study, which examined the relationship between stress and sleep in older adults serving as the primary caregiver for an ill spouse, was the motivation for Bruce’s research. Study participants were monitored during a night of sleep to obtain their heart rate variability time series data, and they completed a questionnaire in order to formulate an individualized sleep score (the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index).
The goal was to measure the association between physiological stress captured in the heart rate variability data and sleep quality measured by the PSQI score.
“This new method allows you to analyze these associations between the covariates and the time series,” explains Bruce. “It properly reflects the temporally-evolving nature of the relationship and helps us better understand dynamic biological processes. Researchers and practitioners who study time series data in conjunction with other types of data will be interested in this work.”
Bruce and his collaborators also developed user-friendly functions available in MATLAB that allow researchers and practitioners to use CABS in their own work. It’s available at the Biometrics website.
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Vikas Mittal, Ph. D. alum of Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been recently appointed as Co-editor of the Journal of Marketing. Along with Neil Morgan of Indiana University, Mittal will be furthering the exceptional flow of submissions coming from the A-level journal. Mittal who brings a dynamic combination of expertise in Consumer Behavior as well Strategy Focus helps to expand the range of expertise that the journal reflects. Mittal who is looking forward to the appointment sees his new post as a tremendous responsibility, and hopes to maintain and serve the mission of the Journal of Marketing.
“In my early years, my research benefitted greatly from the high quality feedback I received from the editorial teams of many journals,” said Mittal. The Journal of Marketing, which has an impact factor measure of 3.8, is seen as a great influencer for notable research and encourages hard work from its reviewers and authors. Mittal whose goal is to continue the tradition of valuable feedback has witnessed the great impact of journals. “At many times, the feedback was tough, but always helpful in improving my research,” he said.
The Fox School of Business, which prides itself of producing efficient and influential academics, recognizes Mittal’s appointment as just that. “My time at the Fox School inculcated the value of serving our discipline in many ways—by publishing high quality research, by mentoring doctoral students, and by serving through the review and editorial process,” said Mittal. As we continue to see present and past students flourish, we are reminded of the dedication and perseverance that our PhD program embodies.
Scott Bruce, a Fox School of Business PhD candidate in the Statistical Science department, recently had his paper, “A Scalable Framework for NBA Player and Team Comparisons Using Player Tracking Data,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Sports Analytics.
In this paper, Bruce discusses the endless possibilities yielded by creating new statistics that can quantify aspects of player tracking and ball movements during games through Principal Components Analysis. “This method is very scalable in the sense that as new statistics emerge in the future, this approach can again be applied using the new existing data to reconstruct,” said Bruce. With numerous applications already existing in personnel management, Bruce presented two case studies to further investigate statistical profiles amongst players and teams of interest.
Traditional statistics primarily focus on reporting players’ shot attempts, makes, and points per game. However, as analysis advances, shots and points can be further broken down in order to calculate players’ offensive preferences and the effect this has on the team as a whole. “When comparing players, this allows for much better and more intuitive comparisons as seen in our case study, and for team comparisons, we saw that the player tracking statistics also helped us better understand how teams approach winning and how that impacted their success,” Bruce said.
With the release of player tracking data and statistics motivating Bruce to work on this type of research, he is also eager to see what discoveries its implementation will lead to. “I hope this can also be seen as a good example of how statistical methods can be applied to increasingly complex data to efficiently extract useful and meaningful information,” Bruce said. Hoping that his work will encourage broader use of player comparison metrics and evaluation, Bruce sees this as a good starting point for personnel management decision-making as well.
This paper won Bruce an award from the 2015 Fox Research Competition, after which he was greatly encouraged to get it published. “The department and faculty are extremely supportive of student research. The research competition, young scholars forum, conference travel awards provide students with great opportunities to share and improve their research,” Said Bruce.
Bruce is currently working on his dissertation with Dr. Cheng Yong Tang (Temple University) and Dr. Robert Krafty (University of Pittsburgh), focusing on time-frequency analysis of replicated nonstationary time series, looking for applications in modern biomedical experiments.
“Most research projects in my field take a couple years, during which we go through a continuous process of testing, learning, and refining ideas that will ultimately make it into the paper.” Making it onto paper is exactly what Fox School of Business PhD student, Soojung Han, has been able to achieve in her field, Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior. Han has capitalized on every opportunity that came her way and continues to take advantage of everything Fox has to offer.
Han, who has had not just one, but three papers accepted this summer, is pleased to be attending a school and department whose mission is to evoke the best in its students. “Everything about Fox is designed to allow students the opportunity to focus wholly on producing research,” Han said.
Being in an environment that offers a strong support system has allowed Han to collaborate with faculty members and develop new material, while learning to reach agreements and ultimately find the best solutions. “The faculty here are especially top-notch. My mentor and co-author, Dr. Crystal Harold (Paul Anderson Research Fellow) not only trains me in producing quality research, but also takes a personal interest in my professional future,” Han explained.
Although Han has had plenty of experience working with faculty here at Fox, she continues to broaden her research activity with others. She recently co-authored, “How I Get My Way. A Meta-Analytic Review of Research on Influence Tactics,” which was published in the Leadership Quarterly. This particular paper investigates the moderating effectiveness of 11 influence tactics between supervisors and subordinates and how this relationship responds to these various directions.
“Our results indicate that certain influence tactics could be more effective than others. However, it should be noticed that the effective strategies do not always guarantee good outcomes. Thus, understanding the relative differences on outcomes can guide individuals to select and use appropriate tactics to achieve their goals at the workplace,” Han said. The meta-analysis aspect of Han’s research has allowed her and her co-authors to delve deeper into the issue, beyond the typically inconsistent results produced by studies on the topic.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented people on these projects, and I’m glad we have positive results to show for our efforts. I feel that the sense of accomplishment from these endeavors will further drive me to achieve in my future research work.” Han is in her 3rd year within the HROB department, and with over four years of industry experience, she continues to make a mark for herself here at Temple’s Fox School of Business.
Kevin Hong, a 2014 graduate of the Management Information Systems concentration of the PhD program at the Fox School of Business and an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, recently received a $120,024 grant to research bias and health issues in online “gig economy” platforms. The grant, awarded by the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will provide Hong with funding for two years to research how online labor platforms, that connect prospective employees with employers, are shaping the economy and influencing the health of participants.
The gig economy, which encompasses various freelance and temporary employment opportunities and is worth billions of dollars, is the future of the labor market. “It is important to understand how participants in gig economy platforms make decisions and how such decisions affect their health, as these platforms promise to become the future workplace for hundreds of millions of citizens,” said Hong.
Hong’s intersectional analysis of online gig economy platforms also seeks to identify gender and racial biases in the hiring process, while analyzing the health implications of technology-based employment. For many participants in the gig economy who jump from job to job, health insurance is not an option, and part of Hong’s research grant focuses on access to health insurance and how health issues are addressed in an economy that is increasingly shifting towards short-term employment. “Understanding health-related challenges faced by these workers will help us prescribe policy suggestions for online labor platforms to inform platform design,” said Hong.
Aside from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, Hong recently received Arizona State University’s esteemed W.P. Carey Faculty Research Award, the first time a non-tenured, tenure-track faculty member has received the award.
Hong attributes his success to the intimate advisor-student relationship he had as a PhD student at Temple. Indeed, his current research is in part inspired by his research at the Fox School of Business, where he partnered with Dr. Paul Pavlou on a project, in collaboration with Freelancer.com, to publish two articles about their project in Information Systems Research.
“It is fair to say that without Paul’s effort in mentorship and guidance, none of my achievements would be possible.”Hong also notes that the academic rigor and exposure to different research methodologies during his time at Fox gave him the tools necessary to succeed. Hong’s seamless transition from PhD student to accomplished professor and researcher is a testament to his intellect and work ethic and reflects the high caliber of Fox PhD graduates.
Three Human Resource Management (HRM) professors from Temple University’s Fox School of Business recently co-authored a paper that was published in the December 2015 edition of the Journal of Employment Counseling. Dr. Tony Petrucci, Dr. Gary Blau, and Dr. John McClendon’s paper, titled, ‘’Effect of Age, Length of Unemployment, and Problem-Focused Coping on Positive Reemployment Expectations,” explores the impact of age, length of unemployment, and the coping behaviors on re-employment expectations during the great recession. Given the extreme nature of recession that began in 2008, every professional is inevitably vulnerable to the possibility of unemployment, the professors said. In President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, delivered Jan. 13, 2016, he noted current job creation and a decreasing unemployment rate in America. Despite this, Obama recommended programs train the unemployed on how to get back into the job force as a strong investment for America’s future.
While most studies have focused on lower-level workers and on short-term unemployment, Petrucci, Blau, and McClendon felt compelled to examine higher-level employees and managers, and long-term unemployment.The professors sampled unemployed professionals of all ages who maintained different position levels within organizations prior to their unemployment, including vice presidents, high-ranking executives, middle management, hourly workers, supervisors, and more. The sample contained 65 percent long-term unemployed professionals, including 23 percent being unemployed for more than two years.“Our study found that length of unemployment, networking comfort, and job-search confidence were significant in a regression and age was not,” said Petrucci, the lead author for the study. “Regardless of age, if you are comfortable networking and have confidence in your ability to conduct an effective job search, you may have higher expectations for re-employment.”Conversely, the professors discovered that the longer one is unemployed, the less confidence one may have about the process of finding a new job and the lower one’s expectations for re-employment may become.
“Becoming unemployed can be very difficult for many workers, especially if they have dependents or have high-paying jobs,” Blau said.Upper-level employees often find it challenging to find comparable positions in their respective fields. The professors were in agreement with President Obama, that programs should be put in place to teach employees how to build transferable skills set, beyond what an employing organization provides.“If (a company is) suddenly downsized, it will be easier for job-loss victims to successfully cope with their new job search,” Blau said. “Very few workers are immune from sudden job loss.”Though a long period of unemployment generally leads to a pessimistic attitude, Petrucci also noted that training workers to be more optimistic about re-employment tends to lead to higher rates of re-employment.
Given the low level of unemployment, the professors aren’t currently planning to pursue this line of research again soon. However, their findings greatly expanded the literature on unemployment given its extremely unique sample population.