Every year, students and faculty at the Fox School of Business distinguish themselves on the international stage at conferences all over the world. Last month, Dr. Ram Mudambi, Professor and Perelman Senior Research Fellow at the Fox School, convened the 7th annual iBEGIN Conference, where scholars from around the world met to discuss research streams related to the iBEGIN acronym—International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation.
Hosted by the Copenhagen Business School (CBS Maritime), scholars at iBEGIN reported on many research streams related to innovation. Alain Verbake, Professor of at the University of Calgary, gave the keynote on the role of port clusters in international logistics chains. This topic reflects the 2019 conference theme: Ports versus Portals: International Connectivity and the Bundling of Tangibles and Intangibles.
By studying innovation in these international maritime hubs, iBEGIN scholars hope to uncover elements of the “invisible web” of connectivity that underlies not only our social networks, but our world. “I used to a teach a course on digital strategy,” said Mudambi, “and one of things that I noticed was that even though we think of digital connections as global, instantaneous and ubiquitous, the reality is that there is a hard infrastructure of cables and wires (the internet backbones) that actually makes it work. Hence, the intangible linkages that we take for granted are enabled by tangible networks.”
Only a handful of studies have attempted to bridge the divide between physical and digital infrastructural networks in order to better understand their joint impact on global knowledge and value creation. By exploring this new and exciting research topography, iBEGIN aims to uncover important lessons regarding the relationship between these networks and innovation.
Ultimately, innovation is the alpha and the omega of the iBEGIN project. How and whether cities, ports, or institutions increase their innovative power or lag behind global averages is of extreme importance for scholars and governments around the world. The emphasis this year on how transportation networks—which have connected humans for millennia—and new digital technologies interact is an area that is critically understudied.
iBEGIN is partially funded through the Fox School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). As part of a broader national platform supported by the Department of Education, Temple CIBER aims to promote trade education and support research in areas of international business, providing overseas work and study experiences for Fox School students. With Temple CIBER’s ongoing assistance, iBEGIN has been able to expand its influence in the international community.
“iBEGIN is the go-to place for researchers who are working at the interface of the disciplinary boundaries that the iBEGIN community acronym embodies,” said Dr. Rudolf Sinkovics, Professor of International Business at the University of Manchester. “While it is highly focused, it is an inclusive community that feels like a family and is very effective in the diffusion of work at the frontier.”
These comments were echoed by other attendees, such as Alex Berman, a PhD candidate at FOX in International Business and Strategic Management: “The 2019 iBEGIN conference in Copenhagen provided a fantastic overview of the current research on the subject of global innovation, illustrating how geographic idiosyncrasies influence important economic processes and outcomes. I was particularly impressed by the insights put forward by the series of discussions about ports and port-related initiatives, such as the presentation by Dr. Alain Verbeke on the role of port clusters in international logistic chains.”
Although housed at the Fox School, iBEGIN works with a number of partner schools around the world, such as Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, and the Indian School of Business. Going forward, Mudambi is optimistic that the project will continue to grow, folding ever more schools and talented researchers—such as those at CBS Maritime—into its ranks. “We were able to add a whole new set of shipping researchers to the iBEGIN research network and this was a huge step forward for the network.”
The 2020 iBEGIN conference will be held at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
In the Venn Diagram of sociologists and international business researchers, Dr. Richard Deeg sits right in the middle.
This June, Dr. Deeg, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will receive the Journal of International Business Studies Decade Award from the Academy of International Business for his 2008 paper that encouraged scholars to think about international business in a more holistic way.
“My interest in business has been within the political context,” says Deeg, formerly chair of the Department of Political Science. “I want to know how businesses are organized, regulated, and structured, and how this impacts other segments of society.”
Since 1996, the Decade Award has honored the most influential article in international business (IB) in the previous ten-year period. Dr. Deeg is the second Temple University researcher to receive the award, the first since Dr. Arvind Parkhe, Laura H. Carnell Professor and chair of the Department of Strategic Management in the Fox School, in 2001.
Deeg and his co-author, Gregory Jackson of the Free University of Berlin, compared two international business approaches in their paper, “Comparing capitalisms: understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business.”
First, a variable-based approach, which was and remains common in IB literature, focuses on individual aspects of a country in order to understand how an outside firm may be affected. For example, executives may examine a country’s legal framework, which may not be as strong as in their home country or may favor different activities over others, to learn how it would impact decisions made in the new country.
Deeg presented “comparative capitalism” as an alternative viewpoint in IB, an approach frequently used in political science and sociology. “We were advocating a holistic approach,” says Deeg. “We said, don’t just compare property rights, and how they might be different and how that might affect our business. You also have to think about how the whole system in a different country works.”
The paper did not present one approach as superior than the other; rather, they were meant to be used as complementary. The variables-based approach, which using specific characteristics of an economic landscape, lends itself well to quantitative studies. The comparative capitalism approach, on the other hand, is helpful in understanding the way these institutions interact.
“Since 2008, there has been a lot more research in examining institutions,” says Ram Mudambi, Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy at the Fox School. “While it existed before this paper, it would be fair to say that institutional context has seen an increase in interest in IB literature over the last decade.”
Deeg uses his political science background to view the existing IB literature in a unique light, and he advises others to do the same. “My advice, particularly to young researchers, is to break outside your preordained professional circles and societies, and venture into ones that overlap.”
Since being named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in September 2016, Deeg has recognized the value of translating research insights outside of academia.
“How do we take the ivory tower work we do and connect it to the city? The Fox School is certainly thinking that way, and we’re trying to invest as well,” says Deeg. “It’s a way to give back to the city, but it’s also a way to launch the students.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
A conversation with Alain Verbeke about how the international business research community should adapt to today’s global context.
*The opinions expressed are the personal opinions of the interviewee and not of the Fox School of Business.
In late 2017, the Fox School of Business hosted the Academy of International Business U.S. Northeast Conference. For the second consecutive year, scholars from around the world—this year, there were representatives from 32 countries—met at Alter Hall to examine and discuss the most pressing issues facing the international business community.
The keynote speaker was Alain Verbeke, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), who talked about corporate globalization and what it means for international business researchers. We connected with Verbeke after the conference to discuss these issues further.
What’s the biggest challenge JIBS, and international business researchers as a whole, now face?
I see JIBS as the last intellectual barrier against the hordes trying to destroy the vestiges of globalization. One problem is that most of the defenders of globalization have a self-interest in globalization. For example, the CEOs of large multinational enterprises want maximum freedom for their firms. Academics who do speak out in favor, are mostly economists, political scientists, and geographers who do not talk to managers of firms. That is what JIBS does—talk to firms. You can’t say anything reasonable about globalization if you don’t know what’s happening at the firm level. And our role is becoming more important in this new global context where the anti-globalization forces are clearly gaining momentum and power.
I don’t like to use the phrase “fake news,” but when we’re talking about the cost and benefits of globalization, there’s an enormous amount of fake news that literally crowds out what is factually correct in terms of the great benefits that typically accrue to countries involved in international exchange. This is a big problem JIBS addresses.
How do you cut through the noise with more reasonable arguments?
Unfortunately, people see problems in their community and they blame others for them. I call this “the new geography of discontent.” Basically, people blame some individual or group or set of people—preferably those who don’t look like them—for all the problems happening in their community. Easily, one third of people in any community—whether rightly or wrongly, or based on fake news or real news—is aligning with populist movements. There’s a renewed, built-in reflex that says, “Nation first.” One positive element that may come from this is more awareness in policy circles about the adjustment costs that will need to be addressed after freer trade deals, freer investment deals, and freer movement of human capital.
What can policy makers do to adjust for the actual detrimental aspects of globalization?
What has been neglected in the past are the forgotten men and women of trade deals. Globalization has led to outcomes that benefit consumers, but also trigger concentrated job losses and vicious cycles of de-clustering. One positive outcome of populist movements may be that the mainstream parties with common sense will think more carefully about how to deal with those dynamic adjustment costs, and how to anticipate them and how to avoid creating unfortunate reservoirs of forgotten people. Workers need to be retrained, re-tooled, and reintegrated into the economy. That doesn’t mean a former steelworker will tomorrow be operating robots, but other things can be done for those individuals and groups. Policy makers must think about what resources are needed to help with each transition.
What’s the role of academic business researchers in all this?
The anti-globalists often turn to that maligned presence of global firms and the supposedly malevolent processes of corporate globalization. The way I see it is that these critics are attacking imaginary enemies—they’re the equivalent of Don Quixote, who said to Sancho Panza, “Look at these monstrous giants, we’re going to defeat them.” But they were looking at windmills. We must teach the Don Quixotes and the Donald Trumps of the world—it is quite interesting how similar their names are, isn’t it? —that it’s not wise, when you have limited time and resources, to attack windmills. This is the responsibility of the international business research community.
Learn more about Fox School Research and International Business.
The automobile industry in Detroit is thriving.
This seems counterintuitive considering all we know about the damaging impact the last four decades of auto industry decline had on the city. But a meaningful transformation happened and automobile firms have found new ways to flourish.
Fox School of Business professor Ram Mudambi has been researching the Detroit auto industry’s transition from a manufacturing center into an innovation hub for many years. His work was recently featured in a New York Times article, “What Happens When the Richest U.S. Cities Turn to the World?,” about how a city’s prosperousness can be determined by how globally connected it is with other cities.
This is true for Detroit’s auto industry, which has become a thriving innovation center due to its robust relationships with other global knowledge hotspots, such as Germany and Japan. However, while innovation and connectedness are thriving, Detroit, which in 2013 became the largest municipality to file for bankruptcy, as a city is not.
“Manufacturing in Detroit is still shrinking along with blue collar jobs,” explains Mudambi. “There’s a quality-quantity disconnect, as there are increasing white collar jobs, but by definition there are fewer of those. When a factory closes, we lose 5,000 blue collar jobs, and then when you open a R&D center, you only create 100 knowledge jobs. That’s been happening in Detroit for decades. In short, this is not a recipe for a healthy metropolitan area. The innovation ecosystem is very healthy, but it has not helped the city very much.”
But there is a possible solution. Mudambi says it’s all about nurturing entrepreneurship and small businesses. He cites Silicon Valley, where thousands of companies start every year, as a healthier alternative. And Seattle, he claims, is Detroit’s most edifying counterpoint.
“America’s future is in the garage,” says Mudambi. “While the auto industry in Detroit has done great innovation-wise, they haven’t done great with the city. But if you look at Seattle, Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing have done great with innovation and with the city. Why? Because they’ve been engines for startups; they’ve put money into starting small companies. GM and Ford haven’t done this—they just look for suppliers, and haven’t thought about creating new businesses. In the last 20 years, those three Seattle companies have been involved with 66,000 startups. That’s where the jobs are. The solution is no longer in these large companies.”
The Seattle example, Mudambi suggests, specifically the unique way companies there have managed to become vanguards of global innovation while simultaneously elevating the conditions of the city itself, is one other U.S. firms and policymakers should take seriously.
“The U.S. is getting a winner-loser economy where you have winner locations and growing cities, like Silicon Valley and Seattle and Austin, and hinterland areas, like Appalachia and Flint, Michigan,” says Mudambi. “They’re falling further behind and they’re not happy about it. We can’t ignore these places, so we need to find smart ways to address these challenges. The knee-jerk reactions we’re seeing now from some people, saying America needs to cut itself off from the world, are losing solutions. The answers must be in the direction of building skills, knowledge, and more connectivity, and making more informed policy decisions. If we can fix these struggling cities, then we will be on our way to fixing the economy as a whole.”
Learn more about Fox School Research and International Business.
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.
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.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
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.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
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.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Fox School of Business Professor Dr. Ram Mudambi and his team of researchers received a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host the First International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation (iBEGIN) Conference at the Fox School. It was preceded by workshops in 2013 and 2014.
The two-day conference, held Nov. 13-14 at Fox’s Alter Hall, was sponsored by the NSF, with support from Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the Fox School Institute for Global Management Studies. It was aimed, Mudambi said, toward using research from his team’s iBEGIN initiatives as the foundation for a long-lasting research community focused on the intersection of the three fields of international business, economic geography, and technology/innovation studies.
“In a very deep sense, all society is based upon human connections. We’re social animals,” said Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management and Perelman Senior Research Fellow at Fox. “This conference applied that theory to the sphere, and business and economics. We developed the concept that the human experience is built on human socialization, and use it to understand how connections across space create value.”
The conference featured three keynote speakers, who addressed attendees Nov. 14 in an open-to-the-public setting. The keynotes included:
- Dr. John Cantwell, Rutgers University, Distinguished Professor of Management and Global Business, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies
- Dr. Harald Bathelt, University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair Professor in Innovation and Governance, and editor of Journal of Economic Geography
- Dr. Mark Lorenzen, Copenhagen Business School, Professor of Innovation and Organizational Economics, and Director of the Danish Research Unit of Industrial Dynamics (DRUID)
“These three keynote speakers have been great supporters of our iBEGIN work, and I could not have been more delighted to host them,” Mudambi said. “John is the editor of the top international business journal, Harald is the editor of the top economic geography journal, and Mark is the director of DRUID, one of the world’s largest research networks in innovation studies. To have them under one roof at one conference was a truly unique opportunity.”
The iBEGIN Conference is being promoted as part of GlobalPhilly 2015, a two-month international exposition, featuring events geared toward the promotion of international arts, commerce, education, heritage, and more in Philadelphia. Mudambi said papers were submitted to the conference from all over the world, including from: Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States government, the United States Federal Reserve, and more.
Mudambi’s ongoing iBEGIN initiative is a collaborative effort with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, Henley Business School at the University of Reading (UK), and many others.
The next research project on the horizon for Mudambi and his globally dispersed research team involves battery power, a progression of yet another long-running iBEGIN segment on renewable energy and sustainability. The team has documented the important role that emerging economies like China and India are playing in the innovative landscape of the wind turbine industry, but batteries are the key to unlocking the potential of these renewable energy technologies.
“Batteries are the steam engine of our age,” Mudambi said. “We have ways to produce energy, but we have no way to harness it and store it. Today, if we had to run our planet on stored battery power, we could run perhaps 1 percent of our power applications. Imagine if you could run the whole planet on batteries. It’s a problem that, once solved, will revolutionize society.”
–Christopher A. Vito
Roughly 800,000 people flooded Philadelphia in late September for a visit from Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families, a global gathering of Catholics.
So… now what?
An event jointly sponsored by Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) and Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) considered that very question.
Gathering Philadelphia’s leading minds in tourism, international business, and government at its event, titled, “The World Meeting of Families is Gone: Now What?”, STHM and CIBER aimed to address how Philadelphia could leverage the international exposure and media focus it received from the World Meeting of Families in order to further its status as an elite host for future global events.
“This was our finest hour and it can be again,” said Pat Ciarrocchi, the event’s keynote speaker and a longtime Philadelphia news anchor who covered the World Meeting of Families.
“The World Meeting of Families brought Pope Francis to Philadelphia and, along with him, more than 15,000 reporters representing media outlets from around the world,” said Dr. Elizabeth H. Barber, STHM Associate Dean. “This event generated an unparalleled level of visibility to viewing audiences that wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to what Philadelphia has to offer. In order to best capitalize on the tourism opportunity created by the World Meeting of Families, we as a city will need to maintain the open dialogue we’re initiating today through this event.”
In examining the future of a post-Pope Francis Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) CEO and President Jack Ferguson nodded to the efforts by Desiree Peterkin Bell, director of communications for the Office of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the Mayor’s Office, and Visit Philadelphia in building upon the city’s strengths.
“We can dissect this forever, but what we will learn is what works,” Ferguson said.
In the days and weeks following the WMOF, Ferguson said he observed how the event boosted the reputation of the city’s businesses, for how well they worked with a large influx of tourist traffic. This positive interaction, Ferguson said, won over consumers.
To do that, Meryl Levitz said she designed a faith-based marketing strategy that invited those looking for love and family with the pope to experience it in Center City, too.
“We watched, we listened, and we helped tell Philadelphia’s story,” said Levitz, CEO and President of Visit Philadelphia of the campaign that featured local catholic organizations, bible studies and family-friendly events.
For Brian Said, executive director of the Tourism Division of PHLCVB, Bell’s efforts to remove the walls between the pope and those wishing to see him resonated with Philadelphia’s foreign visitors. Accessibility to Pope Francis, according to Said, was what put Philadelphia on the map as a global city that is welcoming to all.
“We cannot arm-wrestle New York, and we cannot arm wrestle D.C.,” he said. “We have to work together to show Philadelphia is both safe and fun.”
Zabeth Teelucksingh, executive director for Global Philadelphia, looks forward to that “next great event,” as Ferguson called it. Global Philadelphia works to show foreign travelers the city’s significance as a birthplace of democracy and innovation. Philadelphia has the potential to be the next World Heritage City, which Teelucksingh said is a highly marketable title in countries looking to experience a quintessentially America city. Should Philadelphia become the next World Heritage City, it will enjoy increased property value, stature and economic gains, Teelucksingh said.
All of the event’s panelists agreed that the city’s next steps must be geared toward reminding the world that Philadelphia has successfully managed a world-class event once, and is capable of doing so yet again.
“No one else could have been at the helm of this event,” Bell said. “We’ve done big events and we do big events well. We’re on the map.”
During a 20-year span, from 1994 to 2013, Chinese outbound tourism increased 16 fold, reaching 98.2 million.
A new book that details the latest trends in outbound travel from China has been published, with Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li of Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) serving as its editor.
Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at STHM, Li acted as the primary editor of the 23-chapter book, titled “Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0.” The book, published in November 2015 by Apple Academic Press, melds the world’s leading authors and tourism experts to examine their research findings and offer insights on the blossoming Chinese outbound travel market and its tourists.
“Chinese outbound tourism is changing the world’s tourism landscape,” said Li, a Washburn Senior Research Fellow at Temple University. “We are witnessing one of the most spectacular phenomena in the modern tourism history unfold in front of us. It is exciting to study the Chinese outbound tourism. ”
“Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0” appeals to a wide audience of academics, destination marketers, destination policymakers, tourism-industry professionals, and world travelers. The book offers a thorough examination of the fast-growing Chinese outbound tourist market, which as recently as 1994 registered only 6.1 million trips.
China is now the world’s largest tourism source market.
Chinese travelers in recent years have demonstrated a greater willingness to visit unfamiliar destinations, Li said, growing more value conscious and technologically savvy. This second wave of Chinese travelers is why he coined the term “Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0.” He also points to Mercedes-Benz launching its premium travel service brand, called Mercedes-Benz Travel, in Shanghai; InterContinental Hotels Group designing the Hualuxe brand specifically for Chinese consumers; and China’s Wanda Hotels & Resorts building a 5-star hotel in London as further evidence to support the growth in Chinese outbound tourism.
“Any future historian looking back at when China began to dominate travel and tourism at home and abroad may well pinpoint 2014-15 as a turning point,” said David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, who wrote the book’s foreword. “China will become increasingly central to our sector’s growth over the next decade. … We applaud Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li and his colleagues’ insightful discussion on the latest development and trends of Chinese outbound tourism.”
Li, whose research focuses mainly on international destination marketing and tourism behavior, is the author or co-author of more than 120 publications. Many of his publications have appeared in top-tier tourism, business, leisure and hospitality journals, such as theJournal of Tourism Research, Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management and Journal of Business Research.
He serves on the editorial boards of more than 10 journals and book series, including the Journal of Travel Research and Journal of Leisure Research. To date, he has been awarded over $1.25 million in research funding from numerous prestigious foundations, government agencies, destination marketing organizations and companies.
Fox’s Ram Mudambi hosts NSF-sponsored iBEGIN Conference
Click here to view the December 2015 issue
Discussed in this issue:
• NSF iBegin Conference
• Regulating Emotions
• Social Media Branding
As soon as Philadelphia was announced as the home of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, faculty members in Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) began making appearances in the regional media to share expertise and analysis.
STHM Associate Dean and Associate Professor Elizabeth H. Barber joined the Fox29 set near Independence Mall for an extended live conversation with anchor Lucy Noland about the convention. The cascading benefits to the city and the hospitality industry will extend far beyond economic opportunity, Barber said, noting that nearly 5,000 new jobs were created in Charlotte when that city hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
“And when people come to Philadelphia and see what a wonderful city this is, they’ll tell their friends—and they’ll come back,” said Barber, who also spoke with NBC10 reporter Cydney Long in Mitten Hall.
CBS3 reporter David Spunt sat in on a class discussion about the convention and its impact on the hospitality industry led by STHM Assistant Professor Ira Rosen. Rosen also provided visitation projections to The Philadelphia Daily News, shared his thoughts on the next mayor’s role in the city’s ascent in the hospitality industry with WHYY/NewsWorks and discussed the social impact of the convention with The Delaware County Daily Times.
Rosen said that Philadelphia’s reputation for planning and executing blockbuster events, from the Made in America concerts to the Philadelphia Flower Show, has grown since 2000, when the city hosted the Republican National Convention.
“The RNC was a huge crapshoot. It was a big roll of the dice,” Rosen told WHYY/NewsWorks. “And the city has done great on every major event since.”
STHM Professor Wesley Roehl spoke with PhillyVoice.com—a new player in the Philadelphia media market—underscoring the 2000 convention’s role in setting the stage for 2016.
“There had been a lot of investment in the hotel sector and in Center City,” Roehl said. “The 2000 RNC was the city’s coming out party.”
Temple University’s Center for International Business Education (CIBE) has joined exclusive company.
Temple CIBE at the Fox School of Business is one of only 17 such centers in the country to have had its grant-renewal proposal approved for federal funding from the United States Department of Education. Temple is the only university in the Greater Philadelphia region and in Pennsylvania to have received funding for CIBE.
“This grant renewal demonstrates Temple University and the Fox School’s place among the country’s leading centers of international business,” said Rebecca Geffner, Director of Temple CIBE. “The education, outreach and research opportunities afforded by this grant are immeasurable.”
The international business institute is scheduled to receive federal funding for four more years. The grant, announced in September, allows for $250,000 annually. This represents the fourth such grant for Temple CIBE, a fixture at the university since its inception in 2002.
“Temple won the CIBE grant in the face of increased competition, and a shrinking government budget that saw the number of CIBE institutes cut from 33 to 17,” said Dr. Ram Mudambi, Executive Director and Principal Investigator of Temple CIBE. “This award is a testament to Temple’s excellent performance over the last three grant cycles, as well as a good current grant proposal.”
Temple CIBE has plans to implement more than 50 activities in areas such as the teaching of improved international business curriculum, critical language instruction, research in innovation, patents and new growth markets, study abroad, business outreach and partnerships with community colleges and minority serving institutions. All of the activities are designed to improve American competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty and staff.
“The renewal of this prestigious grant continues to affirm the Fox School’s vital role in producing cutting-edge international business research, promoting international ideas within our community and fostering worldwide learning among our students and faculty,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “Once again, the Fox School and Temple are being recognized as destinations for global engagement.”
The latest grant will help support expansion of short-term study abroad programming into parts of Asia including South Korea and Japan, where the Fox school currently has partnerships, as well as other emerging markets. Additionally, the grant will create opportunities for junior and senior faculty at Fox to enhance and expand their research within the international business field, either through international collaboration or travel. Finally, the Center will create knowledge in international business education through two main research initiatives: Temple Knowledge Maps, a project conducted by Dr. Ram Mudambi, which seeks to geographically map the locales of innovation around the world and the connectivity of global innovation networks; and Advancing U.S. Competitiveness in the Context of Emerging Innovation Models, spearheaded by Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, which studies how Western businesses shape their entry into emerging markets and how that entry in turn shapes them.
Grant renewal also will allow for continued external partnerships between Temple CIBE and the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, among others, as well as with local community colleges.
“Our work with these and other partners in the region allows us to reach a large constituency to promote U.S. competitiveness overseas and international trade, to sponsor training programs on topics such as automated export compliance standards and intellectual property regulations and to develop impactful programming around current international business issues,” Geffner said, “This new round of CIBE funding will allow us to not only continue to foster those relationships, but expand upon them in even more meaningful ways.”
“The recent CIBE grant renewal for an additional four years both underscores and reflects Temple’s leadership in international business,” added Dr. Arvind Parkhe, Chair of Fox School’s Strategic Management department. “In international business research, teaching, external partnerships, and community impact, Temple continues to set the standard of excellence and innovation.”
Fox School’s EMBA program is ranked No. 2 nationally for international course experience by Financial Times, and U.S. News & World Report ranks Fox’s undergraduate program in international business No. 13 in the nation.
The Academy of International Business (AIB) held its annual global business conference in Vancouver, British Columbia from June 23-26, and a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business did not leave empty handed.
Dr. Amir Shoham, Associate Professor of Finance at the Fox School of Business, received the SSE/WAIB Award for Increased Gender Awareness in International Business Research in recognition of his research paper entitled, “Do Female/Male Distinctions in Language Influence Microfinance Outreach to Women?” The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and the Women in AIB (WAIB) sponsored the award.
Shoham set out to find a different solution for cultural dimensions than the commonly used survey-based measures. He studied the structure of languages in general and gender marking, particularly in grammar.
“Today’s research that is conducted is mostly survey-based and it’s extremely problematic,” said Shoham. “I wanted to find an alternate way and did so based on language that focused on culture and gender.”
Shoham also collected data based off financial records released from Microfinance Organizations (MFOs) in various countries around the world. MFOs provide financial services to individuals or small businesses in low-income areas, where traditional banking is a scarce resource.
In conjunction with his three co-authors – Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, of France’s ESSEC Business School; Isreal Drori, of the College of Management and Academic Studies in Israel; and Ronny Manos, of Cranfield University in the United Kingdom – Shoham discovered that language influences hybrid organizations’ management of its dual missions.
“The empirical evidence from MFOs’ outreach strategy toward females helped to analyze whether language’s influence depends on MFOs’ profit orientation and the consequences this has for whether there is a tradeoff between outreach and sustainability or whether they are compatible,” said Shoham. “The main finding is that the sustainability and outreach tradeoffs depend on how organizations treat societal attributes when defining their outreach strategy.”
Nonprofit MFOs define a universal mission of outreach that does not selectively interact with social attributes, Shoham said. For-profit MFOs build outreach strategies that target female borrowers. This occurs more frequently, he said, in countries where gender roles are unfavorable toward women.
The SSE/WAIB award is extremely selective, so much so that the award was not bestowed upon anyone in 2013. When their names were announced, Shoham and his co-authors were proud to know that their hard work had paid off.
“When your work is recognized,” he said, “it’s a great feeling.”
Ash Vasudevan, PhD ’96, describes himself as being driven to make a difference and drawn to the unknown.
Case in point: He co-founded a nationwide talent search in India to find the next big-league-caliber baseball pitcher in a country where cricket dominates sports. Launched in 2007, that reality TV competition spanned a dozen cities and attracted 35,000 participants.
The theory behind the competition is that innate athletic ability can be applied across sports requiring similar skills, such as from cricket to baseball. It culminated in 18-year-olds Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel—javelin throwers who disliked cricket and had never heard of baseball—becoming the first Indians to sign professional sports contracts in North America (both with the Pittsburgh Pirates).
By now the story might sound familiar. Disney’s Million Dollar Arm—based on the competition of the same name—premieres nationally May 16 with Vasudevan being played by Aasif Mandvi of The Daily with Jon Stewart.
The movie chronicles the first season of Million Dollar Arm, which Vasudevan launched with sports agent JB Bernstein (portrayed by Jon Hamm) and Will Chang, who has ownership stakes in a number of professional teams, including the San Francisco Giants and the D.C. United. Vasudevan, who co-founded Seven Figures Management with Bernstein and Chang, is managing general partner of San Mateo, Calif.–based Edge Holdings, which creates and funds ventures in technology, media and entertainment.
“Life really would be boring if you didn’t take risks,” Vasudevan said of his business philosophy. “I’m drawn to the uncertainty. It’s the tried-and-true methods I don’t find particularly appealing. I like trying something nobody has tried before.”
Vasudevan has been involved in ventures ranging from reQall, a global business focusing on personal-assistance technology, to Gigante, a documentary about Major League Baseball player Andres Torres, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Going to India to find a star pitcher did not resonate with many of Vasudevan’s friends. Some suggested he and his colleagues should recruit in markets such as Japan or South America, which have produced numerous big leaguers, but Vasudevan countered that established scouting systems in those markets are much more likely to identify premier talent, leaving fewer gunslingers available to compete for reality TV.
Production of Season 3 of Million Dollar Arm is expected to start in the fall. Before that, of course, Vasudevan and colleagues will experience what it is like to inspire a feature film and to be portrayed in a movie shown around the world.
“The first time I watched myself on the screen, it was weird,” Vasudevan said of Mandvi’s performance. “To see Jon Hamm addressing my character, and reliving some of those conversations, is a lot of fun. We never imagined we would have such a wonderful global platform to tell our story.”