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.

For 800,000 young immigrants, the future is uncertain.

In August, the Trump Administration rescinded the executive actions that President Obama took to protect minors who illegally immigrated to the United States, not by their own choice, but alongside their parents. Established in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy allowed young immigrants to live, work, and go to college without the fear of deportation.

The Trump Administration maintains that Obama’s actions were unconstitutional, exceeding the scope of the executive branch by effectively changing the country’s laws—a responsibility that rests solely with Congress.

Kevin Fandl, assistant professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School, studied whether that claim is true in his paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” which was accepted for publication by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia.

Fandl reviewed 200 years of case laws and statutes since the founding of the United States to learn what role the president has in enforcing—or ignoring—legislation affecting young immigrants, known as “Dreamers.” His research asks the question: “Does the president have the ability to selectively choose how the law is enforced?”

The president makes an oath to uphold the laws of this country. But, Fandl says, that doesn’t mean he has unlimited capacity to enforce each and every law. The president has the power of prosecutorial discretion—the authority to choose which laws to impose and to what degree—to allocate the resources available, such as budgets or staff, in line with his Administration’s priorities.

“The government is not a business,” says Fandl. “But in this case, you have to look at it from a business perspective and say, ‘This is how we have to dedicate our resources.'”

Fandl relates it to marijuana—an illegal drug by federal law, but legalized or decriminalized in many states. By choosing to not crack down on dispensaries, administrations can reallocate those resources to other issues, like, for example, border security.

In the case of DACA, Obama chose to not enforce immigration laws against individuals brought to this country as children. Fandl says, “Interpreting how the law is enforced is not only within the power of the executive—it is a logical approach to resource management.”

As Fandl’s research of the historical precedence shows, the Trump Administration’s argument against the constitutionality of DACA is flawed. The powers of prosecutorial discretion protect the president’s ability to spend more time or money on enforcing some laws over others.

Fandl’s paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” will be published online by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia in the coming weeks.

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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.

Hilal Atasoy

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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JM
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 - Sports Analytics
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.

Influence

“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.

Gig EconomyKevin 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.

blau-mcclendon-petrucci-collage_2Three 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.

–Mary Salisbury

Ram MudambiFox 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

Zhigen Zhao
Zhigen Zhao

Undeniably, there is a significant amount of time and effort that goes into creating a competitive research proposal that is well received, positively reviewed, and ultimately funded. The drive to be successful is a quality that is innate to Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and Dr. Zhigen Zhao, Assistant Professor of Statistical Science, is a prime example of this ethos. Zhao recently received a prestigious Big Data grant from the National Science Foundation, and expects that the findings from his research will help to revolutionize the way that data is analyzed in modern statistical investigations. From the results of these investigations, Zhao expects that the research will have applications in numerous areas, from elements of microarray gene experiments, to next-generation sequencing, satellite remote sensing, and even to yearly academic progress reports.

Dr. Zhao explained the challenging concept through its relation to a traditional pastry, “Take the Chinese dessert “sesame ball”,” Zhao said. “When putting a certain number of sesames on the surface randomly, packing theories will provide us with a distribution of photo-760717the distance between every sesame seed”. In the study sponsored by NSF, this mathematical method, known as “geometric packing”, will provide the distribution of the distances between points of information.

“The most interesting, but also most challenging problem in big data analysis, is that the number of features grows dramatically concurrent to the evolvement of modern technology,” Zhao said. However complex the research may be, Dr. Zhao and his team are optimistic, and excited, to embark on the quest in hopes of redefining computational sequences in data and information systems.

The ultimate goal of this research is to achieve significant developments that will be utilized not only for Big Data interests, but also made publicly available for use by others. For example, by integrating a solution into software applications designed for mass-market consumer use, this project will truly exemplify the idea of research with a broader impact. Through these efforts, Dr. Zhao believes his research will be an example of how to successfully address Big Data challenges to the benefit of multiple stakeholders.

Sarah Diomande, SMC ‘18