There is a future with no drinkable water. There is a future in which the Amazon is populated with the skeletons of extinct animals and fossils of long-dead plants. There is a future in which humans will struggle to breathe.
It may sound like a distant future in a science fiction novel, but it is an imminent reality. Climate change impacts us in every facet of our lives. Everything we do, everything we eat, how we commute, how much we buy and how we discard it, has an impact on our planet.
Reversing climate change is about changing societal behaviors. As a behavioral scientist, I believe that my field of research—which is focused on understanding human behaviors and decision making—can help positively impact the globe.
To that extent, the Fox School of Business is proud to launch the Sustainability and Social Impact Strategic Initiative. This initiative, which is focused on researching, understanding and designing ways to nudge consumers into adopting sustainable consumption behaviors, is one way we’re moving the needle on climate change.
Focus on Long-Term Benefits
Resistance toward adopting sustainable behaviors often comes from our tendency to focus on short-term benefits, while devaluing long-term, more significant rewards. By understanding how and when consumers focus on future benefits, we can nudge them to change their behaviors around sustainable consumption.
For example, my research has found that when people are reminded of how busy they are, they tend to feel that they are valuable. This leads people to make decisions that are better from a long-term perspective–for example, being more likely to save money for the future than spending money on indulgences today.
Another reason why people don’t adopt sustainable behaviors is that many feel a decreased sense of emotional attachment with nature and have begun to treat it as a separate entity. Building a more emotional relationship with nature might motivate people to place a greater focus on sustainable behaviors.
In my research, I am working on simple interventions that encourage the public to build positive memories with nature, such as inviting them to take pictures of their favorite outdoor spots in their neighborhood. This simple activity can make people feel more connected to nature, thus motivating them to adopt behaviors that are good for the environment in general.
Behavioral Science for Policy Change
Behavioral science does not only help design compelling interventions aimed at encouraging sustainable consumption. It can also help increase the effectiveness of government programs.
Take sustainable advertising, for example. Through my research, I found that people can imagine a danger more vividly when the message communicates a single risk as opposed to multiple risks. This insight can help policymakers, who spend a significant amount of money on sustainable advertising. Ensuring that these messages only communicate a single risk can result in an increased likelihood that readers will adopt the desired behaviors.
At the Fox School, we understand our responsibility as global citizens to create a positive impact on the world. The Sustainability and Social Impact Initiative is committed to acting on that sense of responsibility by focusing on research aimed at encouraging sustainable consumption and working with communities to implement these behavioral interventions.
Cleaner Actions for a Cleaner World: 8 Simple Ways to Live Greener At Home
- Switch one (or more!) appliance to an energy efficient model
- Visit your local farmers market for groceries and produce
- Cancel your paper statements
- Unplug chargers and appliances when not in use
- Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers
- Reuse scrap paper
- When driving, combine all your errands for the week in one trip
- Donate your old clothes and furniture to thrift stores instead of throwing them away
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Stay up-to-date on Fox School research at fox.temple.edu/idea-marketplace.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially in education.
For years, academics and business executives alike have questioned whether the insights from business school research conducted are getting into the hands of those who need it. The debate about “rigor versus relevance” is age-old. While the answer may seem simple, the process of getting there is complex.
The Fox School of Business is committed to pushing this conversation forward. On Friday, March 29, the Fox School’s Translational Research Center (TRC) hosted the 2019 Impact Summit, bringing together deans, faculty and students from across disciplines and parts of the world to determine how schools can move the needle of impact in tangible ways.
The attendees sought to answer the question: How can business school leadership change the way research is conceived, produced and implemented to prioritize impact?
These are five lessons business school leaders can apply:
1. Start at the top. “It takes time to re-engineer a school at a systems level,” said Tarun Khanna, a professor at the Harvard Business School. However, a top-down perspective is key to encouraging institutional change.
Jerry Davis, associate dean at the Ross School of Business, highlighted the University of Michigan’s experiments with the promotion process. By making research impact a more significant part of an associate professor’s evaluation, he advised, deans can use promotion structures to affect change in the way their faculty conduct research. Getting top business schools across the country to agree on a new evaluation structure would be even more influential.
2. Instill impact’s importance early. The attendees also discussed tackling the issue of impact from the opposite side—starting with junior faculty and doctoral students. Elizabeth Cowley, deputy dean of the University of Syndey, said that in Australia, “faculty are encouraged to build a narrative of the long-term impact [they] have had on some sector of society.” Attendees agreed, remarking on the importance of letting junior faculty members define for themselves how they would want to make an impact and develop a strategy based on that objective. With doctoral students, the starting point should be their research questions—advisors should ask if it is grounded in a real-life phenomenon and has relevance in the business world.
3. Systematically engage with business. “Business leaders tend to look at our schools primarily as labor markets for sourcing the MBAs and business graduates,” said Joanne Li, dean of the business school at Florida International University. “We need to help them recognize us as knowledge markets as well. We are able to produce expert knowledge vital for their business growth and survival.”
Brent Beardsley, the chief strategy officer at Vanguard, talked about the value of an advisory board made up of executives, entrepreneurs and academics. “That mix is really rich,” he said. “This is a lab outside of the walls of Vanguard’s large institution that can get out in front of market trends and themes.”
Participants championed the creation of a brokerage platform between companies and universities that could connect those who have real problems to those working on practical solutions. Simple activities like business sabbaticals for faculty, corporate engagement in research projects and programs like Fox Management Consulting can help faculty to better define their research questions.
4. Use teaching as a tool. One speaker suggests a change in vocabulary to underscore the importance of teaching. “We shouldn’t be referring to a ‘teaching load,’ said Gautam Ahuja of SC Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. “It’s not a load, it’s a tool.” Academic leadership can encourage faculty to step into the shoes of learners, focus on practical insights in the classrooms and foster intellectual questions with relevance. Stronger connections to industry, through practitioner conferences, relationships with practice faculty and co-teaching with executives can also benefit classroom outcomes.
5. Be a community hub. Business schools will also benefit from a stronger community connection. “We should be known by the community where they can come to get ideas,” said Will Mitchell, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Attendees brainstormed ways to make research more accessible but noted that faculty will need different reward structures and training to bring that to fruition. Ideas like three-minute presentations or one-page summaries of academic papers can help get ideas out of academia and into the real world.
Ronald Anderson, interim dean of the Fox School, remarked at the end of the day that a lot was learned. “Disruption is going to have to be part of the process,” he said. “Technology and innovation are changing higher education, and research is going to have to address that.”
The event, a follow-up to the 2018 Editors’ Summit, is part of a series of initiatives by the TRC to change how both academics and practitioners view business research. Other activities have included the TRC’s Seminar Series, which invites executives to share their viewpoints on faculty research presentations, and case writing workshops, which encourage faculty members to learn and perfect their skills in writing and submitting teaching cases for publication.
Learn more about the Fox School’s Translational Research Center.
Home-sharing has revolutionized the lodging market. Today, digital platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway are popular choices over conventional hotel stays. With the industry expanding exponentially over the past decade, home-sharing lodging is expected to reach $107 billion—or 10% of total accommodation bookings in the country—by 2025.
So what makes Airbnbs so popular? Three researchers from the Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management sought to answer that question.
In a study recently published in Tourism Management, Assistant Professor Yang Yang, PhD student Karen Tan and Professor Xiang (Robert) Li used a dataset from a nationwide household tourism survey to better understand this growing segment of American travelers.
“First, we looked into what segment of consumers choose Airbnbs over conventional hotel stays,” Yang says. The researchers studied five broad categories of user-motivations: tripographics (including the purpose of the trip, nights of stay, expenditure, children companions, and group size), past travel experiences, tech savviness, socio-demographics (such as age and education) and destination characteristics (like home-sharing supply and crime rate).
“Airbnbs are selected by travelers with particular needs,” Yang notes. “Tourists who are younger, more tech-savvy and traveling with a large group size were the leading users.” Some of the other characteristics common across most users included travel for leisure purposes, itineraries planned in advance, interest in local cultural activities and the presence of personal vehicles during the trip.
The rate of crime in the destination was an important determinant in the choice of stay as well. “Travelers are less likely to stay in Airbnbs when there are crime-related security concerns,” Yang says. “Hosts and platforms should consider ways to mitigate tourists’ fear of crime, such as the introduction of home safety features, methods of crime prevention or even by offering insurance coverage.”
Yang highlights that their study challenges the popular stereotype that travelers choose Airbnbs mainly because they are cost-effective. “We did not find any significant effects of household income and price differences between hotels and Airbnbs on tourists’ choices,” Yang says. Based on this insight, he thinks that any price wars between hotels and Airbnbs would not be beneficial for either group.
The researchers also investigated the effect on the guests’ experiences when staying in Airbnbs versus a hotel. “Trip satisfaction did not differ between the two groups,” says Yang, “but the perceived value of the trip was significantly higher in the home-sharing group.”
That additional sense of value experienced by the users reflected the extra benefits that they received in Airbnbs that were not met in a traditional hotel setting. Yang says, “Facilities such as household amenities, extra space, experience authenticity and host-guest interactions were some of the key reasons.”
Karen Tan, a PhD student in the department and a co-author of the paper, believes that Airbnbs do not necessarily jeopardize the business of hotels. “Home-sharing may very well appeal to a segment of the population that previously didn’t travel as much,” she says. “Peer-to-peer accommodation could just be making the lodging pie larger.”
Much of the optimism underlying the projected growth of home-sharing lodging arguably lies in its untapped potential. “As the market for Airbnb grows,” says Yang, “hotels should not compete on lower prices, but rather focus on aspects that deliver greater value to guests.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, by 2050 the world’s population will have an estimated 9.1 billion people, and food production will need to expand by 70 percent in order to match the increased rate of consumption. The future of food security is in the hands of consumers and producers and what they can do to create sustainable food systems to account for the predicted growth.
On a smaller scale, agriculture in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region is facing some changes to its operations. Design thinking might not be top of mind for agriculture, but approaching solutions through these practices yields some fresh insights for a healthy food system.
Marilyn Anthony, director of business development for Fox Management Consulting, and the Vice President and Agricultural Lending Manager of Ephrata National Bank William Kitsch teamed up to lead an interactive workshop for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (NESAWG) annual “It Takes a Region Conference” held in Philadelphia October 26 and October 27th, 2018.
Anthony’s and Kitsch’s workshop, “Here’s the Data: Let’s Design the Solutions,” used principles of design thinking to encourage participants to create consumer and user-oriented solutions to obstacles facing farmers and producers. “What surprised me was that everyone found a topic that they are passionate about and wanted to work on,” Anthony said. “We asked our workshop audience to think from the perspective of a user, someone who could benefit from or who could participate in Pennsylvania’s strategic recommendations and to think about how they could connect.”
Anthony and Kitsch presented the results of a research study, led by Temple University’s Fox Management Consulting group, a cohort of OMBA students, and the Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm E-consult Solutions, exploring 10 sectors of agriculture in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and Team Pennsylvania funded the research project, forming the basis for PDA’s strategic recommendations. The resulting six strategic initiatives focused on improving the branding and marketing, infrastructure of processing and manufacturing, business climate, workforce development and educational opportunities, and diversity of products within food systems in order to create more opportunities for Pennsylvania growers and producers.
Kelly Kundratic, the Manager of Agriculture Policy and Programs for Team Pennsylvania, took an active role in the workshop. “Learning the design thinking process and really stepping back, thinking from a place of empathy, looking at these goals, that’s something that I use now as much as I can,” Kundratic explains. “It can be time consuming, but really reframes how I’ll approach helping government and industry move together to act upon these six strategic initiatives. Trying to be empathetic and use the design thinking model will help me be able to do my job more effectively.”
Emphasizing the core take-away from the workshop, Anthony explains, “what was very valuable and useful was getting people to think about who, other than themselves, might be in that space and to begin to generate some ideas for how they could make an impact.”
Workshop participants brought their experience and perspectives from Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Many participants actively work to create more accessible and equitable food system as educators, nonprofit advocates, and funders.
Founded in 1992, NESAWG is a network of more than 500 organizations across Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. It works with
organizations and individuals involved in every sector of sustainable agriculture from farming and ecology to architecture and social services to garner awareness and support for the creation of just, sustainable food systems.
Are you interested in learning about sustainability topics? Check out “BlockChain Technology for Sustainable Procurement” in the Fox Video Vault.
Consumers today are heavily dependent on online reviews to make informed choices about what to buy. In fact, studies show that as many as 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before making financial decisions, and nearly 70 percent trust these opinions.
Given their importance, how do you tell if the reviews are from genuine customers?
Subodha Kumar, director of the Center for Data Analytics and professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, developed an approach to detect fake reviewers on online digital platforms. In his paper published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Kumar proposes an algorithm that analyzes the behavior of reviewers on a set of key features to help differentiate between the real and the fake.
“A user who reads a negative review of a restaurant is likely to trust the message, even though it was written by a stranger,” Kumar says. “One convincing review can often persuade consumers to shift their brand loyalty or drive several extra miles to try a new sandwich shop.”
This gives firms a strong incentive to influence their online review ratings. “Business owners inject their public ratings with a positive bias,” says Kumar. “They use fake accounts or paid reviewers to either promote their offering or strategically denounce competitors’ products.”
In studying a dataset from Yelp, a popular restaurant review platform, Kumar observed a striking difference in the way spammers interact on online platforms. “Even though individual reviews by a spammer may look genuine, collectively we can capture anomalies in the review patterns,” Kumar says, “In fact, they are remarkably skewed.”
By analyzing this pattern of behaviors, Kumar’s approach to detecting review manipulation can not only improve the experience of consumers across industries but also increase the credibility of reviewing platforms like Yelp.
Kumar considers six distinct features of every review in the data set:
- Review gap: Spammers are usually not longtime members of a site, unlike genuine reviewers who use their accounts from time to time to post reviews. Thus, if reviews are posted over a relatively long timeframe, it suggests normal activity. But when all reviews are posted within a short burst, it indicates suspicious behavior.
- Review count: Paid users generally generate more reviews than unpaid users. In other cases to avoid being detected or blacklisted, a spammer could post very few reviews from one account and create a new account.
- Rating entropy: Spammers mostly post extreme reviews since their goal is either to artificially improve a particular company’s rating or to bring a bad reputation to its competitors. This results in high entropy—or drastic randomness—in fake users’ ratings.
- Rating deviation: Spammers are likely to deviate from the general rating consensus. If genuine users fairly outnumber spammers, it is easy to detect instances where a user’s rating deviates greatly from the average ratings from other users.
- Timing of review: One strategy spammers may use is to post extremely early after a restaurant’s opening in order to maximize the impact of their review. Early reviews can greatly impact a consumers’ sentiment on a product and, in turn, impact sales.
- User tenure: Fake reviewers tend to have short-lived accounts characterized by a relatively large number of reviews and handles, usernames or aliases designed to avoid detection.
After considering these variables individually, the algorithm then looks into the way the variables interact with each other. It employs techniques like supervised machine learning and accounts for the overall review behavior of a user to provide a robust and accurate analysis.
Kumar’s methodology can also be deployed to post the information of the spammers in real-time. Digital platforms like Yelp could develop a spam score using these key features for each reviewer and share it with business owners and consumers, who can subsequently be tagged or filtered.
“The issue of opinion spamming in online reviews is not going away and detecting the perpetrators is not easy,” says Kumar. But developments in approaches like these, he says, “offer great insights to businesses, allowing them to create more effective marketing strategies based on the sheer volume of genuine, user-contributed consumer reviews.”
The season of giving has been productive for the Fox School of Business. In the spirit of the holidays, the Fox School faculty and staff came up with creative ways to give back to Philadelphia and the Temple community.
Filling “Purses of Hope” for Local Women’s Shelters
For their annual We Give Back event, the Fox School and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) marketing and communications team donated to local charity Purses of Hope. This organization delivers purse donations to women’s shelters in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area housing women in poverty or seeking refuge from abusive partners and toxic households. Each purse is filled with female hygiene, beauty or clothing products. The team was able to donate 100 purses to women in need!
Bartending Deans and Student Scholarship Donations
On Dec. 10, the Fox School and STHM faculty and staff came together to celebrate a successful fall semester and give back to Temple University students. From 5-7 p.m., Dean Anderson and the rest of the Fox School dean’s served as guest bartenders at Interstate Draft House in Fishtown. All tips and $1 of every draft beer was donated to the Temple student scholarship fund, which helps provide accessibility and excellent education for students across all walks of life.
Have a suggestion for a great nonprofit or charitable organization that should be on our radar? Contact us!
A board of directors plays a crucial role in determining the success of any organization and is largely responsible for major strategic decisions. However, females in these top management roles are often underrepresented. Without women on boards, companies are losing out—not only on talented leaders, but also on different perspectives of business. This raises the question: in what ways do companies with women on the board perform differently than companies with all-male boards?
Prior research suggests there are gender differences in risk-taking decisions, with many researchers supporting that women are more sensitive to risk than men. However, Ofra Bazel-Shoham, research assistant professor in the Department of Finance at the Fox School, reconsiders the implications of this conclusion.
Bazel-Shoham argues that female leaders change the way business is being done in her paper, “The Effect of Board Gender Diversity on R&D.” She looked at boards’ decisions regarding high-risk, high-reward investment decisions, as well as their professional behavior, to understand the differences in outcomes that gender-diverse boards produce. The research recently won the Best Paper Award at the 2018 Engaged Management Scholarship Conference, hosted by Temple University this September. The award was sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University.
As a proxy for analyzing risk-taking decisions, Bazel-Shoham used choices around research and development (R&D), often a potentially risky yet highly rewarding investment. “It requires upfront resources and has a very low probability of success,” she says.
Bazel-Shoham, who is also the academic director of Fox School’s new part-time MBA Program in Conshohocken, collected data from CEOs and board members in 44 countries and over a period of 16 years. The gender disparity was already obvious, as she notes in her sample only 2% of all CEOs and 9% of all board members were female.
The study found that while the direct correlation between the number of women on boards and the number of investments in R&D was negative, women were more likely to focus on monitoring performance, which ends up incentivizing risky but data-driven decisions. Bazel-Shoham says, “As female leaders put more emphasis on monitoring, gender-diverse boards were able to quantify and measure their decisions better than all-male boards.”
Bazel-Shoham elucidates this argument by analyzing the behavior of female directors who are most often outnumbered by their male counterparts. Her interviews with female leaders suggest that being in a minority puts more pressure on women to not make mistakes and make data-driven decisions.
She elaborates, “We realized that female directors felt they were ‘under a magnifying glass’ most of the time and were judged more stringently than their male colleagues.” This made them make more conservative decisions, which usually translated into making lesser high-risk R&D investments. However, teams that quantified their results better supported performance-based compensation where incentives are measurable and dependent on the actual outcome rather than on vaguely defined promises.
Organizations often use performance-based incentives to motivate managers to make riskier but potentially profitable long-term investing decisions. Bazel-Shoham says, “We observed that such remuneration systems encourage CEOs and senior management to engage in more R&D activities.” With women involved, boards more often supported this form of compensation, in affect encouraging managers to make more of these investments. Bazel-Shoham found that these actions successfully mitigated women’s effect of being more risk-averse.
Besides indirectly increasing R&D spending, Bazel-Shoham notes having even one woman on the board of directors significantly influences how the board behaves, the decisions it makes and their resulting outcomes. To illustrate this, she quotes an experience of a male CEO of a large educational organization. “The women directors read all the materials ahead of time, have specific questions and are more professional than the others,” he says. “They have changed the organizational culture of the board. The men, in turn, have started to prepare themselves better as well.”
Underrepresentation of women on boards of directors continues to be a pressing issue to shareholders and society at large. However, organizations are slowly understanding the strategic importance of leveraging a more diverse top management team. With rapidly changing market dynamics, leveraging the power of gender diversity is beneficial for the long-term success of businesses.
Remember the last time you donated warm clothes to a homeless shelter and felt good about yourself? Or that time your friends helped you get through a difficult life problem after which you couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude towards them?
A lot of traditional research has been done on why people help and how they feel after helping. You Jin Kim, assistant professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School, goes beyond just that by exploring the role of the recipient of the help. Her research emphasizes how demonstrating gratitude, as well as the helper’s feelings of pride, interact to encourage repeated helping.
In her paper, “A Dyadic Model of Motives, Pride, Gratitude, and Helping,” which was accepted for publication by the Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Kim demonstrates that the motives of the helper interact to predict pride via initial helping whereas recipient attributions of helper motives predict recipient gratitude in response to being helped. This interaction of emotions (i.e., pride and gratitude) influences any subsequent helping by the helper, making them both active members of the social exchange.
Kim points out that the helper’s motives drive their initial actions. She highlights two positive motives: “autonomous motives,” where individuals help because they value doing so, and “other-oriented motives,” where individuals help because of their concern for others. These motives often lead to voluntary helping that is intended to benefit others.
These motives affect the perception of the recipient and the level of appreciation they feel. “Recipients seek information about helpers and helping contexts because they seek to understand why others help them,” Kim reasons. For example, an employee might choose to cover a shift for a sick worker because he or she truly cares about the coworker’s welfare, leading to the recipient attribute this action to the helper’s selfless (what Kim classifies as autonomous or other-oriented) motives. In such interactions, the recipient feels more gratitude toward the helper.
Kim also considers that the motives may not always be altruistic. She elaborates, “They could be doing it because of impression management, career enhancement motives, and not truly directed towards benefitting others.” For example, a helper could choose to teach a peer a new skill with the goal of transferring an undesirable task to this peer. Such interactions fail to evoke the feeling of pride or gratitude in either party.
Kim highlights cases where, although the helping motive was genuine and the helpers experienced authentic pride, they did not engage in repeated helping unless recipients expressed their gratitude. “Unlike economic exchanges, social exchange returns are not specified in advance, and so reciprocity is not guaranteed,” says Kim. “A simple ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference.” Thus expressing gratitude is very crucial in encouraging the helper to continue helping others in the future, making the recipient an important influencer of the interaction.
The results of these studies have practical implication for managers. “Managers need to understand why helping is being provided and create a work environment where employees do not feel pressured to help and that helping is voluntary,” says Kim. “It should not be related to any type of organizational decision, such as a promotion or vacation days.”
Importantly, gratitude also has positive implications for recipients. Kim says, “Managers also need to emphasize the benefits of showing gratitude and encourage recipients to communicate their gratitude when receiving help has been positive.” Such reciprocative interactions create a positive environment at a workplace, subsequently improving the efficiency and lowering the turnover intentions of all employees.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
The “agency theory of the firm,” a way of looking at social interactions in business, says that managers are agents of shareholders. As such, managers must generally make decisions that maximize shareholder profits. Since the Citizens United case in 2010, those decisions have included the right to make unlimited independent political expenditures, under the right to freedom of expression.
So what are the ethical implications of companies making contributions for or against a political candidate? Daniel Isaacs, assistant professor of Legal Studies and academic director in the Fox School, weighs on this question in his article, “When Government Contractors May or May Not Spend Money on Political Speech,” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics.
“There are some situations where it will be in the economic interests of businesses to forgo making independent political expenditures,” says Isaacs. By aligning profit motives with ethical conduct, Isaacs aims to remove barriers to ethical behavior.
Sometimes, however, profits and ethics do not align. In these cases, Isaacs argues that managers may not use the agency theory of the firm as a means to escape their ethical obligations.
For example, says Isaacs, imagine a private prison that is experiencing a reduced number of prisoners due to declining crime rate in the state. The prison has the right to make independent political expenditures on behalf of a candidate that favors laws that would require courts to impose longer prison sentences for all crimes. The outcome of these expenditures and the succeeding election would increase profits for the private prison by ensuring a steady stream of prisoners who will spend more time in jail.
But what happens if maximizing profits for shareholders by making these independent political expenditures leads to profit and unethical outcomes, like longer prison sentences? Does the agency theory allow managers to ignore the ethical situation and simply make money? No, says Isaacs, “because the agency theory relies on the concept that principals must do that which agents dictate.” If that is the case, though, managers cannot act beyond the authority of their principals.
“This relationship between the managers and the shareholders does not dilute the managers’ moral obligation,” Isaacs says. “The agency theory does not grant them an ethical free pass.”
Isaacs says that the shareholders lack the power to authorize managers to make profits in a way that they wouldn’t do themselves. “And managers cannot escape their ethical obligations by claiming that they were just following orders,” he says.
Companies should consider whether it is in their best interests to make independent political expenditures, as forgoing in some cases might make them more appealing. For example, if a company voluntarily waives its right to make independent political expenditures, Isaacs argues that it can use that to its competitive advantage. “One of the risks that at least one private prison identified in its disclosure statement was that the public may change its perception of private prisons,” says Isaacs. “If the public becomes hostile to the concept of private prisons, governments may stop entering into contracts with the corporations—something that a reasonable investor would want to know.”
With the boundaries of profitability, law and ethical obligations blurring in the real world of business, Isaacs’ research works to identify ways in which the market can support ethical decision making. He finds an unexpected friend in agency theory, arguing that the way people justify profit maximization, also serves to demonstrate the limits of shareholder power to engage in or authorize others to undertake such behavior.
“Shareholders and managers, as human beings, have a moral obligation, and desiring profits does not justify all actions of achieving them,” he concludes.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
When looking for a new job, applicants typically consider a large number of organizations,looking for the right fit. Companies do the same, tending to hire job applicants who have similar attributes to those of their incumbents, all other things being equal.
In-Sue Oh, Brian Holtz, and You Jin Kim, three professors in the Fox School of Business’s Department of Human Resources Management, along with two other co-authors, studied why individuals are more likely to be attracted to, selected by, and stay longer in organizations that fit their personality. Their research explored this phenomenon, called the theory of attraction-selection-attrition (ASA), and found that organizations are becoming increasingly homogenous over time.
Their new study examines how different personality traits contribute to ASA processes that promote within‐organization homogeneity and between-organization heterogeneity progression over time. Their article, “Do Birds of a Feather Flock, Fly, and Continue to Fly Together? The Differential and Cumulative Effects of Attraction, Selection, and Attrition on Personality-Based Within-Organization Homogeneity and Between-Organization Heterogeneity Progression over Time,” was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The ASA theory works on multiple levels: first, individuals tend to estimate, consciously or not, the extent of similarity between their own personality and the characteristics of potential employers. Because of this, people are attracted to organizations that best fit their personality and submit employment applications accordingly.
Next, the hiring managers reviewing the applications tend to favor and select those who they believe best fit the organizational characteristics, as well as those who are similar to their own personalities.
When newcomers join the organization, for the next several months up to one year, they evaluate the true fit between the organization and their personality. “People whohave a similar personality to that of their managers are more likely to have a higher chance of promotion. Those who don’t fit their managers’ personality are more likely to be unhappy,” says Oh. Newcomers who feel that they do not fit may decide to leave, this contributing to the level of attrition at the company.
In this study, the researchers tracked the personality profile changes and career trajectories of the employees of three South Korean companies from the manufacturing sector, the banking industry, and the pharmaceutical industry. The researchers used the five‐factor model (FFM) of personality traits—extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness and neuroticism—to determine the employee’s personality.
“Through the process of attraction, selection, and attrition, people at an organization become more homogeneous in terms of their personality,” says Oh. “We showed that through the reduction in the standard deviation in extraversion or other personality traits.”
The study was the first to examine this phenomenon of within‐organization homogeneity, or the similarity of employees’ personalities, over time. This study also examined between‐organization heterogeneity progression over time to see whether and how similar personalities within organizations contributes to inter-firm differences.
In viewing changes over time, the researchers found that selection is most responsible for the within‐organization homogenization, whereas attraction contributes most to between‐organization heterogeneity. In terms of personality traits, the progression of within-organization homogeneity over time was mostly driven by extraversion, but between-organization heterogeneity was influenced by neuroticism.
“Different organizations attract different people, select different people, and retain different people,” says Oh. “Because of that reduction in variance within organizations over time, organizations will become more different [from each other] over time, even within the same sector.”
Overall, this study provides an inside look at how personality functions as human capital resources within organizations and how personalities are unevenly distributed across organizations. This study extends Oh’s previous research on the impact of personality-based human capital resources on firm-level labor productivity and financial performance.
In today’s world, as more companies turn to artificial intelligence and technology to help screen for applicants, understanding the types of employees that are attracted to and will stay with a company are invaluable to human resource managers. By understanding how these processes work over time, the researchers also share insights in terms of human resource management practices.
Learn more about research from the Fox School on the Idea Marketplace.
Faculty at Temple University’s Fox School of Business are among the most-frequently published researchers in the world, according to a recent ranking.
The University of Texas-Dallas Top 100 Business School Research Rankings placed researchers from the Fox School at No. 50 worldwide, No. 42 in North America, and No. 39 among U.S. schools for a four-year cycle, from 2012-2016.
UT-Dallas, which in March unveiled its latest rankings, has tracked research contributions to the 24 leading business journals across all disciplines since 1990.
“It’s an honor to learn that our faculty are among the leaders in making research contributions to the world’s top business journals,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “New, cutting-edge research is at the core of top-notch business education, and our faculty are leading the way in this area.”
“At Fox, our goal is to enhance the contributions and impact of Fox faculty in the world and in the classroom through cutting-edge research,” added Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Senior Associate Dean of Fox’s Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives. “UT-Dallas’ latest rankings demonstrate our commitment to promoting research and building a culture rooted in research that can inform our programs, industry, and society.”
A professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been named one of the most-productive authors in marketing research in the world.
Dr. Xueming Luo is recognized in two separate lists within the American Marketing Association (AMA) 2016 Marketing Research Productivity lists. He ranks No. 11 globally for research publications in the two premier journals – the Journal of Marketing (JM) and the Journal of Marketing Research (JMR). Also, he ranks No. 28 in the world for publications to the four premier marketing journals – JM, JMR, the Journal of Consumer Research, and Marketing Science.
Published in January 2017, the AMA lists acknowledge the top individual contributors to the world’s premier marketing journals over a 10-year period, from 2007-2016.
“I am humbled and honored to have been recognized by the American Marketing Association,” said Luo, the Charles Gilliland Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing. “These four premier journals together are the most influential and hold the highest standards in the entire marketing discipline, and across all streams of research in consumer behavior and quantitative marketing.”
Luo’s research centers on mobile consumer analytics; big data marketing strategies; and social media, marketing models with machine learning, and networks. He serves as founder and director of the Fox School’s Global Center on Big Data and Mobile Analytics, a leading center in the cross-disciplinary domain of big data for business strategies and consumer insights.
He previously has been ranked No. 1 nationally among preeminent scholars in his discipline regarding citations in the top-five marketing journals, from 2006-2010. And from 2011-2015, he ranked among the 20 most-productive authors of research in Premier AMA journals.
Five of the Fox School’s nine academic departments are nationally ranked for overall research productivity. In the 2015-16 academic year, Fox faculty published more than 40 A journal publications, secured more than $5 million in grant funding, and increased new grant funding by nearly $1 million.
Temple University honored two key players in internationalization at its 4th Biennial Celebration of Globalization, held Nov. 9 at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J.
Kailin Tuan, Ph.D., Fox School of Business Professor Emeritus, received the 2016 Global Temple Award for his groundbreaking work in bringing the study of Risk Management and Insurance and Actuarial Science to the People’s Republic of China.
Andrea Canepari, Consul General to Italy in Philadelphia, received the 2016 Global Philadelphia Award for his tremendous impact on internationalizing Philadelphia through the promotion of political, economic, educational and cultural relations between Italy and our region.
“We have much to celebrate,” said Associate Vice Provost of International Affairs Jie Wu, as he pointed out many of Temple’s recent internationalization milestones: an international student body that includes more than 3,000 students from 128 different countries; 1,150 students who studied abroad in 43 countries; and an increasing number of international co-operations, 158 from 46 countries.
Reminding us that Temple’s internationalization commitment has been long-standing, Provost and Executive Vice President JoAnne A. Epps said, “We’re not johnny-come-lately. We’ve been there for five decades. I’m really proud of that.” Epps noted that she recently returned from Nankai University in Tianjin, the university where Dr. Tuan first introduced Risk Management in China and created what is now a nationally ranked program.
Temple President Richard M. Englert, who presented the Global Temple Award to Tuan, began by praising the audience – a group invited because of their involvement in the globalization of Temple. Englert emphasized that internationalization “is a team sport,” he said. “We all work together to make Temple great.”
Accepting the award, Tuan remembered his career at Temple, from 1977-93, when he personally sent admission packages to students interested in studying Risk.
“I’m happy to see Temple now has students from all over the world, and many of them are from China,” said Tuan, who was particularly pleased to meet with three Nankai students — Jiayaun Ren (exchange), Wentao Zhou (exchange), and Qi An (dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Actuarial Science).
In the words of Englert, Temple’s presence as a global university is an essential component to its terrific momentum.
Dr. Ram Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been recognized for his research contribution to international entrepreneurship and innovation.
In March, Mudambi received the Schulze Award for his article, “The Spectacular Rise of the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry,” which was co-authored by Dr. Kristin Brandl, of the University of Reading’s Henley Business School, and Dr. Vittoria Scalera, of the University of Amsterdam Business School. The paper demonstrates that for emerging economies to thrive, they do not necessarily require their local industries to partner with multinational giants of research and innovation.
“While most economies may benefit when local industries gain knowledge from multinationals,” Mudambi wrote, “India’s example shows that there are alternatives – but they all require strategic government investment.”
The Schulze Award recognizes the level of contribution made by an article published to the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange (EIX), an online resource committed to achieving marked improvement in the success rate of new business ventures. Issued annually, the Schulze Award recognizes achievements in various categories, including: theory and research; applied and practice; teaching and education; and commentaries.
The collaboration between Mudambi and his co-authors was made possible through the Fox Visiting Scholars Program. Founded in 2005 by Mudambi, the program serves as an invitation to international scholars – from doctoral candidates to full professors – to spend anywhere from a week to a year at the Fox School of Business conducting research and interacting with Fox faculty.
“It is critical for all PhD students to develop skills in pure academic research, business outreach, and policy,” Mudambi said. “The paper is a strong example of what is achievable through the Visiting Scholars Program, helping doctoral students develop as well-rounded individuals and have the ability to apply their work to real-world situations.”
Mudambi joined the Fox School’s faculty in 2000. The Perelman Senior Research Fellow, Mudambi spearheads the research initiative International Business, Economic Geography, and Innovation, dubbed iBEGIN, which studies the connections between global value chains (GVCs) and the location of economic activity. Mudambi’s peers elected him the Program Chair of the 2015 Academy of Business (AIB) annual meeting. In his role, Mudambi developed the program and arranged a prominent lineup of scholars and global business leaders for the conference, which was held in Bangalore, India.
He recently had a paper titled, “Knowledge connectivity: An agenda for innovation research in international business,” published in the Journal of International Business Studies. Co-authors of the paper include: Dr. John Cantwell, of Rutgers University; Dr. Jaeyong Song, of Seoul National University; and Fox PhD alumni Dr. Marcelo Cano-Kollmann, of the Ohio University College of Business, and Dr. Tim Swift, of Saint Joseph’s University’s Haub School of Business, co-authored the paper.
Dr. MB Sarkar, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been appointed Associate Editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ).
SEJ has the second-highest article influence score among entrepreneurship journals in the JCR “Business” and “Management” lists. In 2015, it was rated an “A” journal in the VHB German ranking, and as a “4” journal, with the “most-original and best-executed research”) by the United Kingdom’s Association of Business Schools. SEJ’s mission is to showcase influential and impactful entrepreneurship and innovation research, and is international in scope.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as Associate Editor on one of the leading journals in entrepreneurship,” Sarkar said. “I am humbled to join such a great team of international scholars who are at the helm of this journal. While it feels good to be acknowledged by my peers, it feels even better to know that I am helping build the Fox brand in entrepreneurship research.”
Sarkar is the founding academic director of Fox’s Global Immersion program in emerging markets. Under his leadership, the Fox School has built immersion programs for graduate students in Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey.
A renowned scholar of Strategic Management and a highly decorated teacher, Sarkar received the Great Teacher Award – Temple University’s highest honor – in 2013. Since joining the Fox School in 2008, he has received Outstanding Professor of the Year Awards multiple times from the Executive MBA, Online MBA, Professional MBA, and the Global MBA programs. His research on technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry emergence has been published in several top-tier journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science, Journal of Business Venturing, and Journal of International Business Studies among others. He currently serves on the editorial review boards of Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Global Strategy Journal.
Sarkar received his PhD from Michigan State University and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi.
He is currently collaborating with his doctoral students to examine technological innovation and entrepreneurship in five emerging industries, namely solid-state lighting (Alice Min), lithium-ion battery (Sung Namkung), neuro-prosthetics (Seojin Kim), unmanned aerial vehicles (Jungkwan Kim), and 3D printing (Anna Pak).
“They are terrific doctoral students – smart, hardworking, creative and nice. They keep me sharp,” Sarkar said.
Sarkar’s areas of interest have given him a unique perspective in reviewing SEJ submissions.
“An editor’s job is to lead the review process and help authors develop their papers to their fullest potential,” Sarkar said. “It is a big responsibility, not only to the journal and the authors, but to the field as a whole, and one which I strive to fulfill the best I can.”
Sarkar intends to leverage his position as SEJ editor to further the journal’s ability to publish rigorous and relevant research in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, and thus enhance its profile as an A journal.
“Journals are institutions,” Sarkar said. “This is an opportunity for me to help build an important institution in the field of entrepreneurship. Through my tenure, my single aim will be to make this journal the strongest that it can be by helping nurture novel ideas into impactful scholarship.”