Photo of Michael Moscarelli
Photo courtesy of Michael Moscarelli

Rocky and the Museum of Art, Gritty and Philadelphia, Michael Moscarelli’s degree programs at Klein and Fox.

All perfect pairs.

Moscarelli, a senior in his final undergraduate semester, double-majors in finance at the Fox School of Business and media studies and production at Klein College of Media and Communication. It’s a combination that has served him well, giving him opportunities to work in the WHYY newsroom and as the director of engagement for The Temple News.

Moscarelli has wanted to be in the media industry since he was young, and he came to Temple to hone his skills in radio. It didn’t take him long to recognize that his place in the media cog was somewhere else.

Moscarelli added his finance major to wean into the corporate side of media companies.

“I think it was partially that I found my strengths lie elsewhere, quite honestly,” he says. “I like the content, I believe in the value of the content and I want to contribute toward making it, but my real skill would be better in marketing the content or figuring out how to fund a new podcast or a news show and then pitch it to investors.”

It’s no secret that there is a disconnect between what the creative and financial sides of media productions want, but Moscarelli hopes his experience on both sides of the aisle will aid his future endeavours.

“A lot of the time, it’s just a misunderstanding,” he says. “Being able to speak to both sides of that, to communicate with both groups of people with different mindsets and goals, is utterly important. That’s why I have stuck with it so far.”

It will probably save him from strong headaches, too.

Both parts of a company have their place, though. While the corporate suits might not understand why the creative group wants a higher budget for a short gag, the creators might not understand why the bigwigs are releasing content on a calculated schedule. 

Moscarelli enjoys his role as what one could call a peacemaker.

“You want to be able to communicate with creative teams and speak in a qualitative sense and tell that story, but to back it up, you need to have quantitative skills,” he says.

The Coatesville, PA., native will remain at Temple University for one more year to finish his master of arts in media studies and production. Until then, he hopes to complete at least three more internships.

His workload is enough to make anyone wince, but he takes it in stride.

“For me, it’s honestly a love of the media industry specifically. I’ve really just always loved stories. There’s some value in working in an industry that makes money from telling them,” he says.

Charles Blockson, founder of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

 

The historic setting—Feinstone Lounge inside the nearly 90-year-old Sullivan Hall—only added to the significance of the message delivered during the Fox School of Business’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Networking Event.

Members of the Fox community joined together to celebrate the school’s history of inclusion and diversity among its faculty, staff and students. 

Stained glass ceilings throughout the building told a story of how Temple University was created while Curtis Gregory, assistant professor of strategic management, shared stories of his childhood and the oppression his family faced. 

“I had the opportunity to participate in a diversity workshop, and I heard the term ‘black tax.’ It was used in the context of faculty doing extra work. They described the additional burden and work when we are put in spaces to try to fix a problem we did not create,” Gregory said. “When I think about the sacrifices that my father made so that I can stand before you today, I’m willing to pay that slight tax.”

Gregory, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Aubrey Kent, and Diane Turner, curator at Temple University Libraries, spoke to attendees before they headed downstairs to tour the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. The collection is one of the most prestigious collections of African American artifacts in the U.S. 

“African-American history is American history,” Turner said as she stood next to Provost JoAnne Epps. “And African history is world history.”

The collection displayed business-related artifacts, including newspapers of the Philadelphia Tribune, the first-ever issue of Ebony from 1945 and lyrical notes from Tupac Shakur.

Turner said she had talked to Charles Blockson, who founded the collection, earlier in the day and he sent his greetings to everyone in attendance. 

Surrounded by elegantly-framed paintings of presidents from Temple University’s past, Kent thanked attendees for their contributions in making the Fox School a welcome space for all.

“It isn’t just about ticking a box on a checklist of activities in a strategic plan,” he said. “It’s really about living through what we believe, which is that the Fox School is for everyone, just as Temple is for everyone.”

That was the takeaway from the event. Any lock of nervousness between incoming attendees was broken by a desire to create memories and friendships. Diversity must not be an exception, but the norm.

“If you don’t know where you come from, you cannot know where you’re going,” Turner said.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

The aftermath of natural disasters is catastrophic. Left behind are scarred landscapes, scraps of homes and businesses, and impoverished communities. How do people recover from unexpected destruction?

Benjamin Collier

Benjamin Collier, assistant professor for the Fox Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management analyzed recovery from a natural disaster. He focused on small and medium-sized businesses after Hurricane Sandy, a Category 3 storm that hit the Caribbean and Northeastern coast of the U.S. in 2012. Collier relays that his prior experience is what drew him to the topic of recovery after Hurricane Sandy. 

“I was working in Peru, in grad school, on how flood incidents affect access to credit for small and medium-sized farmers,” Collier says. “There really hasn’t been a lot of work on how disasters affect small businesses in general.”

While most research is dedicated to how larger corporations prepare and recover after natural disasters, Collier wanted to discover the economic impact for small-scale businesses in financially developed settings like New York or New Jersey.

Collier partnered with colleagues at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Wharton School to conduct surveys about the small businesses surrounding the East Coast area. They discovered many details about these firms’ credit. The largest difference is whether or not the business had insurance.

“Some of them had insurance, but many didn’t have any or didn’t have enough. As a result, loans were an important part of financial recovery,” Collier explains. “We also saw many owners who ended up putting more personal resources into their business. For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, this is their life.”

One tool for businesses’ recovery after disasters is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Lending Program. However, Collier realized through the surveys that very few applied to the program, so the amount of money lent to businesses by the SBA appeared very small. Even so, the biggest issue still was which businesses did or didn’t buy insurance prior to Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy from above

“What surprised me most was how large the insurance gap was between businesses. We think about insurance as the front line financial tool to manage big disasters. You have these new businesses who might have good ideas, but they fail because of this disaster and that’s an unfortunate outcome,” Collier says.

Collier’s research, “Firms’ Management of Infrequent Shocks,” was published in the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking in December. 

Collier’s research doesn’t end with Hurricane Sandy; he is currently investigating the recovery from  2017’s Hurricane Harvey destruction in the Southern U.S. “We conducted a survey one year after Harvey on businesses in the Houston area,” explains Collier.

“A big shock like this calls a lot of things into question. If a firm needs to borrow tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover, this can up-end its business models,” says Collier. “More broadly, many communities rely on these businesses. So, if local businesses are having a hard time recovering this leads to questions on how the community will recover.”

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

New research from Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor of legal studies, examines how companies are using data analytics to track employee behavior and habits.

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17, 2020—Work-life balance is key to cultivating a healthy work environment, but attaining it is not easy. In fact, new research from Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor of legal studies at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, suggests that the line between our personal and professional lives have never been more blurred.

Recently published in the American Business Law Journal, “Data Analytics and the Erosion of the Work/Nonwork Divide” examines how companies are using data analytics to monitor employee behavior. Employers taking an interest in their employees’ personal lives is nothing new. For example, the increasing cost of healthcare has led some employers to inquire into employees’ off-duty smoking and drinking habits in recent years.

However, what many companies are doing now is a bit more complicated than that.

“Employers have begun to monitor and track employees’ off-duty hobbies, consumer preferences, health concerns, exercise and sleep regimens, and family planning thoughts,” Eisenstadt says. “These new reaches into employees’ personal lives are then used to make workplace decisions, largely eliminating the distinction between work and non-work spheres.”

In her research, Eisenstadt takes a closer look at several software data-mining efforts, including Project Comet, Castlight Health, facial recognition in lieu of employee ID cards and others.

Arguably the most far-reaching project that Eisenstadt analyzed is Project Comet, a program that mines data from employees’ social media accounts and then analyzes the information for use by the employer. Primarily used by a major U.S. healthcare company, Project Comet was first created as a tool that could be used to build better employee teams. However, as Eisenstadt outlines in her piece, it may soon have other uses.

“The program can analyze social media data to determine the best seating arrangements for employees. It may be used to determine which employees possess leadership capabilities and should be given additional training or professional development opportunities. And, eventually, the program may assist managers in selecting candidates for downsizing or for promotions,” Eisenstadt writes.

Data analytics, fueled by off-duty data on employee’s personal lives, could soon be the driving force behind hiring and firing decisions. This is a stark difference from traditional human resource management practices.

Eisenstadt says some of the implications behind Castlight Health’s data mining could be equally as dangerous. The company is a third-party entity that provides services to employers, including the ability to track healthcare spending and search for in-network doctors. Walmart and Time Warner are both among Castlight Health’s clients, meaning the company potentially has access to data on millions of employees.

Through Internet searches, physician specialist searches and requests, and changes to prescription purchases, Castlight can identify which employees are contemplating becoming pregnant, are concerned about developing diabetes or believe they may need back surgery in the near future. This information is likely not protected by HIPAA either, as that applies only to “covered entities,” which include healthcare providers, health plans, employers and healthcare clearinghouses.

With Castlight, companies and organizations could easily make decisions based on an employee’s health, making that line between personal and professional lives even blurrier. That’s why Eisenstadt suggests companies should think twice prior to using data analytics like this.

The blurring of the line between work and non-work spheres has significant negative implications both for employees’ health and well-being as well as the potential legal liability of employers. Numerous laws depend upon a dividing line between work and personal domains, and the erosion of that line has the potential to do damage to both parties to the employment relationship. 

“When employers can track employees’ heart rate and sleep quality, determine who is contemplating pregnancy, identify an employee’s emotional state from a facial scan, and use all of this information to make workplace decisions, there is no real division between what is work and what is not,” Eisenstadt says. “As a society, we must decide whether the divide between work and nonwork spheres is a societal good that should be protected and to what extent. Regardless of where Americans come down on this question, we should be actively choosing a course rather than mindlessly submitting to the technology’s appeal. Or, to state it plainly, just because we can does not mean we should.”

About the Fox School of Business

The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research.  

The Fox School’s research institutes and centers and 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market. 

The school’s knowledge-creating research faculty affords it the flexibility and responsiveness to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields of study. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that advance actionable insights to solve real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the changing nature of work.

Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

As companies embrace data science and machine learning, these technologies are becoming more disruptive. Facebook changed the landscape of social networking and advertising using an advanced technology called deep learning, Amazon is redefining the meaning of customer satisfaction with predictive analytics, and big data is allowing Uber to optimize its driver matching experience for users.

In this evolving digital world, the Fox Department of Finance understands how professionals in finance will need skills that may not have been required in their roles in the past. In 2019, the specialized master’s programs in finance added dedicated data science and machine learning for finance courses with ongoing use cases throughout the curriculum.

John Soss, associate professor and academic director of specialized master’s programs in finance, sees the curriculum change as mirroring business trends. Business analysts are now tasked with making critical decisions based on large volumes of data that require new skills as a result. Integrating finance and data science skills like Python and SQL accounts for the transforming role of finance professionals and allows our students to stand out in the job market.

“We are at the forefront of offering industry matched graduate studies in finance with required core data science and machine learning courses for all finance masters, not just those with a mathematical finance concentration,” Soss says. “Finance has evolved and in the same way, data science is interwoven throughout our masters in finance curriculum.”

With an already unique curriculum and program calendar design, cohorts take a set sequence of courses that build upon each other toward an extensive body of knowledge, which now further accounts for the financial technology revolution reshaping the global economy. With an applied project approach, students explore how data science is evolving in areas like credit risk, customer management, financial planning, portfolio management and algorithmic trading.

Another confirmation for updating the curriculum is the addition of readings in financial technology in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program’s body of knowledge. The Fox masters in finance programs attractively simultaneously prepare students for the CFA and Financial Risk Management (FRM) exams. The recent changes to the finance masters curriculum underscore this program’s advantage. 

The school’s dedication to staying on the cutting-edge of the financial sector extends beyond the classroom. In spring 2019, Fox co-sponsored the conference Business in a Digital World with the CFA Society of Philadelphia. Among the distinguished speakers was Amir Ahmadi, head of AI, machine learning and data science, Enterprise Advice at Vanguard. He highlighted how AI can be used to provide personalized financial planning at optimal costs.

In January of 2020, Fox MS scholars explored digital disruption on an immersion trip to San Francisco, visiting various companies to learn firsthand about the impact that data analytics has had on industries such as marketing, finance and human resources. During many of their site visits, the students connected with fellow Owls, as Temple University alumni at Facebook, AstraZeneca and Google led interactive presentations.

“It was a great, experiential way to see, directly from Temple graduates who are pioneering this space, why data science is important,” adds Soss. 

Learn more about our graduate degrees in finance.

Nonprofit board service trainingNonprofit organizations strive to enrich the lives of the community being served. That requires building a leadership team with the skills needed to make a meaningful impact.

“There’s a bit of a tendency to say that just because I’m good at my profession or I’m passionate about a topic, I must be a good board member,” Fox School professor TL Hill says. “But it’s a professional skill very few people have.”

For nonprofit board members looking to enhance their effectiveness or for board leaders who want to attract and train the next generation of members, the Center for Executive Education at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is offering a Nonprofit Board Service Training Certificate program.

“The goal of this program is to train a group of people who will be better, more effective board members who can help the people around them,” Hill says. “There is a lot to be learned in this program and it is all evidence- and experience-based.”

The program is led by Hill, an experienced facilitator, and features a variety of topic experts who bring insight and real-world knowledge to the sessions. It will be held on four Saturdays (March 21, April 25, May 16 and June 13) in the Center for Executive Education’s learning space located on Main Campus at 1810 Liacouras Walk, fifth floor.

“The experience of all of the topic specialists who are coming in is varied,” Hill says. “Some of them are formally trained; others have learned it through the school of hard knocks. But they have all learned it and want to help others avoid what they’ve been through.”

The program is organized into four sessions (below) and will include presentations, hands-on learning, panel discussions, coaching and peer interaction. 

  • Saturday, March 21: Building an Effective Governing Team: Composition, Structure, Process and Culture
  • Saturday, April 25: Cultivating Excellent Leadership: Selection, Supervision, Succession
  • Saturday, May 16: Guiding the Organization: Developing Strategy and Managing Risk
  • Saturday, June 13: Ensuring Sustainability: Finding and Managing Resources

For more information about the sessions and topic experts, click here.

Well-informed strategic decisions improve an organization’s chances of actualizing measurable impact that is aligned with its mission,” says Maureen Cannon, program director for Fox Board Fellows and senior associate director, Fox Management Consulting

For those not yet on a board, the Center will coach participants through a board search that includes clarification of goals and passions, as well as structured networking. In addition, nonprofit boards looking to train and attract the next generation of board leaders are encouraged to send members to the program.

“The Center for Executive Education is excited to add this program to our portfolio as we look for more ways to support an individual’s continued pursuit of lifelong learning once they have entered the professional world,” says Rich Morris, associate director of business development, Center for Executive Education. “We like the idea of providing participants the tools to give back to the community and become more effective board members of area nonprofit organizations.” 

The cost of the program is $3000 per participant. Temple alumni pay $2500 per person. Nonprofit organizations sending multiple board members are eligible for a discounted program fee. 

For more information about eligibility and how to register, click here.

Howard Brown in Philadelphia
Photo by Joe Labolito

Howard Brown is a changemaker. 

After graduating from the Fox School, Brown, BBA ’05, enjoyed several years at Goldman Sachs and then TD Bank. He lived in a Manhattan highrise; he held season tickets to the Eagles and the Yankees. Today, he heads an investment company focusing on social infrastructure and economic development. 

Those are great things, but what makes Brown a changemaker is his work in the Philadelphia School District. The former foreign-exchange analyst teaches students at Northeast High School about business. But more than that, he teaches them about life choices. 

When Brown was still at Olney High School, he started coming to Temple University. A friend who was two years older than Brown was a student at the Fox School.

“He took me all through Temple’s campus,” Brown says. “I had a chance to learn about the Temple culture, Fox and all the great things the school did for him. I was enamored with the school even before I went there.”

At the Fox School, Brown focused on his studies and opportunities, starting out as a marketing major but soon switched to finance. He joined the financial management association, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and he joined a student professional organization (SPO) for entrepreneurs. 

When asked if he was involved with the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), Brown’s voice goes up an octave. “Was I?” he rhetorically asks. “Corinne Snell, is she still there? Janis Campbell? Those people treated me like gold.”

At the CSPD, Brown was a corporate relations liaison, establishing relationships between businesses and the CSPD team. It was a chance to practice networking and learning the importance of creating relationships to do business.

“They helped me grow from being a scrappy kid to being much more polished,” Brown says. “A big reason I was able to get an internship on Wall Street was the Center. They were very instrumental in my success, but they were very instrumental in a lot of people’s success.”

From analyst to mentor

In 2004, before he graduated, Brown interned at Goldman Sachs. Then he was hired as a foreign exchange analyst where he oversaw trading, risk and financial reporting involving several businesses on the foreign exchange and spent time working in several units at Goldman Sachs. The normal process, Brown explains, is to work on the trading floor for about three years and then go back to school for a master’s degree. That was not for him.

He traveled up and down the West Coast trying to get a business up and running throughout the recession. Eventually, he returned to the Philadelphia area. 

“My grandparents were teachers,” Brown says. “My grandmother was always very critical of my handwriting and I told her it did not matter because I would never be a teacher.”

When he first came back to Philadelphia, he volunteered at the school district. Brown was a motivator. He met with kids who had or were in danger of dropping out and stressed for them the importance of going back to school.

“It was about getting brutally honest about their future prospects if they don’t get educated,” Brown says. “Many of them were very receptive to me because I wasn’t really all that much older than they were.”

Howard Brown in front of Charles Library
Photo by Joe Labolito

Brown’s success in mentoring high school students led him on trips to an odd place: prison. In 2014, he was among a trio of men—the others were pastor Damone B. Jones Sr. of Bible Way Baptist Church and Chad Dion Lassiter, president of the Black Men at Penn School of Social Work—mentoring rapper Meek Mill while Mill was in the Philadelphia prison system. Brown said he spoke to Mill frequently about what kind of impact the rapper could have, given the power of his voice and about the role Mill wanted in the lives of his children. The two men have remained friendly and regularly speak, often about their children. 

Brown spent about a year volunteering at the school district before he took a vice president position with TD Bank, where he managed and executed asset-based and leveraged financings. 

He was there for three years before he felt the pull of wanting to connect with students again. Throughout his time with TD Bank, he still spoke at schools and gave career advice at Northeast High School.

To hear Brown tell it, that first gig volunteering was about discovering himself. And now, as a teacher, it is more about the students discovering themselves.

Teacher, counselor, parent, friend

Generally speaking, Brown teaches business, but the classes fall into two primary categories: marketing and entrepreneurship.

Brown says his students have chemistry, algebra and other common classes all day long and then they come to him where he is trying to teach them how to start a business.

“Even those who are not entrepreneurial love being creative and developing businesses from scratch,” Brown says. “Young people tend to quantify success on money or how many assets a person has. I tell them some of the most unsuccessful people I’ve met in my life had a lot of money. Being successful is not about money.”

Brown explains that teaching often goes much deeper than what is in the lesson plan. A lot of the lessons he imparts involve teaching his students to look at themselves through a different world view. 

“Teaching is not just about teaching your subject and your curriculum,” Brown says. “You are a teacher one day, a counselor one day, sometimes you are like a parent, sometimes you are a friend. You have to listen a lot.”

Brown recently completed his master’s degree in education and entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business. He is specifically interested in education entrepreneurship and is working on conceptualizing a program or school that teaches entrepreneurship and venture capitalism.

There are not a lot of high schools that introduce students to entrepreneurship and business. Yet, according to his research, there are a lot of benefits to learning business earlier in scholastic careers than later.

“What I try to articulate to my students is that you can be a producer instead of a consumer, and change your community. You can create generational wealth.”

Many of his students come from very challenging backgrounds. “You can make a huge change for you and your family just by being an entrepreneur,” Brown says. “You don’t have to do something very big, you can start right where you are and do something small.”

The foundation is creating the Spencer Center for Professional Development in Risk Management and Actuarial Science with a $225,000 grant to the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management program

PHILADELPHIA—The Spencer Educational Foundation is awarding a $225,000 grant to fund a career development center within the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management (RIHM) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The Spencer Center for Professional Development in Risk Management and Actuarial Science will offer professional development activities specific to students in RIHM. 

“We could not be happier to support this project at Temple University’s Fox School of Business,” says Megan Miller, executive director at Spencer. “Temple’s work in preparing students for careers in Risk Management and Insurance and Actuarial Science is paramount in ensuring a robust talent pipeline for our industry. We are honored to be affiliated with the career center and privileged to place the Spencer name behind these efforts.”

Professional development is a key component in the RIHM’s focus on providing students with the skills that will help them find jobs in their chosen industry after graduation and excel throughout their careers. The center will maximize those efforts with financial support for programs, operations and events.

“We are excited to partner with the Spencer Educational Foundation to further enhance our students’ professional acumen as they seek out successful and rewarding careers,” says Dr. R.B. Drennan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School. “We are grateful for Spencer’s support, which will help us continue to transform our students into highly successful professionals.

The center will offer several different activities: 

  • Career receptions for internship opportunities and pre-graduation career opportunities,
  • Resume, interview, etiquette and writing skills workshops,
  • Industry speakers, and
  • Participation in conferences.

For more information on the center, contact Matthew Coughlin, associate director, Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, at Matthew.Coughlin@temple.edu or 215-204-5332.

About the Spencer Educational Foundation

Established in 1979, the Spencer Educational Foundation funds the education of tomorrow’s risk management and insurance leaders by awarding scholarships, facilitating internship opportunities, providing Risk Manager in Residence programs to universities, and awarding grants to help promote the industry to the next generation. For more information, visit www.spencered.org.

About the Fox School of Business

Temple University’s Fox School of Business is the largest, most comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region and among the largest in the world, with more than 8,500 students, more than 220 full-time faculty and 70,000 alumni around the globe. The Fox School has a proud tradition of delivering innovative, entrepreneurial programs for the past 100 years. With facilities that provide access to market-leading technologies, the school fosters a collaborative and creative learning environment. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the real-world job market.

Diana Kyser headshotDiana Kyser, DBA 17, has played nearly every possible role one can in business. Even with jobs like programmer, marketing manager, customer service representative, consultant and COO under her belt, she was not satisfied with her scope of knowledge. To connect her practice to theory, she decided to pursue an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the Fox School. 

Over the course of her career, Kyser found herself at companies with a variety of leadership styles. She noticed that company culture often manifested itself as a reflection of the founder’s personality—for better and for worse. 

When it came time for Kyser to decide on a dissertation topic for her DBA, she wanted to use research to investigate her experiences in the workplace in order to better understand the link between founder personality and organizational culture. 

Using Data to Investigate Real-World Experiences 

“I have spent equal parts of my career in businesses that were co-founded by me and those that were founded by others. In my own businesses, I felt comfortable and fit in. In the ones that were founded by others, I often did not. I noticed the impact of the founders’ personality on the company culture and sometimes it was very negative,” Kyser explains. “By exploring this in my DBA and researching my dissertation, I was able to understand and put names to all the things that I had been feeling all along.”

Kyser’s research used ethnographic tools, interviews and survey data to explore how founder personality and organizational culture is linked at four firms in a variety of industries. She then used a 54-item Organizational Culture Profile to assess cultural factors such as adaptability, integrity, collaboration and more in a larger sample of founder-led companies. The data she uncovered both supported and found some contradictions in predictions from established models of organizational behavior.

New Discoveries in Company Culture Theory  

Kyser’s research highlighted in her dissertation “Through the Looking Glass: Company Culture as a Reflection of Founder Personality in Entrepreneurial Organizations,” found that companies tended to hire (and be more successful with) employees that exhibited complementary personalities to that of the founder, rather than those with overlapping traits. That is, organizations often advertently or inadvertently hire people who have strengths and skills that are unique to them and are lacking in the founder. 

Kyser suggests an alternative mechanism linking founder personality to organizational culture, finding that employee personality mediates between founder personality and organizational culture, rather than simply reinforcing it. Contrary to much theory, employee personality often trumps founder personality when determining culture, and that established theories might conspire to create a culture that escapes the influence of the founder. 

Larger Potential Impact 

Managers and consultants, take note: this research finds that, unless managed explicitly, employees might complicate efforts to create the kind of culture a founder might want to create. To the extent that collective personality shapes culture and executives hire complementary personalities, not clones, founders could find themselves working in a culture of their employees making, not their own. 

“Organizational culture is so personal,” Kyser notes. “Each company has its own DNA, and no specific approach is a perfect fit. In the future, I want to build on this research and develop a model for where the founder can, based on his/her own personality, understand what type of employees will best enable them to build their business culture and their vision.”

Doctors performing surgery

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, doctors and patients around the country have faced the effects of extended healthcare coverage. The goal of the ACA is to expand affordable healthcare to more patients, but its impact has raised several issues for the medical field. 

The ACA, also known as Obamacare, made it possible for millions of Americans to gain access to healthcare—but it has also increased the demand for various medical services ranging from routine doctor’s visits to mental illness care. Due to this increased demand, doctors are stretched thin, having to divide their attention among a much larger pool of patients. 

Jingshu Luo, a current PhD student studying healthcare management and insurance economics in the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business, has had many conversations with her roommates, who are resident physicians, about the condition of Philadelphia hospitals since the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. 

“They complained that their hospital was always full of patients and their supervisors give them very limited time to treat patients,” says Luo. 

When doctors have less time to engage with and properly treat their patients, medical liability risk could increase. In her research, Luo and her co-authors compared malpractice costs in states that expanded Medicaid versus the states that did not. 

In this natural experiment, Luo found a clear distinction in costs related to liability. Luo says, “The states that went through Medicaid expansion experienced significantly higher medical malpractice costs than non-expansion states.”

States with Medicaid Expansion
States that expanded Medicaid are illustrated in green

Luo’s research also explores the interaction between health insurance reform and the state tort system, which determines legal liability to compensate for a civil wrong from loss or harm.  Whereas Medicaid expansion may increase malpractice liability costs, tort reforms are designed to limit or reduce a physician’s overall liability. Notably, they did not find that these reforms reduced the ACA-driven malpractice costs. In other words, Medicaid expansion drove up malpractice frequency, but tort reforms focused on restricting the malpractice claim severity, not volume. 

Luo and her co-authors highlight their findings in their paper, “Medicaid Expansion And Medical Malpractice Liability Costs.” Luo also presented the research at the Fox PhD Student Research Competition in 2019 during a Three Minute Thesis presentation. This condensed, single-slide format helps guide researchers to present a brief and concise description of their research in plain language that can be easily connected to real-world business problems.

This rise in liability risk is not one to take lightly. Overall, 37 states have adopted Medicaid Expansion while 14 still have not. Across the nation, doctors and patients are affected by these malpractice and liability costs that stem from the ACA. The ACA’s goal is to provide all Americans access to affordable healthcare, but at what cost? 

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Fox School of Business professor analyzes chatbot effectiveness,  depending on whether the chatbot discloses that it is a robot.

People reading and shopping on phones

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 31, 2020—Need to order a pizza? There’s a chatbot for that. Need to pay off your credit card? There’s a chatbot for that, too. 

In fact, there could soon be a chatbot for just about anything. Studies have suggested the chatbot market is worth $250 million now and it’s expected to balloon to more than $1.34 billion by 2024. In addition, 21% of U.S adults and more than 80% of Generation Z use voice or text bots for information search and shopping.

The growth comes as no surprise to Xueming Luo, professor of marketing, strategy and management information systems in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. His research has outlined how these chatbots really can work. However, there is a caveat, says Luo. 

“A chatbot can be effective in helping to drive sales, but let me emphasize the term ‘bot.’ If a potential customer realizes it’s just a robot on the line or if that information is disclosed, that can actually drive sales conversions down by nearly 80%,” Luo says.

Together with Siliang Tong, a marketing PhD student in the Fox School, and colleagues from Sichuan University and Fudan University, Luo authored “Machines versus Humans: The Impact of AI Chatbot Disclosure on Customer Purchases,” which was recently published in Marketing Science. 

As part of the study, more than 6,200 potential customers were randomized to receive highly structured outbound sales calls from either a chatbot or human worker. The results were both positive and negative, at least as far as the chatbot was concerned.

“Results suggest that undisclosed chatbots are as effective as proficient workers and four times more effective than inexperienced workers in getting customers to make a purchase,” Luo says. “However, if the chatbot reveals that it’s a machine before the machine-customer conversation, purchase rates plummet by 79.7%.”

Not just that, but potential customers have shown that they have no problem being brash and rude once they know that they’re speaking to a robot. Professional etiquette basically goes out the window.

“Go all the way back to popular movies like the Terminator, and I think history shows that humans have always been wary when it comes to robots. It’s no different when it comes to chatbots,” Luo says. 

As previously noted, chatbot use is projected to rise in the years to come. But is that the most sound strategy, given the tepid response seen by potential consumers when a chatbot’s identity is disclosed?

“Although the popular prediction is that the displacement of some workers by chatbots is an inevitable trend, research and market data paradoxically show that the disclosed chatbots are not going anywhere currently,” Luo says. “So it will be interesting to see how both potential customers and the developers behind these chatbots work to adapt in the years to come.”

About the Fox School of Business

The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research. 

The Fox School’s research institutes and centers and 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market.

The school’s knowledge-creating research faculty affords it the flexibility and responsiveness to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields of study. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that advance actionable insights to solve real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the changing nature of work.

We get dozens of digital notifications every day. From text messages to calendar reminders, privacy permission requests to software updates, our reactions are near-automatic each time: dismiss, snooze or remind me later. Why do we let these important notifications pass us by?

“Our brains are wired to tune things out over time,” says Anthony Vance, director of the Center for Cybersecurity at the Fox School. It often has to do with memory. “We saw it last time, so we don’t have to scrutinize it so much this time,” he explains. “Sometimes we remember something more than we actually see it.” 

Unwilling to Update 

Vance, who studies cybersecurity as an associate professor in the Management Information Systems Department, is concerned with how quickly people are willing to swipe away important security notifications. Unfortunately, it’s a habitual behavior we all learn as soon as we are old enough to use a computer or tablet. For example, pop-ups explaining a new software update are not usually intrusive enough to stop us from finishing our email. 

“The thing is, software updates fix security vulnerabilities that hackers know about and can take advantage of,” says Vance. “As soon as Apple or Microsoft publishes these security updates, the whole world knows what needs fixing. Hackers start writing attacks to take advantage of these holes.” That means the longer we wait to update our computers or phones, the more susceptible our devices are to hacking. 

Changing What We See

To investigate how to stop us from ignoring important updates, Vance and his colleagues experimented with changes in the design of security warnings. They added visuals like a triangular yellow “warning” symbol, a red background, a “jiggle” animation when the warning appears and a dynamic zoom that made the warning increase in size. 

In the first part of their experiment, Vance tracked users’ reactions to the varied designs of notifications through fMRIs and eye-tracking. Their work was unique in that they tracked the changes in these reactions over the course of five days, while most fMRI experiments only capture a single session. The design changes seemed effective. “Those treatments sustained attention across that whole week,” explains Vance, meaning that the users were less likely to ignore those warnings, even when repeatedly exposed to them. 

The researchers followed up this lab experiment with a field study. Over 100 participants were recruited to evaluate apps on, unbeknownst to them, a fake Android app store. “These were people using their mobile devices in everyday life,” says Vance. “We measured their actual behavior. Out of a list of ten apps, they were asked to download, install and evaluate three.” The researchers randomized the permission warnings—as well as the visual displays—on each app. The warnings ranged from the innocuous, like connecting to the internet, to the outrageous, like “record microphone audio at any time.” The participants needed to decide whether or not to risk downloading the app.  

“The people who saw the variations in warning designs had more secure behavior over time,” says Vance. “These designs are more resistant habituation, which is tuning things out.” By the end of the three-week study, nearly 80 percent of those who saw messages that change their appearance in dynamic animations were still adhering to safe-security behavior, compared to only 55 percent of those who saw static warnings. 

Vance and his research team shared their findings in their paper, “Tuning Out Security Warnings: A Longitudinal Examination of Habituation Through fMRI, Eye Tracking, and Field Experiments,” published in MIS Quarterly last summer. 

Designing for Better Behaviors 

Vance says that we should not be too hard on ourselves for failing to notice important warnings: “It’s not entirely our fault. Our brains are working against us to make good security decisions.” 

However, this research demonstrates there is a clear opportunity to change behavior. “Employers and designers of software need to be aware of this and design their systems so that it works with the way the brain works and not against it,” says Vance. Based on this research, he suggests using innovative and novel designs to ensure that users are taking note of important notifications—like asking people to use unique swiping patterns or smash virtual glass with a hammer. 

Vance and his team received a grant from the National Science Foundation to continue this research; the next step will be understanding how habituation to messages generalizes across platforms. For example, your phone gets notifications all the time and you learn the automatic response. “But when you get a rare security message, even if it’s on a different platform, we respond similarly with the same instinctive ‘dismiss,’” explains Vance. “Our question is: With all these notifications that we’re barraged with, do they make us less able respond to a rare security message that actually matters?” 

As more systems become automated and intelligent devices more prevalent, these human decisions—what to ignore and what to act on—become more important. “The danger is that this can desensitize us to things that really matter,” Vance warns. With more research, Vance hopes we can move away from automatic reaction to notifications and become more conscious in how we can protect our cybersecurity.

Photo from Reggie Hoops
Photograph by Joseph Labolito

This winter, the Department of Theater will embark on its second round of an innovative playwriting initiativecommissioning and producing a world premiere playthanks to Fox alumnus David Steele, BBA ’91. In 2016, Steele, the founder and CEO of One Wealth Advisors in San Francisco, established the Playwright Residency Program at Temple University’s Department of Theater.

A true everyman, Steele began his professional career with J. P. Morgan Securities, but soon branched out as an entrepreneur. Once he was confident and secure in his success, Steele pondered the expansive possibilities of his professional life.

Now he is the founder and manager of five businesses from restaurants to yoga studios in the San Francisco area. In addition to his primary business One Wealth Advisors, Steele is the co-creator Moxie Yoga & Fitness, founder and Managing Partner of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, Managing Partner of Foxsister Hospitality Group and Managing Partner of Noise Pop Industries, an independent music promoter. 

Steele is also a board member of Playground, a nonprofit playwright incubator in San Francisco and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a nonprofit service organization that empowers working artists and emerging arts organizations across all disciplines. 

His longtime interest in the arts and the perceived lack of arts patronage on the West Coast led Steele back to Temple University. “We don’t have a patron artist culture or society as I wish we did. This [program] is really just a form of patronage,” says Steele. 

When Temple approached him with the residency proposal, Steele, a visual artist and playwright himself, felt it was a perfect match for his ideals and investment. “They came up with a concept that was absolutely perfect with my ideas and my ideals,” says Steele. “I really didn’t have anything to add to it. And I equally believe in getting out of the way of artists.”

The past, present and future of the program 

The Playwright Residency Program was developed by former Temple professor Edward Sobel, past Director of New Play Development at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. It is uniquely structured to support playwrights and their work. Playwrights are guaranteed a full production of the play following a short development process, allowing them to remain in close contact with the original generative impulse. They also have the opportunity to write for a known ensemble of actors and artists to create pieces suited to the strengths of the students at Temple University. 

The first result of the program was the 2017 production of Reggie Hoops by Kristoffer Diaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Diaz created a full length drama about a former NBA assistant general manager faced with the decision between the profession she loves and the family life she cherishes. The world premiere production featured the six 2018 master of fine arts (MFA) acting students as well as original designs from MFA design students.

This academic year, a new class of students will have the opportunity to participate in the program with playwright Marisela Treviño Orta, a Mexican-American artist whose work has been produced at the Marin Theater Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arizona Theatre Company, among others. The actors and designers will work directly with Treviño Orta and director, Professor Lindsay Goss, on Somewhere, a drama about a world on the verge of ecological collapse. The production will run from January 29 to February 9 in Randall Theater.

To purchase tickets to Somewhere, click here

Temple University’s Dr. Kathleen Reeves (right) delivers testimony during a state hearing on the impact of gun violence on communities. Caterina Roman, assistant professor of criminal justice at Temple, also testified at the hearing. [Photo by Karen Naylor]
One by one, members of a community caught in the center of the gun violence crisis came to the table, adjusted the microphone and told their stories.

Leaning in and listening intently were several members of Pennsylvania’s Special Council on Gun Violence, all seated in a large, second-floor room at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University’s Health Sciences Campus.

The council, created in August by Gov. Tom Wolf, has been traveling the state holding hearings, engaging stakeholders and identifying recommendations and best practices they believe will one day reduce gun violence. The council visited North Philadelphia on Dec. 5 for its fifth and final stop.

Among those waiting to testify was Dr. Kathleen Reeves, a pediatrician who is senior associate dean of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the director of the Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple University.

Reeves is passionate about the work being done by Philadelphia CeaseFire Cure Violence, a public health violence intervention program housed at the bioethics center. The program, which originated in Chicago, was replicated in 2011 and operates in portions of the city’s 22nd and 39th Police Districts. 

She firmly believes in the organization’s premise that the violence happening in communities is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such.

“Gun violence is as contagious as any other disease,” Reeves testifies. “We’ve known this for over 10 years. We see it each and every day and the wonderful people in this room live it each and every day.

“We need to be working the problem like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) would handle an epidemic: interrupt the spread, keep people away from the contagion and vaccinate them. Give (people) the opportunities and the tools that everyone deserves to be able to live a life free of violence.”

But in order to accomplish that, resources, including additional funding, are needed.

Reeves detailed recent research that reported a reduction in gun-related violence in a police district where the city’s Ceasefire Cure Violence program currently operates. Using a series of scenarios, she explained how the return on investment can increase when efforts go beyond the immediate and primary needs in the battle against gun violence. 

“If we expand that effort to include secondary health care needs, mental health care needs, prison costs and lost wages, we actually see the return on investment go up,” she says.

Reeves was able to show examples in her testimony with the assistance of a modeling tool created by an MBA student team at Fox Management Consulting (FMC). The team’s members, Ethan Kannel, Rebecca Wolf, Megha Aggarwal, Alexandra Alicea and Vidya Sabbella, did the client consulting work as part of their MBA capstone course with FMC.

“The tool is a dynamic and flexible system that takes into account all of the variables that impact the cost of gun-related violence, ranging from immediate medical costs like ER care through societal consequences such as incarceration,” says Donald Phillips, FMC project executive for the student team. 

“The students’ experience was a total immersion in this healthcare issue, from a political, sociological and economic point of view. You’re not always going to get that opportunity.”

Kannel, who was at the hearing with Rebecca Wolf, was pleased to see the team’s work included in the day’s testimony.

“A lot of schoolwork that you do, you think it won’t go anywhere,” Kannel says. “But the day after we presented our project, we heard our numbers in a hearing.”

Wolf was grateful that her experience with the project was used in an impactful way.

“The most important work we did in the project was related to finances and that was used directly in the hearing,” says Wolf. “It’s a great feeling.”

Now that the hearings are done, the panel will begin its assessment.

“It is important to note that today’s discussion serves as a starting point for the work of the special council to listen to and learn from individuals with both professional and life experience and expertise,” says Mike Pennington, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Fox Professor Donald Phillips and TL Hill, professor of strategic management and managing director of Fox Management Consulting and Executive Education, recently co-authored an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Read that piece here

For more information about FMC projects, click here.

Money is at the forefront of the way we think about business—how can you make your company, and in turn yourself, more profitable? A recent Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey reports that “92% of surveyed corporate human resources executives agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broader professional skill sets.”

We agree. That’s why the Fox School offers a well-rounded business education. In the classroom and the community, these three alumni gained tangible skills that empowered them to carry forward altruistic efforts that enhanced their personal and professional lives.

1. Empowering the next generation 

Photo of Melany Bustillos
Photo by Joe Labolito

MELANY BUSTILLOS, BBA ’16, believes that lifting up others is the key to helping the city of Philadelphia thrive. As the education officer for Prospanica, a nonprofit supporting the educational, economic and social success of Hispanic professionals, Bustillos encourages young adults to understand the value of education. She discovered her passion for mentoring students when volunteering in the Philadelphia public school system.

“A lot of kids feel like they can’t have big dreams or aspirations because their future is just set to what it is,” says Bustillos. Experiencing that response firsthand, Bustillos knew she needed to be a part of an organization that showed students the ways education could make their dreams a reality.

Bustillos works with local Philadelphia universities to foster relationships with students and transition them from campus life into career management through workshops on financial literacy, community service and personal branding. Bustillos serves on Prospanica’s board while working full time at Cigna as a risk and underwriting senior analyst. She also serves as a lead for Cigna’s Colleague Resource Group. She volunteers in a role that leverages cultural insights and connections to innovate approaches and solutions to increase engagement, performance and career mobility, while building enterprise capabilities to address the needs of diverse customers.

Bustillos continues to pursue opportunities in advocacy, and by investing in the next generation, she works to build the foundation for a smarter Philadelphia.

2. Studying the business of medicine

Nish Shailendra photo
Photo by Joe Labolito

For NISHANTH SHAILENDRA, MBA ’18, finding a career in analytics was a driving force throughout his time in the Fox Global MBA program, but he didn’t know which industry to enter—until he discovered healthcare through networking with classmates. “I was very curious how the industry operates because what surprises me in the U.S. is the high cost of healthcare,” says Shailendra. Originally from Bangalore, India—a country with drastically different medical costs, quality of care and infrastructure than the U.S.—Shailendra wanted to better understand healthcare here and its unique set of challenges. In his role as business analytics administrator for Cooper University Healthcare, Shailendra uses data to improve affordability and accessibility for patients.

“We are trying our best to make sure that any patient that comes in does not need to come back. By reducing readmission and improving access, such as not waiting long to get an appointment when you’re sick, we’re working toward a healthier community,” says Shailendra.

As for his personal life, Shailendra plans on translating his experience at Cooper University Healthcare to improve aspects that the healthcare system lacks in his native country. “I believe that the quality of care in the U.S. is one of the best, but there are cons—like the high costs. My goal is to take the ‘pros’ back to India and apply my experience to improve the health and wellness of the community there.”

3. Encouraging nonprofit work for all

Linda McAleer in office
Photo by Joe Labolito

 LINDA MCALEER, MBA ’74, is the president of The Meilor Group, a strategic marketing research and consulting firm in Center City. McAleer also serves on three nonprofit boards and advocates that her employees do the same. “Part of the mission of The Melior Group is to give back; it’s part of the culture. Each employee is active or involved in at least one mission-based organization,” says McAleer. She believes nonprofit work supports well-rounded professional growth and has an impressive track record to prove it.

McAleer came to her nonprofit role as chair of the Philadelphia-area National Multiple Sclerosis Society and board membership at both JEVS (formerly Jewish Employment and Vocational Service) and Career Wardrobe through understanding the needs of those around her. When her sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the mid-90s, accessing information and resources was difficult. She joined the National MS Society and was immediately tasked with fundraising. “I didn’t know how to raise money, but I said I’ll figure it out—like we do as Temple grads. We figure it out and solve problems,” says McAleer.

Most recently, McAleer supports Philadelphia’s new MS Navigator Program that helps those newly diagnosed (and those with needs) by providing information about insurance, home modifications, support to live independently and other services. She also promotes the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride, one of the most successful fundraising events in the country that allows participants to have fun, raise money and see the difference the MS Society is making.