Sandi Webster has always strived for self-improvement. That’s why she’s pursuing her Executive Doctorate in Business Administration at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
In October, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune selected Webster’s company, Consultants 2 Go, to join the 2015 Inner City 100, a program that honors the nation’s fastest-growing inner-city businesses.
Based in Newark, N.J., Consultants 2 Go provides consulting and marketing services in the telecom, pharmaceutical, financial services, and insurance industries. Webster, who is pursuing her Executive Doctorate of Business Administration at Fox, founded the company in 2002 with a former colleague, Peggy McHale.
“Peggy and I are very fortunate that our company has excelled in the way that it has,” Webster said. “We’ve rapidly grown our consulting firm beyond our wildest imaginations and it’s an honor that we were recognized in this way by ICIC and Fortune.”
The Inner City 100 program “recognizes successful inner-city businesses and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices, and job creation in America’s urban communities,” according to ICIC.
The list of companies was unveiled Oct. 7 at the Inner City 100 Conference and Awards in Boston. Winners gathered for a full-day business symposium featuring management case studies from Harvard Business School professors and interactive sessions with top CEOs. Keynote speakers included Governor Charlie Baker, and Harvard Business School Professor and ICIC Founder and Chairman Michael E. Porter.
Webster’s professional trajectory changed due, in part, to missing the bus.
Then an executive with American Express, Webster didn’t arrive to work on Sept. 11, 2001. Early-morning crowdedness on the day of New York City’s mayoral primary election kept her from catching her usual morning bus and, as a result, she never made it to her company’s building, located less than two city blocks from the World Trade Center.
“I had been with the company for 18 years and, after the attacks, I never went back to work for American Express at that building,” Webster said. “We lost so many good employees that day, and it caused the displacement of so many others. It altered the lives of everyone who was in New York City.
“I can’t tell you how many people started their own businesses after the tragedy of 9/11, simply out of need.”
After that day, Webster said she connected with McHale and began to reconsider her line of work.
Webster, whose company generated nearly $10 million in revenue in 2014, is always looking to improve. She, too, was looking to further herself.
“Being in the business world, I aspired for a higher-level degree,” she said. “I have a unique perspective, having worked in corporate America and now in representing clients in the small-business side. I can see where gaps are and help them work more efficiently.
“That’s why I chose the Fox School. I found the Executive DBA faculty to be knowledgeable. The proximity to our offices in Newark, N.J., was important, as well.”
Webster said working mothers comprise 80 percent of Consultants 2 Go’s employees. Her vision for her company, she said, is to offer flexible hours and locations for her workers.
“Corporations tend to let go of senior executives, some of whom are women, and that’s intellectual capital walking right out the door,” Webster said. “Conversely, there’s no one around to train young executives. That’s where I believe Consultants 2 Go can fill a void.
“Within the Executive DBA program, I hope to earn greater knowledge and complete research so I can more-closely work with companies to help them realize a better use for their intellectual capital.”
Douglas Franklin, a second-year PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, co-authored a paper that has been accepted for publication in Leadership Quarterly, a top journal. Franklin’s paper, titled “An Exploration of the Interactive Effects of Leader Trait Goal Orientation and Goal Content in Teams,” explores how leaders’ personalities and goal orientations affect teams’ task commitment, learning, and overall competency. “One of my co-authors and mentor, Dr. Christopher Porter, introduced me to the concept of leader-goal orientation, which relates to a leader’s tendency to guide their teams to focus on learning more or displaying their current knowledge when working on tasks,” said Franklin.
When working in a group, it’s inevitable that a team’s goals won’t always align with its leader’s predisposition, Franklin said. He and his fellow researchers found that, ultimately, goal orientation of leaders has a direct effect on overall team competency, for better or for worse.“When team leaders have a high tendency to encourage learning-goal orientation, it helps teams perform better when assigned performance goals,” Franklin said. “However, when team leaders have a high tendency to encourage absolute performance-goal orientation, their teams learn less when assigned learning goals.”
Franklin added that he and his fellow researchers also found that team commitment improved when leaders placed a stronger emphasis on learning goal orientation rather than on performance goal orientation. Goal orientation of leaders affects society as a whole because it is a large factor in everyday life, he said.
“Whether at work, in outside organizations, or even at home, it is important to take into consideration how your personality and your tendencies may affect those who you lead and collaborate with,” Franklin said. “Sometimes our goals do not necessarily align with subordinates, co-workers, and collaborators, which may have negative consequences if not checked.”
Though organizations typically use Big Five personality traits, and Meyers Briggs tests to understand employees during recruitment and training decisions, goal orientation may be a meaningful quasi-trait to test, Franklin said, because “it mirrors the achievement habits of people.”
At the Fox School, Franklin is pursuing his PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. He expects to complete the doctoral program in Spring 2019 and receive a faculty appointment in higher education thereafter.
Prior to his studies at the Fox School of Business, Franklin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He also earned an MBA from Rice University, and a Master’s degree in Management from Texas A&M University.
TD Ameritrade Institutional has awarded a $25,000 grant to Temple University’s Fox School of Business to foster development of a new financial planning degree program, as part its third-annual Next Gen Financial Planning Grants.
Through its Next Gen Financial Planning Grants, TD Ameritrade Institutional hopes to help the registered investment advisor industry remain vibrant for years to come by encouraging more colleges and universities to expand and enhance their financial planning degree programs, increasing the number of graduates produced each year. According to U.S. Department of Education data, roughly 700 students completed bachelor’s degree programs in financial planning in 2013, while only 90 U.S. colleges and universities offered degrees dedicated to financial planning.
“Independent financial planning is one the fastest-growing areas of the financial services business and may offer some of the brightest career prospects in the marketplace, but advisors need more than financial expertise. They need a strong desire to help people and a talent for building strong ties with clients,” Tom Nally, President of TD Ameritrade Institutional, said in a statement. “Schools like … Temple are helping educate and train a new generation of advisors so they can enter the workplace well-prepared for solving real world challenges.”
As part of a broader effort to encourage more undergraduates to pursue financial planning careers, and avert a talent shortage when thousands of baby boomer-era advisors leave the business, TD Ameritrade Institutional also awarded a grant to the University of North Texas, in Denton, Texas, to expand its existing financial planning degree program.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business will launch its Financial Planning undergraduate program this fall. Grant funds will help fund scholarships to attract top-tier students, underwrite a weekly “seminar series” that brings the workplace to campus, engaging financial planning practitioners in the Philadelphia area to speak with students providing insights into the profession’s challenges, trends and potential opportunities.
The Financial Planning major will prepare students for careers in the growing field bearing the same name, which takes a holistic approach to working with clients in order to enable them to identify and attain lifestyle and retirement goals. Students who complete the Financial Planning curriculum are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation – a unique feature of the program.
“We are incredibly proud to have been selected by TD Ameritrade Institutional as the recipient of this grant,” said Cynthia Axelrod, Program Director of Fox’s Financial Planning major and Assistant Professor of Finance. “Professionals in this field are in high demand, and this grant will bolster Fox’s efforts to provide highly qualified students that will excel as Financial Planners. “
Innovation in the United States is not lacking. It’s just that patents are being registered in less-likely locales, according to researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
The findings are part of an ongoing research initiative spearheaded by Dr. Ram Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management.
The umbrella project is dubbed iBEGIN, or International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation. A segment of the project explores innovation hubs in the United States, undertaking detailed analyses of more than 900 metropolitan areas in the U.S. In one of the first published outcomes of this research effort, Mudambi and his team examined the evolution of Detroit, a mainstay of the global automotive industry for over a century. While Detroit, a downtrodden city, continues to experience manufacturing decline, it is doing well as an innovation center, he said.
“The beauty of innovation is that it never stops,” Mudambi said. “In 1960, the U.S. was the richest country in the world, and Detroit was its richest city. And while the city has been in a continuous state of decline, we found that Detroit’s innovation numbers are very healthy.”
iBEGIN researchers define innovation through patent output, and they say Detroit’s patent output since 1975 has grown at a rate of almost twice the U.S. average. Detroit’s innovative resilience, Mudambi said, is due to its continuing centrality in global innovation networks in the automotive industry. It has maintained this centrality through connectedness to other worldwide centers of excellence in this industry, such as Germany and Japan. Its innovative links to Germany have been rising steadily over the last three decades, while its association with Japan began more recently, but also shows a steep upward trajectory.
Their research also unearthed a clearer picture of the shifting lines of American innovation. Today, Mudambi said, the Sun Belt features the country’s leading innovation hubs like San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Austin, Texas. Though the more traditional centers of innovation excellence in the Rust Belt cities have generally maintained healthy rates of innovation output, they have seen their shares of national innovative output decline. These include cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.
“In the 19th century and for most of the 20th century, the innovation hotspots were co-located with centers of manufacturing mass production,” Mudambi said. “These were concentrated in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. That’s not the case anymore. We’re seeing the lion’s share of patents being registered in regions dominated by high-knowledge industries. These industries create mainly white-collar positions for people with a bachelor’s degree, at minimum.
“However, what Detroit’s innovative success says about economies everywhere is that the roots of innovation are very deep. Policymakers spend a lot of time worrying about manufacturing. But manufacturing can be very ephemeral and firms often relocate manufacturing plants with very little notice. Innovation is more deeply rooted and, once an innovation center roots itself in an area, it’s much more likely to stick.”
Mudambi said the ongoing iBEGIN research initiative is a collaborative effort, with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, and many others.
In addition to studying innovation in American cities, iBEGIN has ongoing research exploring other contexts. These include country contexts like China, India, Brazil, Portugal, Greece and Korea as well as specialized industry contexts like automobiles, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.
Colorful Post-It notes lined the walls inside the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, each one containing intricate details on how to improve Philadelphia’s mass-transit system.
At the fifth-annual Fox DESIGNchallenge, a civic innovation challenge, students aimed to collaboratively transform their ideas into meaningful change in their community. This year’s objective focused upon identifying problem areas and generating feasible solutions in mass transit, car culture and the quality of urban life.
The event, organized by the Center for Design+Innovation (cD+i) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and the Design for Social Impact Program at The University of the Arts, rendered two first-place teams.
“SEPTA is something everyone understands. It impacts everybody because it’s the network that moves the city,” said James Moustafellos, Associate Director of cD+i and an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at Fox. “The whole issue SEPTA is facing is, how do you have mass transit in a city that has a car culture?”
One of the winning teams provided methods for creating a more-enjoyable experience for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) passengers. The team members, including four Fox School students and one from Temple’s Tyler School of Art, designed a SEPTA “Smart Shelter.” The enclosed bus stop would provide digital information boards indicating arrival times and routes, and a well-lit interior as a safety precaution.
Another first-place team, featuring three Fox students, centered its designs on revamping existing SEPTA technology. The team suggested creating a new payment system using smart-phone applications, as well as providing video boards on concourse levels to display arrival times and available capacity on incoming trains.
“The result was to form a less auto-centric future for the city,” Moustafellos said. “A lot of the students’ designs centered around convenience, quality and cleanliness of the system, safety and communication methods.”
The Fox DESIGNchallenge brought together 150 students from colleges and high schools in the region, forming 20 teams geared toward solving the problem. First- and second-place teams received cash prizes. In addition to receiving monthly vouchers from SEPTA, the proposals from top-three finishers may be displayed on video boards throughout SEPTA’s transit system.
In the lead-up to the Feb. 25 final presentations at the Kimmel Center, teams interviewed civic, business and community leaders at a networking roundtable discussion. Then, they researched areas of interest, identified community problems and opportunities and ultimately complied their work to assemble design solutions that are humanly feasible and economically satisfying.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, Philadelphians could save an average of $12,000 per year by eliminating one car or by using public transportation more frequently.
“This is more than just a fun exercise,” Moustafellos said. “It’s really about experiential learning at its best. It’s about civic engagement. You become much more aware of the place you live in, its issues and how you can become an active participant in your society and make a change.”
“Design is much more than just look and feel nowadays,” said Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems and the Director of cD+i. “Companies like Apple, Samsung, IBM and P&G have shown us that design must be embraced as core strategic capability of a company, not just an afterthought. The DESIGNchallenge is an important component of the Fox MBA program. This gives a first-hand, real-life experience of designing solutions for complex business problems.”
The Fox DESIGNchallenge was funded in part by The Knight Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Agency, through support of Temple’s Urban Apps and Maps Studios.
March 31 & April 1 at 5:30pm – 8:00pm | Alter Hall, 7th Floor
Registration for the TechConnect Workshop is now open! Reserve your seat for the two-night workshop by clicking here.
Whether you are a technologist or an aspiring entrepreneur, this workshop offers you the opportunity to introduce your ideas, identify entrepreneurial partners and develop your strategy – to build a business or to apply for NSF translational research funding. Participants may work on their own technology innovation or join another technology group.* Food and drinks will be served.
If you are a technologist, we would like to feature your innovation at TechConnect. Email Dr. Robert McNamee at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your invention.
*Protection of your ideas is our priority. IEI Leadership has worked with Temple University’s Office of TCBD to develop a process to protect your intellectual property including all participants signing non-disclosure agreements.
Scholarships available. Class Size is limited. Apply today at http://www.fox.temple.edu/landing_forms/2015/msime/msime-affiliate-google-search.php.
All business plans for the Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) competition are due this Tuesday, March 17 at 11:59 p.m. Competitors will submit their plans to https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/byobb2015 and BYOBB finalists will be announced by April 1. As a reminder, you must include three items in your application:
- The business plan (http://d3iovmfe1okdrz.cloudfront.net/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015.BYOBB_.Template1-11.doc)
- A pitch deck
- 3 year excel Profit and Loss Statement
If you have any questions about the BYOBB competition please look at the BYOBB website, email email@example.com or call 215-204-3082 for more information. We will have people standing by until 8:00 pm on March 17th to answer questions.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BYOBB2015 to join in on the conversation.
On Tuesday, February 24, IEI’s Executive Director, Ellen Weber, led a “Pitch Decks” workshop discussing the components and expectations of a pitch deck to prepare those who are competing in the BYOBB business plan competition. The presentation took place in Fox’s IEI Lab from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Beginning the presentation, Ellen defined a pitch deck as “a six-to-eight minute presentation with an investor focus that grabs early attention and holds attention by hitting highlights of your business plan, leaving the investor eager to know more.” When someone likes your pitch, it increases your chances of getting your business plan read. For instance, if you do a great job with your pitch deck, the judges will be more favorably disposed while reading your business plan.
Regarding the pitch deck PowerPoint presentation, it is important the presenter’s slides speak for his/her product or service. If the slides fail to tell a story, students should create a narration deck to include their notes from their note section to help the pitch deck flow. Remember, don’t just tell the business plan, share the business plan so the judges can see it and have a feel for it. A personal tip Ellen suggested to students was to create an appendix slide so BYOBB participants are prepared if a judge asks a question, the participant can go directly to that slide to answer the judge’s question.
Out of all of your PowerPoint slides, the financials slide is most important. This is because judges can get a sense of how you think as an entrepreneur by seeing a three year financial projection and history. By showing your revenues, expenses and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), the judges can learn when you think growth or break-even may occur in your business. Keep in mind to never include decimals in your financials!
At the very end of your presentation, do not have a slide simply saying, “Thank You.” The last slide will stay up for judges to look at during the Q&A so it is essential to leave a lasting impression by ending with a summary slide of reasons why to invest in your company. Also, don’t forget to have your contact information listed in the beginning and end of the presentation because if someone sends your pitch deck to someone else, and you have no contact information listed, you may have lost yourself a major opportunity.
BYOBB judges will also pay extreme attention to how well the students know, understand and care about competition. Ellen advised, “The more you can differentiate your product or service, the better. The more you know about your competitors, the better. It is okay to have your competition do some things your company can’t do because this is how you show which niche you are going for.”
Overall, do what is best for you and your company. Make your story compelling, keep it simple and short, cover all of the necessary info, and show what the product looks like. Be passionate, entrepreneurial, honest and coachable. Don’t get discouraged by constructive criticism; do your homework and listen and accept negative feedback, as it will only help you in the long-run.
As a reminder, there will be On Demand Mentoring sessions on March 10 (5 p.m.) and March 11 (12 p.m.) for BYOBB participants to receive feedback from senior executives on the financials, strategy, marketing, and other challenging sections of their business plans. Both sessions will take place in Alter Hall’s IEI Lab, room 503D.
To learn more about how to create a successful pitch deck, visit http://bizclarity.com/handout-basics/. Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
It was standing room only for renowned entrepreneur and Strategic Management Professor, Dwight Carey, as he led the “Cash Flow, Profits & Financials” workshop on February 18 in Fox’s IEI Lab.
Professor Carey started his presentation by stating, “Cash is more important than your momma because without cash you are out of business.” Students laughed at his opening remark, but he was very serious.
Throughout the workshop, he never strayed from the discussion of a cash flow pro forma, as it is key to an entrepreneur who does not want to run out of cash. He asked students about the components of a balance sheet and the main difference between income sheets and balance sheets because these answers are key to a successful cash flow pro forma. He shared the easy part of a cash flow pro forma is the expenses, and the hard part is the income.
As a young entrepreneur, the odds are going to be against you. Professor Carey said, “In the first five years, about 50 or more percent of all startups are going to go bankrupt. At the end of 10 years, only one in 10 companies will make it.” He provided advice on how to avoid joining these statistics:
- There is such a thing as “love money.” For example, your father is willing to cash in his 401K to get your business going. Be cautious because if this money burns out, you may have your father living with you for the rest of your life. Ultimately, be careful when borrowing this so-called love money!
- It is extremely important to project your revenue. This means, sit down with no distractions and write down every little thing that could affect your business sales in the future. This includes strikes, natural disasters, the city shutting down, etc. As entrepreneurs, you need to always look into the future for your business to succeed.
- Do not hire people in the beginning of your company simply just to “hire people.” You need to remember that once you hire someone, you have an ethical and moral responsibility to make them good employees. It is immoral to simply hire and fire people just because you suddenly realize you don’t need them in your company. Instead, hire independent contractors or your peers who have the skills your business needs to get started.
- If you want your product in a company, don’t be afraid to call that company’s president. Ask for just 15 minutes of his/her time to pitch your product to get it in that dream company. Perfect your pitch in front of a mirror so you are confident and ready to share your innovation and passion with the world!
- Lastly, ask yourself from May to the end of your first year, “Can I afford to lose $45,000?” If you say no, don’t throw your idea away quite yet. Instead, go back over your cash flow pro forma and either (1) increase your sales or (2) cut your expenses. Ultimately, be incredibly realistic about your product and business and ruthlessly honest with yourself in order to succeed.
At the end of the workshop, Professor Carey gave students “homework” to research the founder of SPANX, Sara Blakely, who is the first female billionaire under 30 years old. He told students to listen to her story from The Edge Connection, as she will share, “One day you wake up and you’re an inventor and then one day you wake up and you’re a company.” Learn more about Sara and her booming business here.
On Wednesday, February 19, Owner of Genzer Associates, Rick Gezner, came to Fox to speak to students about how to create a competitive business analysis by discussing perceptual maps, competitor matrix, industry structure and environment.
A leader of business and technology since 1986, Rick has held roles ranging from software engineer to executive vice president and chief technology officer. As an independent management consultant, Rick has also started five of his own businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Throughout the workshop, Rick put an emphasis on the significance of competition in the business industry. He explained how important it is to define, understand, address and develop strategy for your company as well as know who, where, what, how and how much the competition is to your business.
Rick explained the biggest problem in all business is the “last mile,” also known as shipping and transportation. This is because it has a geometric effect on cost and the smallest disruption will cause a problem. He advises, “If you are in a new market with a new product, you have to educate the entire market. If you jump in where competition exists, you don’t have to explain. Don’t shy away from competition.”
As a last key note, he shared entrepreneurs must always stay on message and be very crisp, no matter the circumstance!
Michele McKeone, high school teacher turned successful entrepreneur, came to speak to Fox students about her business, Autism Expressed, for a Fireside Chat on February 11. Michele began the Fireside Chat by sharing her story, explaining how her background in education as a teacher of seven years helped her understand the market of what technology worked and what failed to work for her business.
Autism Expressed is an online learning platform that is used to maximize engagement in learning for students with autism. The program prepares individuals for life after high school by helping to increase their independence and providing opportunities for post-secondary education growth.
Michele shared that the success of her company was from, “learning and talking to her customers, learning about budgeting and prioritizing to what they were going to purchase.” She knew there was a need for these services, yet with so few resources, she had to do a lot of the groundwork on her own in order for her business to be the success it is today.
McKeone shared it can be challenging to work with students with autism, but it is also the most rewarding experience. Her passion for the product reinforces the success for the program, making others love and want to utilize it for their children. She hopes one day Autism Expressed will be an international company, as there is no reason why she and her team cannot make it happen.
When first finding a team, she worked with many types of people. There is a strong social impact aspect to the company of people wanting to “do good” for others. Michele shared, “It was easy to motivate people because they knew they were doing something meaningful, by helping students learn impeccable skill sets and digital life skills.”
She wrapped up the discussion by showing a demonstration of Autism Expressed, sharing the principles of applied behavior analysis for the “student experience.” There are over 250 lessons right now within the program and students are limited to the number of lessons they can complete each week.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a research team from Temple University a three-year grant totaling nearly $900,000 to fund a social-science project into the tracking of human behaviors through big data.
This marks the fourth NSF-awarded grant in the last five years that an interdisciplinary team of Temple faculty members has received to study the evolution of digital artifacts using large-scale digital trace data. The collaboration joins researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and College of Science and Technology (CST).
“When humans interact with digital systems, we leave a trace. Every call we make, every website we visit, it’s stamped with time and space information,” said Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School, and the research grant’s primary investigator. “What we do is constantly changing, and the trace data can act as DNA. What we focus on through this research is the repeat behaviors in humans that can be captured through digital trace data.
“Using those evolutionary patterns, we believe we can predict future behaviors of individuals and organizations. For example, by detecting the changes of commute patterns of individuals, we can predict overall public-transit systems’ performance in the future. Similarly, we want to be able to predict the changes in individual behaviors based on environmental changes.
Yoo said he and the grant’s co-principal investigators will study digitally enabled processes in complex digital systems, which “are like a living ecosystem, in that they constantly evolve,” he said. If patterns in the trace data represent what they call “behavioral genes,” Yoo said, alterations to those behavioral routines are “gene mutations.” Eventually, he said, the research team envisions developing software that will better predict the changes to those behavioral genes.
The benefits in doing so, according to Yoo, “are endless.” In a healthcare application, trace data could develop a pattern by which a patient sees a doctor or produce an average cost of care per patient. In an industry sense, such “gene mutations” could impact performance and cost.
“On the surface,” Yoo said, “all smart phones, for example, look the same. But everybody’s phone is different because of apps. It used to be that the product’s designer would make the product, and that was the end of the story. Now, it’s only the beginning. Millions of apps are downloaded. They’re changing constantly.
“Our argument is that, particularly in digital space, innovation never remains the same. It constantly changes and takes different forms.”
The research team includes: Yoo; Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School; Dr. Zoran Obradovic, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Data Analytics at CST; and Dr. Rob Kulathinal, Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of Science and Technology.
The NSF-awarded research grant runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
Gaps in academic literature focusing on computer-mediated environments have been synthesized to offer potential for new research and design models.
Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy Paul A. Pavlou, of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and Macy’s Foundation Professor Manjit S. Yadav, of Texas A&M University, organized and synthesized academic research around four key interactions in CMEs: consumer-firm, firm-consumer, consumer-consumer and firm-firm.
Pavlou and Yadav synthesized 124 articles from four widely recognized journals — Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science and Journal of Consumer Research — into specialized topics to identify gaps by juxtaposing current research with marketplace practices and emerging trends.
“Of course, in any literature, there are gaps.” Pavlou said. “This type of literature is very broad, and it’s natural for people to focus on what’s interesting and timely. That’s why there are gaps.”
Gaps found in consumer-firm interactions indicate the needs to understand that there are new shopping contexts that may be useful for categorization and research. The gaps also suggest that the structure of consumers’ shopping funnel — a large number of choices winnowed down to a final selection — needs to be examined more closely.
Furthermore, as little is known about how consumers navigate and integrate information from various types of devices and interfaces in CMEs, finer process models need to be developed, which would enhance consumer-firm interactions.
There are also gaps in theory development opportunities that affect firm-consumer interactions. In order to fill this, enhanced consumer visibility, which will allow firms to capture and detail consumers’ activities in CMEs, needs to be given a more central role in theory development. In doing so, a more integrated view can be provided of firms’ marketing activities across online and offline environments.
In terms of consumer-consumer interaction, gaps related to the growing interest in social commerce as well as the shift in the type of content generation that occurs in social networks need to be addressed. These gaps pave the way for three main avenues for theory development.
First, social commerce needs to be clarified to include purchase and non-purchase activities in social networks. Second, understanding the creation, consumption and dissemination of content in social networks should be an important priority. Third, theoretical work is needed that delineates the costs and benefits of consumers’ investments of time and effort on social media.
In order to address the gaps found in firm-firm interactions, research needs to focus more closely on concepts such as external and internal coordination that are important to transaction costs analysis and agency theory. This is because of the inter-organizational shifts due to emerging intermediaries in business-to-busines marketplaces, platform-based competition, and new types of reverse auctions.
By synthesizing literature, Pavlou and Yadav also yielded suggestions to develop methodological innovations as it pertains to new data, new designs and new models.
“Multiple parties can benefit from this research,” Pavlou said. “I see graduate students, PhD students and novices in the area getting the most benefit. It’s easier for them to read over a synthesis versus trying to synthesize over 100 papers to find gaps on their own.”
Pavlou and Yadav’s article, Marketing in Computer-Mediated Environments: Research Synthesis and New Directions, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketng, an A journal.