Blurring the Stark Distinction Between Masculine and Feminine Brands

An identity, integral to our understanding of who we are is our gender identity. It is perhaps the first and the most easily recognizable feature of our persona that we. Unlike sex, our gender is not congenitally determined; rather it is constructed, developed, and refined through social and cultural exchanges. The appropriate and discriminatory gender roles ascribed by the society, direct communication, and influence of media coerce us to develop a personal sense of “maleness or femaleness”.

Business Perspectives and ResearchWhatever be the case, once we develop a gender identity we communicate and demonstrate it in a number of ways. A common way is to appropriate consumption practices and props that reflect our gender identity. Marketers’ gender work is instrumental in creating gendered brands. Since gendered brands appeal to the gender of consumers, they are suitable for either men or women, but not for both. As such, gendered brands create distinct gender cultures populated with gender specific brands. However, of late stagnant sales and societal changes have encouraged many marketers to engage in brand gender bending by deconstructing the gender exclusivity of brands. Marketers are continually expanding the gender spectrum of previously gendered brands by bringing women into the male-skewed customer base of male-gendered products and vice versa. The historical divide between masculine and feminine products is blurring and “unisex” is emerging as the new consumption ideology.

An article from Business Perspective and Research attempts to integrate and extend the theory of brand gender bending by convening arguments from different but complimentary social sciences. Based on the review and scientific understanding of the long-standing research, the study underscores the difference in the reactions of men and women to brand gender bending. It also proposes a conceptual framework that highlights the determinants that drive consumer responses to brand gender bending.

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Abstract

In the postmodern era, many marketers have disturbed the strict gender discipline traditionally associated with gendered brands. Marketers are redoing their gender work by blurring the stark distinction between masculine and feminine brands. New consumption ideologies are developing that transcend the gendered meanings of brands and encourage men and women to infiltrate brands traditionally associated with the opposite gender. “Unisex” is emerging as the byword. This review convenes the phenomenological consumer responses to brand gender bending. It specifically highlights the contrast between the ways in which men and women react to dilution/revision of the gender identity meanings of their brands. This article also underscores the ethnographic, sociological, psychological, and anthropological reasons that justify these reactions.

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Business and Society Special Issues on Digital Technology and Business Responsibilities

ball-63527_1920Business and Society just recently published its new special issue titled “The Governance of Digital Technology, Big Data, and the Internet: New Roles and Responsibilities for Business.” This Issue features a collection of articles that explore how new technologies and innovations have changed the social responsibilities of businesses. What does the digital age hold for corporate social responsibility?

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Business & Society aims to be the leading, peer-reviewed outlet for scholarly work dealing specifically with the intersection of business and society. They publish research that develops, tests and refines theory, and which enhances our understanding of important societal issues and their relation to business. It is the official journal of the International Association of Business and Society.

To read more about the issue click here.

 

 

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Global Banks or Global Investors? The Case of European Debt Flows

euro-1974711_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Robert Sweeney of the University of Leeds. He recently published an article in Competition and Change entitledGlobal banks or global investors? The case of European debt flows,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Sweeney reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

ccha_21_3.coverWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

It was part of my PhD. Initially I was examining capital flows in Europe from conventional perspectives and critiquing those approaches. This included a focus on unit labour costs, fiscal imbalances, and so on. I found there was already a quite large body of existing research that critically examined those accounts. That led me to consider more finanical-based explanations of capital flows. Having examined the data I felt that the emphasis on banks was unwarranted. Upon further investigation I became convinced that institutional investors are the driving force in capital markets in general, and debt-based capital flows in Europe in particular.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

The most challenging part of the research was finding the data. The paper relies on a variety of sources, many of which are pieced together by sifting through consultancy and industry reports. The most surprising thing about the paper was that the centrality of institutional investors in European debt flows had not been established previously. As the article is being published almost 10 years have passed since the crisis broke. A lot has been written on capital flows in Europe and much of existing research has built on or is some variant of previous work. Of course my work doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but I was surprised that nobody had taken my approach before.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Be open minded. Don´t get too wedded to any particular theoretical framework whether you´re part of the consensus or a dissenting voice. Look at the data and see if a certain analytical framework is appropriate. Don´t try to shoehorn a theoretical approach in a context where it is not empircally supported. It can be difficult to realise that you were wrong about something. Rather than trying to defend your position to the hilt, see flaws in your argument as opportunities to learn something new. State your argument as clearly as possible. That sounds simple but all too often in social science research arguments are couched in unnecessary complexity. Economics rightly gets a hard time for mathematical rigour over substance, but the problem generalises across the social sciences. Rather than using complex mathematical constructions, research in other fields too often clouds its arguements in obscurantist language. So if you are reading an article and find it difficult to unpack, it´s probably not your fault.

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The Bias of Size in Gambling Decisions: Evidence from a Casino Game Hierarchy

backgammon-2488089_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Lawrence Hoc Nang Fong, Davis Ka Choi Fong, Robin Chark, Peter Man Wai Chui of the University of Macau. They recently published an article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly entitled “The Bias of Size in Gambling Decisions: Evidence from a Casino Game,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Wang reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

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What motivated you to pursue this research?
This study stems from the authors’ observations of Cussec players in casinos. As gamblers strive to predict the outcome based on previous outcome pattern shown on the screen which is attached to the table, is there any other hint they are trying to locate? While the Chinese characters “Big” and “Small” are clearly displayed on the screen, they can be the hint. Our feeling is that gamblers would incline to bet on “Big” as it sounds more positive than “Small” and they may intrinsically link “Big” to win which is the positive outcome in gambling. Given this speculation, we’ve tried to find whether there had been a study about the said phenomenon, but we got nothing. We think this topic deserves documentation in the literature and thus initiated this research.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?
Cognitive bias has been a popular research agenda for decades. The bias of size, to our best understanding, remains unexamined. We believe that this study opens a new research stream of cognitive bias in gambling. Future research may examine the questions that we raised at the end of the paper:
“Is the bias maintained if the cue is physical size? In the gambling context, will an outcome option with a larger area on the table layout signal a higher chance of winning?”

What is the most important/ influential piece of scholarship you’ve read in the last year?
Peetz and Soliman’s (2016) paper entitled “Big money: The effect of money size on value perceptions and saving motivation” is an importance piece of work that sheds light to our study. They found that a picture of money with larger size was perceived as more valuable. While gambling is an activity overwhelmed by monetary reward, the mental link between “Big” and win (money as reward) is not unreasonable. We felt blessed to discover and read Peetz and Soliman’s paper.

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The Relationships Between Stress, Drinking, and Complaints at Work

stress-2051408_1920[We’re pleased to welcome authors Jeremy D. Mackey of Auburn University and Pamela L. Perrewé of Florida State University. They recently published an article in the Group and Organization Management entitled “The Relationships Between Hindrance Stressors, Problem Drinking, and Somatic Complaints at Work” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Mackey speaks about the motivation and challenges of this research:]

GOM_72ppiRGB_powerpointPam Perrewé and I were excited to publish our paper entitled “The Relationships between Hindrance Stressors, Problem Drinking, and Somatic Complaints at Work” in Group & Organization Management. We were motivated to conduct our study on the indirect effects of hindrance stressors on somatic complaints at work through problem drinking because we were interested in examining the impact of problem drinking on organizational stress processes. Our conceptualization of problem drinking examines alcohol consumption that is personally and/or socially harmful. Although problem drinking has been widely studied in psychology research, its effects have yet to be fully illuminated in organizational research. Thus, we sought to examine the effects of perceptions of workplace obstacles (i.e., hindrance stressors) on physiological strain (i.e., somatic complaints at work) through problem drinking. We hope our innovative conceptualization of problem drinking as a self-medication coping mechanism impacts research and practice by encouraging researchers and practitioners to examine the role of employees’ attempts to cope with organizational stress by engaging in problem drinking.

The most challenging aspect of conducting our study was how to appropriately examine problem drinking in organizational contexts. Problem drinking is a sensitive topic and there is little precedent for how to appropriately study it in organizational settings. Ultimately, we opted to examine employees’ frequencies of problem drinking because it was appropriate for our research question and study design. We recommend that other scholars who pursue this field of study consider the numerous ways of measuring problem drinking in order to choose appropriate ways to measure it for their research goals. For example, examining quantities of alcohol consumed, drinking to intoxication, the frequency/intensity of experienced hangovers, and problem drinking within the workplace all offer useful ways for future research to examine problem drinking and assess its effects on groups and organizations.

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World Futures Review, Call for Papers: The State of the Practice

Have research on foresight education or opinions on the state of the field? Submit to the World Futures Review‘s Special Issue titled “Teaching Futures: The State of the Practice.”

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World Futures Review (WFR) is the top forum for all who are professionally involved in exploring trends and alternatives for society. This dynamic quarterly publication offers valuable insight on the theoretical, research and practical issues confronting those interested in futures research. Along with interviews with leading futures practitioners, WFR publishes important new foresight literature.

For more details click here.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/wfr.

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review.spwfr_9_1_72ppiRGB_150pixw

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Systems Thinking and Population Ecology

bubble-19329_1920[We’re pleased to welcome authors Karen Macmillan and Jennifer Komar of Wilfrid Laurier University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled “Population Ecology (Organizational Ecology): An Experiential Exercise Demonstrating How Organizations in an Industry Are Born, Change, and Die,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Macmillan speaks about population (organizational ecology) and its applications:]

 

 

Organizations are embedded within complex, interdependent networks.  Yet it can be challenging for business students to conceptualize how organizations interact with others on a broad scale. This type of systems thinking does not come naturally. Most individuals tend to have difficulty understanding non-linear, interdependent connections when the relationships are distant in time and space.

One line of management study that takes a systems view is population (or organizational) ecology.  Rather than observing how an individual company evolves over a brief period, population ecologists look at all of the organizations within an industry and examine how certain characteristics (e.g., size), the environment, and random chance affect organizational outcomes. Population ecologists identify how industries change over many years, often finding patterns across industries in how organizations are born, change, and die.  This approach differs from traditional management theory in two key ways.  First, all members of a targeted population are included in the analysis. The premise is that to focus only on the most successful organizations (e.g., the Fortune 500) leads to an understanding of only a small portion of the total range of organizations. It can be useful to examine not only the winners, but also the losers, and even the runners-up. Second, population ecologists examine how processes evolve over relatively long periods of time. This can lead to different insights than a cross-sectional approach.

In order to help students develop systems thinking through a consideration of population ecology, we have developed an in-class exercise that allows participants to see first-hand in one class how all of the organizations within an industry interact over a long period. Full details are included so instructors can easily integrate this activity into the classroom. This process makes the theory come alive by asking students to put themselves directly into the role of an organizational decision maker in an evolving industry.

The exercise dramatically highlights how an organization affects, and is affected by, its context, and will help to prepare students to operate effectively within a multi-faceted business environment. This activity could fit within discussions on organizational design, organizational structure, organizational change, or inter-organizational relationships, and it complements instruction on more micro organizational behavior topics, or more linear or analytical approaches to management.  It challenges the idea that management is solely about control, and helps students see that each internal decision influences how the organization fits within a broader system, and affects, ultimately, its ability to survive.

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