Author Archive

Listen to the Podcast on Cornell Hospitality Quarterly’s 2014 Best Article Award Winner!

March 30, 2015

cqx coverWe’re pleased to congratulate Kathryn A. LaTour of Cornell University and Lewis P. Carbone of Experience Engineering, winners of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly‘s 2014 Best Article Award for their article “Sticktion: Assessing Memory for the Customer Experience.” The pair discussed their study on assessing memory for the customer experience in the latest podcast from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

You can click here to download the podcast. You can also read the article for free by clicking here.

Want to know about more research like this? Click here to browse all of the podcasts from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and here to subscribe to the SAGE Management and Business podcast channel on iTunes. You can also sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest articles from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly sent directly to your inbox!

klatourKathryn A. LaTour, Ph.D., is an associate professor of services marketing at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University (kal276@cornell.edu). She is a consumer psychologist focusing on how consumers remember and learn from their consumption experiences. Her current research involves understanding how expertise is developed within the context of wine.

lou-carbone-lgLewis P. Carbone (“Lou”) is a chief experience officer at Experience Engineering, a consulting company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that works with many Fortune 500 companies on the design of their experience offerings (http://www.expeng.com) (lcarbone@expeng.com) He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Thiel College, Greenville, PA.

Preview SAGE’s Newest Business Offering: SAGE Business Researcher

March 27, 2015

This month SAGE launched a new online library product for business students and practitioners: SAGE Business Researcher. More thorough than a newspaper article and more timely than a scholarly journal, SAGE Business Researcher publishes bi-weekly reports written by experienced journalists on the most pressing issues in business and management.

The following is excerpted from the issue “Doing Business in India.”

Cultural Differences Confront Foreigners
By Madhusmita Bora

“You will always be offered at least a cup of tea”

In a country as diverse and as big as India, navigating bureaucracy, red tape and infrastructure hurdles aren’t the only challenges foreign investors and businesses face. To thrive in the country, outsiders must acquaint themselves with India’s cultural quirks.

Hospitality

Unlike in the West, getting down to business right away is not the Indian way. Indians take pride in their hospitality. In business dealings, it’s best to reciprocate the goodwill.

“You will always be offered at least a cup of tea before a discussion or a meeting takes place,” Kugelman says. “My advice is to take up the offer.”

A cup of tea often serves as the best icebreaker, he adds. Somewhere down the line you will most certainly get invited to homes of colleagues for a meal with the family; fostering such personal interaction can be key to long-lasting business relationships.

Stretchable Time

One of India’s quirks is the notion of time. The day always starts late.

Ranjini Manian—author of “Doing Business in India for Dummies”—says Indian employees are hardworking, but they don’t necessarily show up at work on time and are not efficient with time management. “You have to come to terms with India’s flexible working hours,” she says. “Unlike the West, there’s no rush or hurry to get things done. We are human ‘beings,’ not human ‘doings.’”

But, despite the late arrivals, work always gets done, Manian says.

Workplace Hierarchy

Indians maintain a strong sense of hierarchy at the workplace, just as they do at home.
The top bosses are often looked upon as father figures. Most Indian employees require hand-holding and cajoling when on the job. Emotion is a huge factor in business, Manian says.

Bosses in India are viewed more as benevolent dictators looking out for their employees and teams than as colleagues, Manian says. She says it is important for managers to set goals, remove hurdles through discussions and take an interest in employees inside and outside of work in order to get the best out of them.

Practice Patience

Most Westerners expect immediate feedback in business dealings and negotiations and find that they often get frustrated dealing with their Indian counterparts, wrote Eugene M. Makar in his book “An American’s Guide to Doing Business in India.”

“Be patient,” Makar counseled. “Traditional Indians are reluctant to say no and can be polite and courteous to a fault.”

Sign up to trial SAGE Business Researcher!

Is There a Shortage of Skilled Workers?

March 25, 2015

cubicle-farm-107096-m[We’re pleased to welcome Lawrence M. Kahn of Cornell University. Dr. Kahn currently serves as co-editor of ILR Review.]

In recent years, some employers, researchers and policymakers have raised concerns about a shortage of skilled workers in the United States. In some instances, the supposed shortage takes the form of poor literacy and numeracy skills among young people making the transition from school to work. In others cases, employers have complained about an insufficient supply of technically-trained workers, while policymakers have voiced concerns about a dearth of students pursuing science, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields. Related to possible shortages at the aggregate level is the potential problem of mismatches between the skills workers have and those demanded by firms. These concerns, if valid, have important implications for macroeconomic policy as well as the long run standard of living of U.S. workers.

In the March 2015 issue of the ILR Review, we publish a Symposium consisting of three papers studying different aspects of these ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointquestions. In papers by Peter Cappelli and by Katharine Abraham, the authors provide evidence that leads one to question whether there is indeed a shortage of skilled workers and whether there is an increasing mismatch between the supply of and the demand for skills. The third paper in our Symposium, by Werner Eichhorst, Núria Rodriguez-Planas, Ricarda Schmidl, and Klaus F. Zimmermann, addresses one of the issues posed by Cappelli: how can we better integrate young people into the labor market? It provides international evidence on policies regarding vocational education and training, which of course don’t just affect youth, but young people are disproportionately served by such policies. This Symposium provides important new evidence on skills and labor market outcomes that will be of great interest to those concerned with the sluggish labor market beginning with the Great Recession.

You can read the Symposium on Skill Shortages and Mismatches from ILR Review for free for the next 30 days. Click here to view the Table of Contents. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest research from ILR Review sent directly to your inbox!

Submit Your Research to Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation

March 23, 2015

jscanWe are pleased to announce a new journal launching in spring 2015, Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, the official journal of the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM).

Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation is an international refereed journal publishing research and theory about practices that challenge the status quo in strategic contracting and negotiations.

Editors:

Usha C. V. Haley, West Virginia University, USA
Tyrone S. Pitsis, Newcastle University, UK; The University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
David M. Van Slyke, Syracuse University, USA

The journal welcomes submissions concerning theory, research and the practice of strategic contracting and negotiation. Multidisciplinary in nature, Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation welcomes articles from a wide range of disciplines. Possible submissions include articles on the following:

  • Papers that speak to the complexity of relational contracting
  • Papers that provide insights into performance based contracts
  • Papers that advance our understanding of contracting under complexity and ambiguity

Papers that explore the practices of negotiation as an ongoing process (not just something that happened until a contract is signed)

As a journal of the IACCM your work will also be translated into an executive summary for 8,000 of its members: giving you the opportunity for creating impact.
For more information on submitting to Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation please click here.

Book Review: New Strategies for Social Innovation: Market-Based Approaches for Assisting the Poor

March 20, 2015

515PTSxE02L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Steven G. Anderson: New Strategies for Social Innovation: Market-Based Approaches for Assisting the Poor. New York: Columbia University Press, 344 pp. $105.00 (hardcover), $31.50 (paperback), $29.79 (Kindle Edition), ISBN-13: 978-0231159227

Satyam of the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow, India recently reviewed Steven G. Anderson’s book on strategies for assisting the poor in developing countries, available now in the OnlineFirst section of Journal of Macromarketing.

Different perspectives on which developmental approach is the best to tackle the problems of the poor have been JMMK_new C1 template.indddebated, while change agents have been trying to address this issue in various ways. The answer lies in finding solutions to more fundamental questions including: What are some of the best ways to assist the poor in developing countries; which development strategies have better chances of success in a particular context and why; what are the strengths and limitations of these social change approaches; and what is the way forward?

Professor Steven G. Anderson, Director of School of Social Work at Michigan State University, draws upon his four decades of expertise as academician as well as practitioner and attempts to answer these questions in his latest book, New Strategies for Social Innovation: Market-Based Approaches for Assisting the Poor. His book takes the readers through four broad social development approaches that emphasize diverse market-based strategies to improve the life of disadvantaged groups. The book contains seven chapters and is just above three hundred pages in length. The chapters are organized around the approaches described by the author and towards the end an attempt is made to integrate these overarching approaches along with a comparative analysis.

You can read the rest of the review from Journal of Macromarketing for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research and reviews from Journal of Macromarketing? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

John Paul Stephens on Aesthetics in Design Thinking

March 18, 2015

[We’re pleased to welcome John Paul Stephens of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Stephens recently collaborated with Brodie J. Boland, also of Case Western Reserve University, on their paper entitled “The Aesthetic Knowledge Problem of Problem-Solving With Design Thinking” from Journal of Management Inquiry.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointIn attending the 2010 “Convergence: Managing + Designing” workshop at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, we were struck with a particular question. Isn’t “managing as designing” (or “design thinking” for some folks) simply all about aesthetics? If so, what does this mean for managers and their organizations?

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

In researching for this essay, we were struck by the mix of opinions and research on how well managers and organizational systems could rely on “design” and using non-rational forms of problem-solving. More recent thinking has suggested that organizations today really need to incorporate novel, less-familiar ways of defining and generating solutions for problems.

But there are also arguments that the management education and the reward systems in organizations are all set up to focus on rationally getting to the bottom-line through selecting from pre-determined options. Also, even though design thinking seems to be a pretty popular way to approach problems in organizations these days, it still hasn’t been defined clearly, and is still limited to only a few key adopters. We tried to take in all perspectives saying that 1) we agree that new ways of seeing problems and their impacts are needed 2) using art-based forms of defining problems and generating solutions provides insight into things that are usually hard to see and talk about 3) this relies on aesthetic knowledge – or the ‘feel’ of a problem for the people involved – and therefore on engaging our bodily senses and 4) not very many organizations are set up to draw on this kind of knowledge based in what we see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope that our research into this provides a more concise and meaningful definition of design thinking. We believe that at its core, design thinking is about generating and using aesthetic knowledge to define a problem and generate appropriate solutions to it. This means that when designers try to translate their practice for managers, they need to be up front about how important the body and its senses are for problem-solving. This also means that managers and the entire organizational system need to acknowledge where the body gets devalued or is made invisible at work. If an organization wants to adopt design thinking, then it needs to lay a lot of ground work to do so successfully. For organizational researchers, this means that it is important to focus on the body when trying to study complex problem-solving and decision-making. At some level, we all study what is meaningful for the human beings who make up organizations, and how people use their bodies will always be an important aspect of that meaning-making.

You can read “The Aesthetic Knowledge Problem of Problem-Solving With Design Thinking” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

jps136John Paul Stephens is an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He pursues research on the felt experience of organizing, in terms of the emotional characteristics of high-quality relationships at work and the aesthetic experience of coordinating as a group. He received his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

picture-40800Brodie J. Boland is a management consultant based in Toronto. His research interests are primarily in the areas of institutional change, social movements, and ecological sustainability. He earned his PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University.

Book Review: The Cultivation of Taste: Chefs and the Organization of Fine Dining

March 13, 2015

Book0199651655Christel Lane : The Cultivation of Taste: Chefs and the Organization of Fine Dining. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 368 pp. $45.00/£30.00, hardback.

You can read the review by Michaela DeSoucey of North Carolina State University, available in the OnlineFirst section of Administrative Science Quarterly.

In today’s world, eating out is serious business. And Christel Lane’s new book, The Cultivation of Taste, is a serious—and engaging—scholarly investigation into the business of the culinary industry. Broadly, her comparative analysis of the world of fine-dining chefs and top restaurants in Britain and Germany is a study of the contemporary social organization and business of taste. It unites arguments from organizational theory, the sociology of culture, and economic sociology. Lane, a sociologist, takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour, spanning organizational and industry structures, the occupational careers and attitudes of elite chefs, and ASQ_v60n1_Mar2015_cover.inddthe taste-making power of gastronomic guides, namely the prestigious Michelin Guide. Her choice of Britain and Germany as case studies was a purposeful one; both are newcomers to fine dining and equally smaller than the French sector. Yet, despite lacking rich histories of haute cuisine, both have seen stratospheric public interest in home-grown fine dining—and all that neo–fine-dining entails in the 21st century—in the last few decades.

In theorizing the differences between the development of fine dining in the two countries, Lane offers both a macro-level study of institutional change within the field of European gastronomy and a meso-level investigation of organizational logics and repertoires of action among the chefs who inhabit this unique social world. This will likely be relevant for neo-institutionalists in regard to logics and inhabited institutionalism, as well as speak to organizational ecologists interested in category spanning. Lane relies primarily on Boltanski and Thevenot’s (2006) forms of “worth,” principles of evaluation that define what is appropriate, or not, in different realms of social life. Many of these conceptions of value are in conflict with one another here, such as tensions between creativity and profit. While it does not break much new theoretical ground for organization scholars, the book offers an in-depth look at how diversity in logics structures organizational entities and competing orders of worth in a hot cultural industry.

You can read the rest of the review from Administrative Science Quarterly for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest reviews and research from Administrative Science Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Submit Your Research to SAGE Business Cases!

March 9, 2015

sbc

SAGE is looking to commission original business case studies. Please get in touch if you would like to write or submit a case!

SAGE Business Cases (SBC) is a digital collection of cases from across the range of Business & Management disciplines. Sold around the world directly to academic libraries, SBC will include cases that can be used for a wide range of pedagogical uses, from illustrating core business and management skills in the classroom to independent student projects. Scheduled to launch in Fall 2015, SBC will be delivered on SAGE’s digital library platform, SAGE Knowledge, which will allow for cases to be integrated with SAGE’s leading journal, book, reference, and video content.

What SAGE is looking for:

  • Well-written, dynamic cases that expose students to real-world business problems.
  • Cases can be written for the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Cases can be based on field research or written using publically available sources.
  • Teaching notes to ensure effective classroom use.
  • 1,500-5,000 words in length.

Benefits of submitting your case:

  • Peer review of your case.
  • Honorarium paid when your case is accepted for publication.
  • Detailed metadata ensures your case is easily found and used by students and academics.
  • Discoverability of your existing publications on our SAGE Knowledge platform.
  • Digital format designed for how today’s students learn.

How can I get involved?

It is easy to get involved in SAGE Business Cases. Simply e-mail Maureen Adams for more information at maureen adams sagepub.com

How much is too much? – Selling your service without overtaxing your customer

March 6, 2015

[We’re pleased to welcome Anika Kolberg, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Ruhr-University of Bochum in Germany. Dr. Kolberg recently collaborated with Sven Mikolon, Till Haumann and Jan Wieseke on their article entitled “The Complex Role of Complexity: How Service Providers Can Mitigate Negative Effects of Perceived Service Complexity When Selling Professional Services” from Journal of Service Research.]

anika_kohlberg

Anika Kohlberg

We all have, at one time or another, wondered how something actually works – and then finally given up trying to understand it. The feeling that results is anything but satisfying.

From a customer perspective, this is basically what happens when customers are confronted with a complex yet necessary service: They have to understand it, because otherwise they cannot make a sound decision. However, understanding is hard and oftentimes frustrating. Services which can be described as “complex yet necessary” are so-called professional services, like financial, insurance, or legal services. Most customers lack the specific knowledge necessary to completely understand these services. For example, they may not know how interest rates might develop or how to interpret laws and regulations.

What happens when customers lack knowledge and therefore have trouble trying to evaluate different service offerings? If customers are mentally exhausted during service encounters, they feel unfairly treated, as it should be the service provider’s job to help them understand the service. Therefore, customers will be less satisfied, less willing to return to the service firm in the future, and less likely to recommend the service.

Usually, one would expect that the more complex the service, the more customers feel mentally exhausted. In our research we uncover that this expectation is true for low to moderate levels of service complexity only. However, if service complexity is especially high customers feel less mentally exhausted. This is because at a certain level of complexity the customer decides “This is too much”, gives up trying to understand, and thus saves mental energy. Given that customers are less mentally exhausted at high levels of complexity – can’t we simply raise complexity further to avoid negative implications for customer satisfaction and loyalty?

The answer is “No, we can’t!” Why not? There are two more problems linked to high complexity:

First, even though customers tend to mentally “switch off” to save some of their mental energy when things get too complex, they do not completely avoid mental exhaustion.  They still have to take a decision. Thus, although at high complexity mental exhaustion is lower than at moderate complexity, it is still higher than at low levels of complexity. Second, above and beyond the role of mental exhaustion, high complexity per se also leads customers to be less willing to return and recommend.

How can these negative consequences be avoided? One solution is, of course, to reduce service complexity. For example, while most professional services are highly customized, offering more standardized solutions can simplify decision making for the customer. At the same time, highly savvy customers who do not regard the service as complex, can be offered more customized solutions. Educating customers, for instance in customer seminars or with the help of newsletters, can also reduce complexity for the customers.

However, for many services complexity can hardly be reduced. Another solution therefore is to weaken the consequences of high complexity. Our research shows that adapting the presentation to the customer can mitigate the detrimental effects of high complexity. More specifically, you can help your customers to easily understand a service despite its complexity by paying attention to these steps:

  1. Is my customer overtaxed?

In an interaction with a customer, you should be able to determine whether the customer is mentally overtaxed. Look for signs of fatigue and mental exhaustion like yawning, increased blinking, squirming and fidgeting. Also, get some more information about the customer’s knowledge of the service. Savvy customers are usually not as easily overtaxed as novice customers.

  1. How should I approach my customer?

Based on what you know about the customer, you should adapt your selling approach accordingly. That is, if a customer lacks specific knowledge and will easily be overtaxed, you should help him to more easily understand the service. Use simple language instead of technical terms, illustrative language instead of hard facts, and adjectives instead of numbers. Put differently, if a customer has trouble making sense of a complex service, the solution is not to provide more information, but to provide information in a different way. For instance, when selling an investment product, a sketch showing how capital builds up over time is much easier to understand than verbal explanations.

  1. What type of other information does my customer need?

Oftentimes customers also receive other information, like company brochures or information brochures on certain services. As is the case of personal encounters – this type of information should be adapted to the specific type of customer. You should have available at least two types of information brochures – one version in an easily understandable language, using tangible examples and illustrations for novice customers; a second version using more technical terms, numerical examples, and more detailed technical information for expert customers.

To summarize, highly complex services can easily overtax the customer. Since this results in decreased customer satisfaction and loyalty, service providers should adapt their way of providing information to help the customer understand the service more easily.

______________________

Anika Kolberg is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sales & Marketing Department, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. She received her PhD in 2014 from the Ruhr-University of Bochum. Her research interests focus on personal selling in service contexts, stereotyping at the employee-customer interface, as well as behavioral pricing. Her work is forthcoming in the Journal of Service Research and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

The article The Complex Role of Complexity. How Service Providers Can Mitigate Negative Effects of Perceived Service Complexity When Selling Professional Services featured in the post was co-authored by Sven Mikolon (Imperial College London, United Kingdom), Anika Kolberg, Till Haumann, and Jan Wieseke (Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany). It is available ahead of print at Journal of Service Research website. Journal of Service Research is the world’s leading service research journal that features articles by service experts from both academia and business world.

***

Republished with permission. The original post was published on the Center for Services Leadership blog.

Read Public Finance Review’s Special Issue on Replications in Public Finance for Free!

March 4, 2015

money-issues-1035776-mWere Krause and Méndez correct that voters punish corrupt political candidates? Do Toya and Skidmore’s economic variables actually make a difference in the number of deaths and damages from natural disasters? Does the millionaires’ tax really have no effect on the migration of the wealthy as reported by Young and Varner? These studies and more were closely examined and replicated in Public Finance Review‘s Special Issue on Replications in Public Finance.

Editor James Alm and Replication Editor W. Robert Reed discuss the need for replications in their introduction to the Special Issue:

One of the main principles of the ‘‘scientific method’’ is the necessity of PFR_72ppiRGB_powerpointreplicating research results. However, replication has seldom been a valued part of economic research, despite the presence of some articles that have highlighted the need for replications (Dewald, Thursby, and Anderson 1986; Mirowski and Sklivas 1991; McCullough and Vinod 1999; Hamermesh 2007). There is hardly an important area in economics that is not characterized by disparate findings on the same subject. With the growth in empirical methods in economics—using data from naturally occurring studies, field experiments, and laboratory experiments and applying increasingly sophisticated econometric methods—the absence of replication studies has become even more troubling, raising questions about the robustness of many of the published findings and so about its true value to policy makers.

You can read Public Finance Review‘s Special Issue on Replications in Public Finance for free for the next 30 days! Click here to access the Table of Contents. Want to know about all the least research and replications from Public Finance Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


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