Journal of Management Inquiry: Corruption Special Issue

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgThe July 2017 Special Issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry is now online to view! This issue focuses on the phenomenon of corporate corruption, with specific topics such as counterproductive behavior, corporate culture and ethics, and media framing. Below is an excerpt from the special issue introduction entitled “Expanding Research on Corporate Corruption, Management, and Organizations,” from authors Stelios Zyglidopoulos, Paul Hirsch, Pablo Martin de Holan, and Nelson Phillips:

Corruption is a major problem in much of the world. It often prevents economic development, causes inefficiency and unfairness in the distribution of resources, can be the underlying factor behind corporate failures and industry crises, can erode the social fabric of societies, and can have other major negative impacts in the well-being of individuals and societies….But, before we proceed to discuss the topic of corruption research, we should address the issue of what corruption is and note its complexity. Transparency International (2017) defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Similarly, Ashforth, Gioia, Robinson, and Treviño (2008) define corruption as “the illicit use of one’s position of power for perceived personal or collective gain” (p. 671). We believe we should enrich and expand this definition by differentiating between first- and second-order corruption….In this special issue, our purpose is not only to renew and extend the research agenda around corporate corruption, so that we can contribute toward a more sophisticated and complex understanding, but also to facilitate communication between different researchers.

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Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Jaclyn Piatak of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Piatak recently published a paper in Public Personnel Management entitled, “Sector Switching in Good Times and in Bad: Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Piatak reflects on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

PPM_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWhen working in the federal government (my first real job), I noticed the cubicle next to me was a revolving door of young people like me. I wondered what made people leave one federal agency for another, leave the federal government for a state or local government position, leave government work to work for a nonprofit organization (DC has many national headquarters), and above all leave public service to work in the for-profit sector.

As cliché as it may be, I entered public service to make a difference. This was my goal since being a political science undergrad through earning my graduate degrees to today, where I feel privileged as a professor to not only share my research and to serve the university and profession but also to train future government and nonprofit leaders.

I couldn’t help but wonder about people’s motivation for joining public service and how working in the government and nonprofit sectors affects them. This piece tackles one aspect, my original curiosity of the revolving cubicle: sector switching.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research? After earning my MPP, I entered the workforce in 2007 so I saw the influence of the Great Recession not only at the federal government level, but also across the state agencies we were responsible for overseeing. Building upon my motivation for this research, I wondered how the recession impacted people’s employment decisions and outcomes across job sectors.

Were there any surprising findings? Research often examines government employment as a whole with little attention paid to how employment and employee behavior may vary across levels of government—federal, state, and local. I found only federal government and nonprofit sector employees are more likely to move into the for-profit sector during times of economic instability. Considering the federal government finding, we should take a closer look at the government sector as there may be important differences across levels of government.

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Case in Point: Developing a Unique Healthcare Model

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Connection. Click here to view the original article.]

Karen Pellegrin, Director of Continuing Education & Strategic Planning and Founding Director of the Center for Rural Health Science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) went into effect, the healthcare industry experienced the largest expansion of US government involvement since Medicare and Medicaid. This shift in government involvement created a ripe environment for government-subsidized clinics to flourish; but they weren’t the only clinics to do so. Mango Medical, a small business in rural Hawaii that does not rely on government subsidies, experienced enormous success in 2015 due to its unique primary care model that pays doctors for value of service over volume.

Karen Pellegrin & Timothy Duerler wrote a case study for SAGE Business Cases called Mango Medical: Growing a Fresh Healthcare Model. The case follows the creation and success of Mango Medical and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare trends, markets, systems, and strategies used in the US.

Highlighting the case in this latest installment of our Case In Point series, we caught up with Karen to learn more about the rise of the Mango Medical and the current healthcare environment. Karen provided some helpful insight for any instructor teaching about healthcare in business and management or organizational courses. Read the interview below.

  1. Your case describes the growth of a for-profit healthcare corporation in rural Hawaii, where the market seemed more primed for government-subsidized clinics after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. What would you say are the top three takeaways from this case for those learning about different healthcare models?

 Assumptions about subsidies, both the need and the amount, are typically based on current or traditional models of care; if you don’t question those assumptions, you conclude subsidies are required and easy to quantify.  If you question those assumptions, you might be able to create a more efficient model, as Dr. Duerler has.  There are many inefficiencies in our healthcare system, and we need new models to deliver better, more cost-effective care.

The healthcare industry is highly regulated and complex, which makes it tough to navigate; but where most see obstacles, entrepreneurs find opportunities.

In some ways, you could argue that rural Hawaii is such a unique market that the Mango model wouldn’t succeed in other markets.  I would argue that there is more in the model that translates than not.

  1. After the 2016 election, it seems likely we’ll be seeing some changes in government-subsidized health care. How do you see any potential changes affecting a business like Mango Medical?

 Passing the Affordable Care Act was difficult; changing it is proving to be even more difficult despite the known problems.  In general, the Republicans are focused on eliminating federal mandates that reduce choice and eliminating or changing subsidies.  Assuming fewer people would have health insurance or subsidies to cover the cost of care under a Republican replacement, this could affect Mango’s revenue.  However, because of their operating efficiency, Mango might be an attractive option to those without insurance or with high deductibles who are paying out of pocket.  Businesses focused on value and adaptability, like Mango Medical, will likely maintain a competitive advantage in a dynamic market.

  1. What are some of the marketing challenges faced when a new, growing company like Mango Medical has to adapt to a unique, rural setting?

 Communicating with target audiences is always key.  Our research has found that traditional formal marketing approaches are far less effective (and more expensive) than informal methods in reaching target audiences in rural Hawaii – specifically community members and clinicians.  Getting the message across about a new product or service can be done very efficiently and effectively by understanding the local landscape and leveraging existing communication networks.

Learn more by reading the full case study, Mango Medical: Growing a Fresh Healthcare Model, from SAGE Business Cases, open to the public for a limited time. To learn more about SAGE Business Cases and to find out how to submit a case to the collection, please contact Rachel Taliaferro, Associate Editor: rachel.taliaferro@sagepub.com.

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Effects of Celebrity Endorsements on Brand Equity Dimensions

crca_11_3.cover.pngEndorsement of luxury brands by celebrities is not a new phenomenon. The role of celebrities in influencing modern culture as well as consumption patterns is gaining prominence. Celebrities act as arbiters of style, taste and public opinion all over the world. The celebrity endorsement enables brand managers to catch attention, add credibility and numerous intangible benefits to the brand in a way which are perhaps difficult to be attained through any other form of advertising.

The celebrity culture has followers across Asia. In Japan and South Korea, 70 per cent of commercials use a celebrity. However, the phenomenon is picking up in India and China where it has acquired momentum in a relatively short span of time. Celebrity power has taken off very rapidly in India, and firms are vying with each other to secure contracts for their brands with Bollywood actors and sportspersons. The Indian luxury goods market is not only unique but also a challenging one for international luxury brands seeking to establish their presence here. The luxury market was earlier driven primarily by the preferences of these ultra-rich households. However, in the recent past, rising incomes and aspirations have created a new segment of typically upper middle class aspirers who are potential luxury buyers. By launching entry-level luxury brands for this potential segment, luxury brands try to help these consumers move up the ‘consumption ladder’ by customizing the shopping experience. This is a significant opportunity for brands for establishing strong consumer relationships. Celebrities can be perhaps one of the ways companies can use to connect with the customer.

An article from the Journal of Creative Communications makes a contribution to understanding Indian luxury market by exploring the relationship between brand equity dimensions and celebrity endorsements. Brand awareness is first essential step in consumer purchase process. Therefore, the target market has to be made aware of a firm’s brand(s). This can be achieved through advertising or other form of communication. However, a celebrity along with the firm’s brand name will not only improve the likelihood of brand recall but also infuse the brand with charisma of the celebrity.

Managers need to understand that effectiveness of brand awareness is only up to a certain limit beyond which organizations need to build associations which are strong, favorable and unique in the potential customer’s mind so as to ensure brand purchase. This illustrates the importance of marketing of the brand beyond simply awareness and understanding simultaneously the important role of brand associations for building brand equity. Celebrities may, thus, help in generating consumer attention and recall of advertising campaigns if there is an appropriate fit between the brand and the celebrity. A proper congruence between the celebrity and the luxury brand can help not only a brand stand out of the clutter but also in better brand recall.

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Effect of Celebrity Endorsements on Dimensions of Customer-based Brand Equity: Empirical Evidence from Indian Luxury Market for free from the Journal of Creative Communications

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Website Stories in Times of Distress

[We’re pleased to welcome author Alexia Panayiotou  of the University of  Cyprus. Panayiotou recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Website Stories in Times of Distress,” co-authored by George Kassinis. From Panayiotou:]

What inspired you to be interested in this topic? My co-author and I have been interested in tmlq.jpghe use of corporate websites as a powerful communication strategy for several years. I was mostly interested in the power of visuality and George interested in questions of greenwashing. We had been following the BP website since 2005, as part of a larger project on the use of green imagery by oil companies. A few weeks before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we were ready to submit a paper about BP’s website arguing, in fact, that BP’s commitments offered a novel way through which oil exploration and environmental responsibility could co-exist. We even classified various problems that could have “warned” us about BP’s practices as “accidents.” When Deepwater Horizon happened, our ready-to-be-submitted draft became irrelevant. After the shock we underwent both as researchers and as dedicated environmentalists who had clearly misread the greenwashing signs, we decided to reframe our research question vis-à-vis the disaster to study how a company changes its visual story in times of distress. Our realization that even we could be “hijacked” by the corporate story—the corporate agenda had clearly overflown into our own act of research—forced us to refocus our assumptions and questions. It is in this context that corporate power, enabled through website use, became critical to our investigation as our experience highlighted the dangerous potential of becoming “accomplices” to this power.

Were there findings that were surprising to you? The most “surprising” finding was not only the change in the visual story told but the way in which this new story was constructed on the website. In addition, as noted above, we were shocked by how the “liquid organization” had co-opted us in the telling of its story through our own act of navigating the website, making us potential “accomplices” in the telling of its corporate story. We saw this as problematic for many reasons, but mainly because the co-telling of a story through website navigation could result in (paradoxically) solidifying what Zygmunt Bauman calls “liquid power” or “the art of escape from all forms of social responsibility,” especially in cases of corporate hypocrisy.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice? Corporate websites are surprisingly under-explored in organization studies, despite the so-called “visual turn.”  There are several reasons why website study should feature in our research agenda on management learning: First, websites serve as corporate “storytellers” as they transmit both high-level management messages and the corporate identity to outsiders. Second, , websites differ from other forms of corporate communication since the website user is dynamically involved in the “telling” of the corporate story through his or her navigation act; as such, the user is less a recipient and more a co-constructor of this story. Third, websites, as the most ‘fluid’ of all organizational constructs, may be the most appropriate means through which to study the non-committal, shifting organization of “liquid modernity.” Mobilizing website study in management practice and education can provide a better understanding of “corporate hypocrisy” in a liquid, modern world, especially in times of distress!

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On SAGE Insight: How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals?

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Insight. Please click here to view the original post. ]

Article title: How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals? The Case of German Newspapers and the Volkswagen Diesel Scandal

From Journal of Management Inquiry
Despite the importance that the media has in regard to influencing people’s perceptions of wrongdoing, organizational scholars have paid little attention to how the media reports wrongdoing. This article starts to address this gap by considering how the media frames corporate scandals. To study the connection between media framing and organizational wrongdoing, authors turn to political and mass communication research. They empirically examine how four different German newspapers reported on the Volkswagen diesel scandal.  This article testifies to the importance of cross-fertilization between research on mass communication and political science on one side, and organizational research on the other side and, more generally, it calls for more attention to be given to the media in the study of scandals and organizational wrongdoing.

Abstract

Despite the importance that the media has in regard to influencing people’s perceptions of wrongdoing, organizational scholars have paid little attention to how the media reports wrongdoing. This article starts to address this gap by considering how the media frames corporate scandals. We empirically examine how four different German newspapers reported on the Volkswagen diesel scandal. We inductively identify the constitutive elements of a general corporate scandal frame. Then, we analyze how each newspaper framed the scandal through combinations of different elements. We identify from our dataset four frames of corporate scandals that newspapers applied: legalistic, contextual, reputational, and scapegoating. Our article testifies to the importance of cross-fertilization between research on mass communication and political science on one side, and organizational research on the other side and, more generally, it calls for more attention to be given to the media in the study of scandals and organizational wrongdoing.

Read the article for free

Article details
How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals? The Case of German Newspapers and the Volkswagen Diesel Scandal
Marco Clemente, Claudia Gabbioneta
First Published February 1, 2017
Journal of Management Inquiry
DOI: 10.1177/1056492616689304

Corporate Political Transparency: Challenging Assumptions

[We’re pleased to welcome author Murad Mithani of the Stevens Institute of Technology. Mithani recently published an article in Business & Society entitled “Corporate Political Transparency.” Below, Mithani explains the inspiration for conducting this research:]words-1752968_1280

The idea for this study came during a preliminary investigation of managers’ thinking patterns when they are making campaign contributions. It appeared that regulatory and social implications of disclosure were one of their major concerns. This led me to think if legal enforcement regarding mandatory disclosure of political contributions can make firms fully transparent. Further exploration made it clearer that neither executives nor legislators wanted transparency. They were willing to do whatever was possible to discourage such a regulation, and when that would fail, they were likely to reframe campaign contributions as non-political giving such as charity. In sum, I was expecting that legal enforcement of corporate campaign disclosure may have limited effect. When I found the context of India and compared the ratio of disclosures due to purely legal enforcement and then subsequently when the legal enforcement was coupled with a regulatory incentive, I was surprised by the difference. There was a dramatic increase in the proportion of disclosures suggesting that most firms were unwilling to declare their political ties in the absence of an economic benefit.

I hope my findings can encourage a more informed discussion on the regulatory aspects of corporate campaign contributions. With so much at stake for corporations, legislators and the society, it may be worth discussing the mechanisms that can make it easier for firms to disclose their political choices. Although economic incentives may not reveal all political contributions, the findings of my study suggest that they can be an important step towards transparency.

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