Evaluating Social Marketing Campaigns

[We’re pleased to welcome author Diogo Veríssimo of Johns Hopkins University. He recently published an article in Social Marketing Quarterly entitled “Does It Work for Biodiversity? Experiences and Challenges in the Evaluation of Social Marketing Campaigns,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Veríssimo provides insight on impact evaluation and behaviour change:]

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Measuring change is hard. But it is also critical to programs hoping to influence human behaviour towards more positive societal outcomes. In a newly published paper, Does It Work for Biodiversity? Experiences and Challenges in the Evaluation of Social Marketing Campaigns, we tackle the challenge of evaluating social marketing campaigns targeting fishing communities in the Philippines with the goal of driving the adoption of more sustainable fishing practices at the community level.

Research on impact evaluation is vital to improve implementation, particularly in high uncertainty high complexity environment such as those in which social marketing operates. By measuring our impact we can first ensure we do no harm and then learn what works, to improve with each iteration. This is even more pressing in the environmental context, as we have lagged far behind sectors such as public health or international development in impact evaluation. Therefore, our goal with this paper was to showcase how we can raise the bar on the evaluation of behaviour change efforts, in this case social marketing, in a particularly changing subject, that of fisheries management in the tropics.

Our work focused on the evaluation of three social marketing campaigns in the Philippines, using a quasi-experiments design of match campaign and control sites. We measured both social indicators through surveys and biological indicators using underwater ecological surveys. We found limited evidence of behaviour change amongst fisherman and no evidence of change in fish biomass as a result of the campaigns. Yet, we also discussed the fact that this last result is fully expected, given how long fisheries take to recover, a timeline often measured in decades, not years. This has implications not only for the way that we plan and implement social marketing campaigns but also for donors who should be aware that expecting biological change in the often short project cycles may just be unrealistic.

Moreover, our research hopes to highlight the difficulties of carrying out competent impact evaluations in a context where both social and biological indicators need to be measured and where both terrestrial and in-water data is needed. This has obvious implications in terms of cost, not only in terms of money, time and staff but also in terms of required technical expertise. Project budgets need to reflect this reality if we are to be truly evidence-based and take responsibility for the interventions we implement. After all it is not about success and failure, it should most of all be about learning.

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.

Register here to read full article!

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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Grappa: A Radical Success Story

3351710029_88bd725653_zThere was a time not too long ago when grappa, the popular Italian grape-based brandy, was considered a poor man’s drink. During the 1970s, grappa’s status was a sharp contrast to comparable foreign spirits, like cognac and whisky, both of which were considered higher quality alcohols. And yet, toward the end of the 1970s, perceptions of grappa shifted radically–grappa became not only a popular, more expensive spirit, but also one that was considered on par with cognac and whisky. This radical shift begs the question, how did grappa shed its bad reputation? In the recent article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change,” authors Giuseppe Delmestri and Royston Greenwood explain that the grappa itself never changed. Rather, grappa producers took steps to break grappa from its prior image. The abstract for the paper:

Using a case study of the Italian spirit grappa, we examine status recategorization—the vertical extension and reclassification of an entire market category. Grappa was historically a low-status product, but in the 1970s one regional distiller took steps that led to a radical break from its traditional image, so that in just over a decade high-quality grappa became an exemplar of cultured Italian lifestyle and held a market position in the same class as cognac and whisky. We use this context to articulate “theorization by allusion,” which occurs through three mechanisms: category detachment—distancing a social object from its existing category; category emulation—presenting that object so that it hints at the practices of a high-status category; and category sublimation—shifting from local, field-specific references to broader, societal-level frames. This novel theorization is particularly appropriate for explaining change from low to high status because it ASQ Coveravoids resistance to and contestation of such change (by customers, media, and other sources) as a result of status imperatives, which may be especially strong in mature fields. Unlike prior studies that have examined the status of organizations within a category, ours foregrounds shifts in the status and social meaning of a market category itself.

You can read “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Grappa bottles image credited to star5112 (CC)

Celebrating Holiday Traditions From Around the World!

If there is one thing to be said about the holiday season, it is that there are plenty of unique holiday traditions practiced across many cultures. While some traditions are relatively new, other holiday traditions have been practiced for hundreds of years. Here are some fun facts about our favorite holiday traditions:

391px-Illustration_Viscum_album0Mistletoe:

  • Hanging mistletoe is a long-standing holiday tradition that can be traced back to ancient Druid civilization in Europe. [1]
  • Mistletoe behaves like a parasite–it will grow by anchoring itself onto a host plant, and its root will invade the host. [1]
  • Current biochemical research on mistletoe juices show promise for use in breast cancer treatment. [1]

St. Lucia’s Crown of Candles:394px-NannetteDapper1967

  • In Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, girls wear a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles to celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day.[2]
  • Swedish legend alleges that a ship carrying a maiden wearing white and crowned in light gave food and clothing to the needy during a famine in Värmland.[3]

13929346818496Symbols of Kwanzaa:

  • There are seven symbols of Kwanzaa: Mazaao (Crops), Mkeka (Mat), Kinara (Candle holder), Muhindi (Ears of corn), Zawadi (Gifts), Kikambe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup), and Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles). [4]
  • The Seven Candles are mean to represent the Seven Principles central to Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). [4]

800px-Iftar_beguniEid ul-Fitr:

  • In Arabic, “eid” means something habitual, or festivity. [6]
  • Eid ul-Fitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. It is  three-day-long celebration that symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. [6]

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The Dreidel:

  • Jewish lore alleges that the dreidel was used in ancient times, when Greek-Syrians prohibited Jews from studying the Torah. The Jews would hide their religious books and play with dreidels as a decoy.[5]
  • The word dreidel comes from the German word “drehen,” meaning “to turn.”[5]
  • Gambling games centered around a spinning top have been played for centuries in Europe. The Jewish dreidel game likely evolved from a German gambling game.[5]

How Can Anthropology Bring a New Perspective to Corruption Research?

[We’re pleased to welcome Bertrand Venard of Audencia Nantes School of Management and Wharton School of theJMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint University of Pennsylvania. Professor Venard recently published an article with Davide Torsello of Central European University Business School and University of Bergamo, in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “The Anthropology of Corruption.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I was inspired by the complete lack of consideration of the anthropology field in management literature that studies corruption. I thought an anthropological view of corruption could offer a stimulating perspective for organizational scholars.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Anthropologists have been doing research about corruption for decades. Their research could add value to the organizational field, particularly on the matter of corruption and general wrongdoings in organizations. In their research, anthropologists stress the importance of using a definition of social actors, rather than a universal definition. Thus, for anthropologists, corruption is what the locals names “corruption.” Considering the native perspective, anthropologists reject a moralistic view of corruption. Instead, they present the cohesive influence of corruption.

Furthermore, anthropologists see corruption as a process, not a statistical phenomenon. This demand for a historical account of corruption has led academics to use ethnography as a method of inquiry, a method that is known in management but not frequently used to study corruption. Anthropology allows an interesting perspective, using corruption as a single point of entry to the whole culture. Corruption should not be used for itself, but for the understanding it provides about the complete culture.

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

Our research may influence organizational scholars to consider the anthropology field when doing research about corruption. In particular, researchers may use more qualitative methods to study corruption, especially ethnography. By focusing on local, social and cultural aspects of corruption, it may be possible to better understand why corruption is a phenomenon resistant to eradication, and why, for instance, executives from countries where corruption is not an issue engage in wrongdoings when they go to emerging markets.

You can read “The Anthropology of Corruption” for free in Journal of Management Inquiry 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!


Davide TorDavide Torsellosello is an associate professor of socio-cultural anthropology at Central European University Business School, Hungary, and University of Bergamo, Italy. He is a leader of the unit “The ethnographic study of corruption” in the EU FP7 research project ANTICORRP (Anti-corruption Policies Revisited. Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption). Recently, he published The New Environmentalism? Civil Society and Corruption in the Enlarged EU (Ashgate).

Bertrand Venard is a professor of strategy at Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and visiting Bertrand Venardprofessor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (USA). His research interests concern deviance, fraud, and corruption. He has published more than 50 academic articles. He is involved in a working group of the United Nations (Global Compact, PRME, Principles of Responsible Management Education) aiming at reducing corruption through curriculum development.

Quattrone (2015). Governing Social Orders, Unfolding Rationality, and Jesuit Accounting Practices: A Procedural Approach to Institutional Logics

Republished with permission. The original post was published on the ASQ Blog.

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Authors:
Paolo Quattrone – University of Edinburgh Business School

Interviewers:
Federica Foce Massa Saluzzo – Universita´di Bologna
Daniela Iubatti – IESE Business School

Article link: http://asq.sagepub.com/content/60/3/411

Question 1. An eye-opening element of your paper is the discussion on the procedural approach to logics in which you suggest that scholars should develop methodologies that allow them to explain what “cannot be framed”. In the case of the Jesuits what cannot be framed is God, or more generally social order. What would the “unframed” be in the modern corporation and who are the agents enacting the practices of the progressively updating logic?

Many things are unframed in the modern and corporate world; a ‘value’ to begin ASQ_v60n3_Sept2015_cover.inddwith. It is increasingly clear that we live in dissonant orders of worth (I refer to the work of David Stark, Boltanki and Thévenot and some work I am doing with Roger Friedland) and a ‘value’ cannot be reduced to shareholder’s values anymore. Enlarging the realms of the measurable (for example, from the ‘economic’ to the ‘environmental’ and the ‘social’) is not the solution in my view. Interrogating what cannot be framed, values in this case, and mediate amongst views, which are impossible to align anyhow, is a possible way forward to regain sanity in the financial word. Other ‘unframable’ categories are uncertainty, risk, volatility, complexity; but those are more immediate and obvious, although the approach to those tends to presuppose that these categories can be framed and do not overflow (as Michel Callon would say). I am currently doing some work on managing major programs (such as mega infrastructure projects). They are interesting sites to explore this impossibility of framing: the risks, the unknowns are everywhere and cannot be reduced.

You also ask about the agents of the updating logics. They are many as well. Technology, if we give agency to material objects, as Bruno Latour and Wanda Orlikowski would do, is surely one of these agents. As much as a medieval book, technologies of representation are increasingly affecting the way in which we imagine the future, our identities and rituals of interaction and social order. Nothing new here, but what is new is to think of technologies as procedures themselves which create spaces of engagement, exploration and mediation which constitute the fabric of institutional logics change.

Question 2. Your work provides alternative lenses to look at the relationship between rationality and techniques of representation, in the specific case of accounting. In the paper you suggest that today, accounting requires less reflection and inventio, having become a taken-for-granted institution. If you were to study rationality through contemporary accounting what would you expect to observe?

If I were to observe rationality through the narrow lenses of what accounting has become (at least in some mainstream departments of accounting of a university completely detached from the world of practice), I would see very little. Contemporary accounting glasses promise transparency but their lenses are opaque. The result is that a search for transparency makes us blind to what being ‘rational’ may mean in different spatial-temporal contexts. There is lot to be done in order to transform these lenses in prisms that are able to show multifaceted worlds. And, interestingly enough, in organization studies, very little attention is given to systems of representation, not to mention to accounting, although accounting is one of the most pervasive technology of calculation of the modern corporate world.

Question 3. Many studies test their theories on contemporary empirical contexts, while few do so analyzing specific contexts from the past. How did you choose this empirical context and how would you generalize your study in different contexts? What would you advice to students willing to follow your example and analyze historical data?

An articulated question that I’ll try to answer in sequence. How did I choose? It happened by chance, of course! Often one becomes interested in research sites and topics because of serendipitous encounters. My case was not different. It dates back to my PhD (a long time ago) in Palermo, my hometown in Italy. My supervisor, who loves history, asked me to look at the accounting books kept at the State Archive of Palermo. I naively thought this was going to be one of the most boring things on earth. It was instead the beginning of a very exciting journey of discovering, which is still ongoing. The paper in ASQ is just the last stop of this journey.

You ask me about generalization. I am not a historian (by no means I can claim I am) and therefore my primary interest in the evidence is theoretical not empirical. So I aim try to generalize in every work I do (also because being Italian we love abstraction and we tend to think, wrongly, that the empirical world cannot surprise us). How can we generalize from particular and unfamiliar cases? By linking them to general and familiar theoretical debates to de-familiarize us from them. This is, I think, what the paper does in relation to institutional logics. I think it always more difficult to look at the normal in a different way than to look at what differs from the norm. Accounting is a very ‘normal’ (and normalized) practice. It becomes interesting only if we look at it in a different way. History, in that sense, helps, as it is a form of ethnography that leads us not only to a different space (the Jesuit Order in my case) but also a different time.

Now the advice. Not sure I am the right person to give advice on whether historical work is worth exploring. I am too biased towards a yes! But think of how relatively ‘easy’ access is when doing historical works: the sources are there waiting to be discovered. They do not escape! But here is also where the easy part ends. Historical work, as much and possibly more than field studies, requires a long process of familiarization with these sources, especially if we go back a long time (I still remember the difficulties I had in understanding handwriting, abbreviations, notations, old Sicilian texts, archaic forms of accounting records, just to name but a few of these difficulties). The issue is also that the sources always change meaning. For me this happened often when I went back to them in the various iterations of the research process. Every time I knew something more about religious, cultural and economic contexts and practices and this made me see in the apparently ‘out there’ archival sources something new. This is possibly the most fascinating aspect I recall from the research, the moment of establishing a connection, for example, between ratio, rationality, accounting and late medieval practices of rhetoric and art of memory is something that has changed not only the way in which I looked at those sources but also how I now conceive of accounting as a contemporary practice. The rewards are huge if one is prepared to link, connect and explore primary and secondary sources in ways that are novel. Another aspect of going to the archive that is worth mentioning? One of the most relaxing things I have done in my life! Archives are interesting and relaxing spaces.

Question 4. The procedural nature of the Jesuits’ logics suggests a drastically different approach to institutional logics. Nevertheless Jesuits are a closed community that diligently and profoundly applies the procedures demanded within the college. In contemporary firms, community spirit and self-reflection are generally considered as less fundamental. How do you think that this contemporary lack of reflection relates to scholars’ understanding of institutional logics? More specifically, do you think that the common lack of reflection in the typical contemporary organization has brought scholars to observe the more substantialist rather than the procedural side of logics?

Are you sure the Jesuits were closed and the contemporary lack a community spirit (I would agree on the lack of reflection)? Let me respond with an anecdote. Once, when I was at Christ Church at Oxford, I organized a series of meetings on religion, institutions and practices. Participants disagreed on many things but we all agreed that nowadays there is more religion in business schools than in the Church and more business in the Church than in business schools! This is also what Michel Antebi suggests with his ethnography of Harvard Business School: the not said points towards the mystery of manufacturing morals and the belief in to a common spirit at Harvard.

This point also relates to the other things you ask. Some of the current literature on institutional logics takes such logics almost for granted: logics are not mysterious anymore. One can observe them in hospitals, markets, in the profession. The risk is to make them less interesting and powerful as heuristic devices. And once one has lost the mystery, what is left is only the material. Imagination, vision, feelings, emotions, and symbols are gone. This is possibly also why capitalism is so material: if one believes that everything can be reduced to a number, to a transaction, to money then the material is the only think one can think of. This applies to researchers as well; especially those who seek to operationalize statistically variables that cannot be reduced to a statistical issue. In Hebrew, the word ‘God’ cannot even be pronounced, otherwise mystery is lost. Uttering ‘God’ would be the “end of the world” (to quote Alessandro Baricco or to refer to Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory).

Question 5. The search for what cannot be categorically framed, “the unsaid”, is fundamental for scholars wishing to understand the dynamics involving institutional logics. Yet, for the logic update to occur a certain disposition is crucial. What do you think is the role of disposition of the agents both in your paper and more broadly in the debate on institutional logics?

This is a difficult question to answer, as my reply could smell of ‘ontological gerrymandering’. The first reaction would be: Of course dispositions matters! But would not that be a substantive answer? A possible way out is that if we interpret a disposition as a way of looking at the world (and thus in procedural terms) there is hope for not falling back into the trap of a positivist view of this disposition. In other words, I could be disposed towards the ‘other’ and what differs or not. The latter is dangerous and would make research a technical exercise of finding what we already know in a supposedly out there world; the former makes of research a journey of exploration into unchartered territory. So my question to you and the readers is: are you technicians or explorers? Both are useful but the latter is much more fun!

Payal Nangia Sharma on Empowering Leadership Research

GOM 39(6)_Covers.indd[We’re pleased to welcome Payal Nangia Sharma of Rutgers University. Dr. Sharma recently published an article in Group and Organization Management with Bradley L. Kirkman of North Carolina State University entitled “Leveraging Leaders: A Literature Review and Future Lines of Inquiry for Empowering Leadership Research.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We were inspired to write about the topic of empowering leadership given the increasing need for leaders in today’s organizations to rely more and more on involving their employees in work processes, such as decision making, and motivating employees towards higher levels of engagement. In addition, although empowering leadership has many benefits, there is growing research evidence that not all leaders want to empower or that all employees want to be empowered, so we were inspired to help develop scholarly and practical understanding of a more complete picture of the effects of empowering initiatives in work settings.

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

Our paper sets the agenda for the next decade on empowering leadership. Based on a set of testable propositions, we first encourage researchers to answer the question of why empowering leadership occurs. Second, we encourage researchers to explore less positive and unintended, negative outcomes of empowering leadership.

The abstract:

We review and synthesize the empowering leadership literature and, as a result, suggest two new provocative lines of inquiry directing future research. Based on a set of testable propositions, we first encourage researchers to answer the question of why empowering leadership occurs. Second, we encourage researchers to explore less positive and unintended, negative outcomes of empowering leadership. To identify opportunities for future work along these two lines, we use four theoretical perspectives including (1) person–situation interactions, (2) followership theory, (3) contingency approaches to leadership, and, (4) the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect. As a result, we set an agenda for the next decade of research on empowering leadership.

You can read “Leveraging Leaders: A Literature Review and Future Lines of Inquiry for Empowering Leadership Research” from Group and Organization Management by clicking here. Did you know that you can have all the latest research from Group and Organization Management sent directly to your inbox? Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!


photo-payal-sharma_0Payal Nangia Sharma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School. She received her PhD degree in Organizational Behavior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on examining and understanding the role of positive and negative factors in leadership processes and team member relationships.

MIE-Kirkman-Official_Headshot.sm_Bradley L. Kirkman is the General (Ret.) H. Hugh Shelton Distinguished Professor of Leadership and head of the Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Department in the Poole College of Management at NC State University. He received his PhD degree in Organizational Behavior from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on leadership, international management, virtual teams, and work team leadership and empowerment.