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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Using Big Data in Organizational Research

Apple_Watch-Mobile computing technology is rapidly evolving. With the advent of new, wearable electronic sensors comes the potential to find new applications for the data captured by wearable technology. In their article, “The Promise and Perils of Wearable Sensors in Organizational Research,” published in Organizational Research Methods, Daniel Chaffin, Ralph Heidl, John R. Hollenbeck, Michael Howe, Andrew Yu, Clay Voorhees, and Roger Calantone explore the possibility of using such data to study human interactions and social behavior on a large scale. The abstract:

Rapid advances in mobile computing technology have the potential to revolutionize organizational research by facilitating new methods of data collection. The emergence of wearable electronic sensors in particular harbors the promise of making the large-scale collection of high-resolution data related to human interactions and social 07ORM13_Covers.inddbehavior economically viable. Popular press and practitioner-oriented research outlets have begun to tout the game-changing potential of wearable sensors for both researchers and practitioners. We systematically examine the utility of current wearable sensor technology for capturing behavioral constructs at the individual and team levels. In the process, we provide a model for performing validation work in this new domain of measurement. Our findings highlight the need for organizational researchers to take an active role in the development of wearable sensor systems to ensure that the measures derived from these devices and sensors allow us to leverage and extend the extant knowledge base. We also offer a caution regarding the potential sources of error arising from wearable sensors in behavioral research.

You can read “The Promise and Perils of Wearable Sensors in Organization Research” from Organizational Research Methods by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Organizational Research Methods? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Reflections on Academic Research and Writing: The Ecstasy and the Agony (Part 1)

As a blog catering to academics, researchers and practitioners, Management INK features important content on key research topics. Besides highlighting top scholarship, we (the editorial team for the blog) wish for this venue to serve as a resource to inform but also to equip and grow readers in their research and writing activities. Lately we have seen some excellent articles published that speak to various issues surrounding academic research and writing. Over the next few days, we are pleased to provide a forum for reading and discussing articles that touch on topics, such as, the purpose of research, ethical publishing, peer review, writing practices, and collaboration in research. We invite you to read, share, and offer comments both here in the blog and on our Twitter page @SAGEManagement. Let’s dive in!

In this month’s issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Editor-in-Chief Gerald F. Davis, asks “What is Organizational Research For?” In his article, Davis asks whose interests management research serves and whose interests should it serve? For research to shape decisions for public benefit, he adds “we need to make sure we know the constituency that research is serving.”

Organizational research is guided by standards of what journals will publish and what gets rewarded in ASQ_v60n2_Jun2014_cover.inddscholarly careers. This system can promote novelty rather than truth and impact rather than coherence. The advent of big data, combined with our current system of scholarly career incentives, is likely to yield a high volume of novel papers with sophisticated econometrics and no obvious prospect of cumulative knowledge development. Moreover, changes in the world of organizations are not being met with changes in how and for whom organizational research is done. It is time for a dialogue on who and what organizational research is for and how that should shape our practice.

Access the rest of the Table of Contents for this issue of Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from ASQ by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts.

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This article was featured on Harvard Business Review’s blog this week.

The June Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is Now Online!

The June issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available and can be read online for free for the next 30 days. This issue offers a range of engaging articles on organizational studies as well as insightful book reviews.

Administrative Science Quarterly Editor-in-Chief Gerald F. Davis opens the issue with his editorial essay entitled “What Is Organizational Research For?” You can read the abstract below:

Organizational research is guided by standards of what journals will publish ASQ_v60n2_Jun2014_cover.inddand what gets rewarded in scholarly careers. This system can promote novelty rather than truth and impact rather than coherence. The advent of big data, combined with our current system of scholarly career incentives, is likely to yield a high volume of novel papers with sophisticated econometrics and no obvious prospect of cumulative knowledge development. Moreover, changes in the world of organizations are not being met with changes in how and for whom organizational research is done. It is time for a dialogue on who and what organizational research is for and how that should shape our practice.

You can access the Table of Contents for this issue of Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. You can keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts!

B2B Peer-to-Peer Problem-Solving Communities: A Win-Win for Firms and Customers

businessman-in-the-office-1-1287061-m[Editor’s Note: A special thanks to Sterling A. Bone, Paul W. Fombelle, Kristal R. Ray, and Katherine N. Lemon who took the time to provide us with information on their recent article “How Customer Participation in B2B Peer-to-Peer Problem-Solving Communities Influences the Need for Traditional Customer Service.” The paper appeared in the OnlineFirst section of Journal of Service Research.]

Can peer-to-peer interactions in a customer support community reduce the need for one-on-one traditional customer support service? New research in the Journal of Service Research entitled “How Customer Participation in B2B Peer-to-Peer Problem-Solving Communities Influences the Need for Traditional Customer Service” attempts to address this question.

Providing fast and helpful customer support service is critical for all service firms. To address customer problems, firms offer a range of support services providing customer help needed before, during, and after purchase. For business-to-business (B2B) relationships, many companies are increasingly turning to firm hosted collaborative technologies, like virtual peer-to-peer problem solving (P3) communities, to fulfill some of their customer service needs. For many years, the traditional outlet for support or problem solving has been this one-to-one customer support model in which the customer calls a customer service agent to solve a problem or answer a question.

Technological advances have enabled firms to expand their one-on-one support models to JSR coveruse call centers, email, and web-based support. These support models are expensive for the both the firm and customer. Repetitive costs, suppressed knowledge sharing across customer and service representatives, and the delayed resolution for other customers, are some of the limitations with support models. In response to these shortcomings, many firms are turning to firm-hosted collaborative and interactive P3 communities to fulfill the demand for customer service support. As noted by Kristal Ray, Professor at Utah State and one of the authors of the study, “ROI is always an important consideration for technology implementations. By offering the opportunity to lower service costs, social community interactions can provide the economic justification for these investments.”

The authors used longitudinal clickstream and service support behavioral data from 2,542 B2B customers of a Fortune 100 technology firm to test the effect of customer P3 community (posting questions and responding to others), static knowledge search behavior, community log-in frequency, and the breadth of community membership on the customer’s future use of traditional customer support service.

They find that, problem solving activities of helping oneself (posting questions) and helping others (responding to questions) in a peer-to-peer problem solving community were significant predictors and primary drivers of reducing the customer’s use of traditional customer support service, even after controlling for past traditional support usage behavior and community expertise. As noted by study author Professor Paul Fombelle, of Northeastern University, “our findings demonstrate that virtual peer-to-peer problem-solving communities not only save the firm resources but also gives key customers access to timely problem solving information in a manner not previously possible.”

While not as large of an effect, the study shows that customer knowledge searching behavior in “static” knowledge management repositories also reduced the use of traditional customer support service. Furthermore, they find that posting questions and using static knowledge is not always better as when customers combined these behaviors their need for traditional customer support increased. Also the more frequently the customers logged into the community and the larger the number of individual product- or service-specific communities they were members in, the greater was their need for traditional customer support service.

This article offers new insights for managers aiming to promote increased problem solving activities among their customers in P3 communities. It demonstrates how managers can identify the appropriate combination of customer community participation and static knowledge creation to leverage the efficiencies of a support service community. Managers can gain insight into the types of interactions that are specifically reducing traditional support service. Such community specific knowledge can be utilized as the basis for static knowledge generation to create impactful static knowledge resources that extend the service request reduction effect. In sum, Katherine Lemon, Professor at Boston College, “our findings highlight the exciting opportunities firms have to harness customer knowledge and insights to solve other customers’ problems more efficiently and effectively – clearly a win-win for the firm and its customers.”


Bone_SterlingSterling A. Bone is an assistant professor of marketing at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. His current research focuses on voice-of-the-customer (VoC) and voice-of-the-employee (VoE) feedback and transformative consumer research. His research has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, and other notable journals. He currently serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing and the Journal of Business Research and is an academic fellow for the Center for Services Leadership. He can be reached at sterling.bone (at) usu (dot) edu.

Fombelle-Paul-194x199Paul W. Fombelle is an assistant professor of marketing at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. His current research examines service innovation, customer feedback management, and transformative consumer research. His research has appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and Journal of Interactive Marketing. He currently serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Business Research and is an academic fellow for the Center for Services Leadership. He can be reached at p.fombelle (at) neu (dot) edu.

Ray_Kristal_copyKristal R. Ray is an assistant professor of marketing at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. Her current research examines service innovation, customer feedback management, and customer experience. She previously led Customer Experience and Voice of the Customer programs for a Fortune 100 company where she conducted research to understand the customer experience and propose innovative solutions to improve the experience. She can be reached at kristal.ray (at) usu (dot) edu.

1410787183587Katherine N. Lemon holds the Accenture Professorship at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and is Chair of the Marketing Department. Her research focuses on the dynamics of customer-firm relationships. She has published over 50 articles in journals and books including the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Management Science, and the Journal of Service Research. She has received several best article awards, including the Sheth Foundation/Journal of Marketing Award (2009), and several marketing career awards. She is an academic trustee for the Marketing Science Institute, an academic fellow for the Center for Services Leadership, and a past editor of the Journal of Service Research. She can be reached at kay.lemon (at) bc (dot) edu.