Research with Societal Impact
Research with Societal Impact
The Department of Marketing at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) is committed to theory development and rigorous, theory-driven, empirical research. Since 2016, the number of articles in AJG 4*/4- and AJG 3-ranked journals has increased by 600% and 575%, respectively. To aid this trajectory, we have implemented a structured approach to develop a culture of collegiality. We strongly reiterate the belief that important research is defined by more than just publishing in influential journals. We actively pursue research with relevance that can establish the reputation of the department among multiple stakeholder groups: academics, students, businesses, and wider society.
For example, Michel van der Borgh et al. examine why salespeople avoid big-whale sales opportunities. Contrary to the intuition that salespeople gravitate toward big-whale sales opportunities, salespeople often avoid them. My colleagues find that the performance impact of salesperson initial judgment of opportunity magnitude follows an inverted U shape, indicating that salespeople’s avoidance of large opportunities results from rational benefit–cost analyses due to resource conservation.
Another example is Johannes Hattula et al. who consider how marketers project their personal preferences onto consumers. Marketing is all about understanding customer preferences and providing solutions that match these preferences. However, marketers’ perceptions of their target customers’ preferences can be biased. My colleagues find that even highly trained marketing professionals are susceptible to the false consensus effect and tend to confuse their personal preferences with the preferences of target customers. In another study, Johannes Hattula finds that consumers who gain confidence in their choices from touching products in physical contexts experience an analogous boost in confidence when they make product choices using touchscreen-based devices. Specifically, consumers with high instrumental need-for-touch are more confident in their choices, less likely to see risks associated with their choices, and they are more likely to make (vs. defer) purchase decisions when using touchscreens.
Marina Leban and Tobias Schäfers look at consumer reactions to tangibility and pricing structure. Digitalization allows companies to make features of physical products available on demand in return for an additional access fee. This also means, however, that customers pay for features that are already built into the products that they own (i.e., access is restricted unless a fee is paid). My colleagues show that consumers can perceive these on-demand features as unfair, especially when they are based on hardware features (vs. software). In their quest to generate new revenue streams based on digitalization, companies thus need to find a balance between what is technologically possible and what customers are willing to accept.
Drawing on evolutionary psychology, my tourism colleagues (Erik Braun, Szilvia Gyimóthy, Alexander Josiassen, Florian Kock, and Sebastian Zenker) research how the COVID-19 pandemic fuels social tensions such as ethnocentrism and xenophobia across the globe. My colleagues have advanced substantially knowledge on how the pandemic unfolds and thereby helped managers to navigate through these difficult times. They also examine the solidarity of other countries with war-torn Ukraine, and the war’s effects on consumers and tourists and their consumption behavior. My colleagues have outlined a scientific research agenda for tourism and the hospitality sector—and they developed a scale to measure Pandemic (COVID-19) Anxiety Travel Scale (PATS) and analyzed the paradox effect of, on the one hand, being afraid to travel and, on the other hand, to support tourism as industry more than before the pandemic.
Anna-Bertha Heeris Christensen, in her recent PhD thesis, looked at the hybridity of influencer work, which simultaneously embraces commercial and existential logics. By means of critical inquiry and a creative choice of enabling theories, she identified controversial self-managerial practices and precarious traits of social-media influencer work, which leads to significant tensions and eventually jeopardizes the influencers’ well-being. Specifically, she addresses new types of precarity with personal magnitudes, findings that add to existing discussions of autonomy in literature within digital marketing and management.
Constant Pieters, a tenure-track professor in our department, studies conditional and non-linear effects. That is, many associations in marketing and management are not linear. Sometimes, too little is as bad as too much (U-shapes). Sometimes, marketing interventions work in some conditions/settings/industries/segments, but not in others (interactions, moderation). Too much advertising may be as bad as too little. My colleague has a course written about both, also from a managerial and practical viewpoint.
Selma Kadic-Maglajlic et al. investigated companies’ readiness to confront competition from informal (unregistered) companies by responding through intensified product innovation activities. Drawing on the bounded rationality perspective, they unraveled new insights into the relationship between the threat from informal competitors and product innovation by identifying two external contingencies (intellectual property rights protection and regulatory quality) and two internal contingencies (export intensity and top manager’s sector experience).
George Halkias et al.’s research offers insight with regards to potential prejudice and prosocial behavior in the marketplace. Acknowledging gender inequality in business and being motivated to act against inequality is necessary, yet not sufficient in driving social change, as the latter often is hindered by people’s belief that their individual efforts are futile. My colleagues’ findings emphasize the importance of interventions that enable consumers to believe that their seemingly trivial individual actions can contribute meaningfully to a greater cause. Consumers need to believe that every action counts. Female sellers and, in general, managers of online platforms marketing handmade products can use these insights to boost sales, while policymakers can leverage action efficacy beliefs to promote socially responsible behavior.
All of the above research—and that of my other colleagues—evidence how the department is undertaking research with societal relevance and impact. Thank you, colleagues, for doing this research.