Find us on Facebook Find us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our YouTube channel

2012 Seminars

3rd Feb 2012 - 11:00 am

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Paul Ormerod, Director, Volterra Group

Title: Evolutionary Models of Behavioural Choice

The overall environment in which agents make choices has evolved rapidly. There is now a vast proliferation of alternatives. In many cases, the products are complex and difficult to evaluate. Further, greater connectivity means that agents have become much more aware of the decisions, ideas and behaviour of others.

In such circumstances, we observe two key features of the outcomes of agent behaviour. First, right-skewed non-Gaussian distributions of outcomes at a point in time. Second, turnover of the ranking of alternatives over time.

I consider models of agent behavioural choice which are compatible with this empirical evidence.

6th Mar 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: School Building Room 11, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Professor Andrew C. Gross, Cleveland State University

Title: Global Business Market Research: From Information Vending to Knowledge Café

23rd Mar 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Associate Professor Susan Mudambi, Temple University

Title: Analyzing Online Customer Review Engagement

30th Mar 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Associate Professor Adam Duhachek, University of Indiana

Title: Power Distance Belief, Power and Charity Giving

Four studies examined the link between power distance belief (PDB) - the tendency to accept inequalities in society - and charity giving. Results suggested that the effect of PDB depended on the respondents' perceived power. Among high PDB consumers, power was positively associated with charity giving, whereas among low PDB consumers, power did not influence charity giving. These results are traced to the differential empathy felt by high power people towards low power people in the two types of systems. Theoretical and managerial contributions are discussed.

12th Apr 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: School Building Room 11, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Professor Steve Woolgar, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Title: Technologies of ironic revelation: enacting consumers in neuromarkets

Neuroscience is increasingly considered a possible basis for new business and management practices. A prominent example of this trend is neuromarketing - a relatively new form of market and consumer research that applies neuroscience to marketing by employing brain imaging or measurement technology to anticipate consumers' response to, for instance, products, packaging or advertising. In this paper, we draw attention to the ways in which certain neuromarketing technologies simultaneously reveal and enact a particular version of the consumer. The revelation is ironic in the sense that it entails the construction of a contrast between what appears to be the case - consumers' accounts of why they prefer certain products over others - and what can be shown to be the case as a result of the application of the technology - the hidden or concealed truth. This contrast structure characterises much of the academic and popular literature on neuromarketing, and helps explain the distribution of accountability relations associated with assessments of its effectiveness.

20th Apr 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Dr Julien Cayla, UNSW

Title: Ethnographic Stories and the Strategic Development of the Firm

Ethnography is a popular research method in a growing number of organizations. Companies such as Intel or Harley Davidson have found ethnography to be essential in creating customer-centric capabilities in organizations. Ethnography has helped companies develop an in-depth understanding of consumer segments leading to empathetic product designs and new market opportunities.

However, despite recent efforts to formalize what we know about the use of ethnographic methods as a form of consumer research (Cefkin 2009; Malefyt 2009; Sunderland and Denny 2007), major gaps persist in our understanding of the way ethnography is used within companies.

In this presentation, we will present the findings of a two-year study designed to examine how ethnography contributes to the development of market knowledge and the strategic development of the firm. We draw from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, including interviews with ethnographers, innovation consultants, advertising executives, market researchers and business executives who are involved in ethnographic projects. Our analysis focus on the properties of ethnography as a type of narrative knowledge.

We already know that storytelling is a powerful tool: stories delight, inspire us and they help us understand by imprinting a picture of the world in our minds. Most successful brands are built on evocative storylines and characters. Yet we rarely talk about market research as a form of storytelling, nor do we examine the specific properties of narrative knowledge as a way to build strategies. Our work looks at the power of ethnographic stories in an organizational context.

1st May 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: School Building Room 11, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Associate Professor Debbie Harrison, BI Norwegian Business School

Title: How Users Shape Markets

Users are recognised as key actors in processes of innovation, including technology design, commercialisation and appropriation. This paper shifts the focus from user influence over technology, to how user activity contributes to shape markets. Three principal user roles are synthesized from user-technology research, those of 'user', 'developer' and 'mediator'. Based on the literature on market shaping, we identify five sub-processes in which users could potentially be involved: 'generating market representations', 'establishing market rules and regulations', 'configuring exchange agents', 'framing the mode of exchange', and 'qualifying the objects of exchange'. We then explore user participation in shaping existing markets through four complementary case studies: an effort to standardize customer service in the market for diagnostics instruments, the use of frequent flyer programmes in the market for air travel, the development and spread of car sharing schemes, and the growth of file sharing of digital media via The Pirate Bay. Taken together, the cases provide examples of users assuming all three user roles and becoming involved in all five sub-processes of market shaping, although the level of involvement varies. The paper contributes to our understanding of innovation processes and the presumed link between users and markets by showing that user involvement goes beyond shaping exchange objects, and that users may be involved not only in the establishment of markets, but also in their ongoing organising. The paper also adds to our understanding of market shaping processes by empirically demonstrating various roles via which users participate in efforts to reshape markets.

13th Jun 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: School Building Room 6, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Dr Judy Zolkiewski, Manchester Business School

Title: Degrees of Separation and Locus of Control in Services Networks

The role of the distribution channel in high-technology products and services contexts is investigated using an exploratory investigation of the practices of high technology vendors and their partners.  New forms of product service network can be seen to be developing; these can be represented as value-led ecosystems in which value is appropriated in different forms by different actors at different times. These ecosystems exhibit a number of tensions from coopetition and separation of service roles to a potential change in locus of channel coordination from the OEM to the customer. Trust and expert power are found to be the coordinating functions within these ecosystems.

29th Jun 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Professor Ian Wilkinson, The University of Sydney

Title: Engineering Cooperation: Mean bad birds vs Kind Friendly Chickens

The development of cooperative relations within and between firms plays an important role in the successful implementation of business strategy. How to produce such relations is less well understood. I build on work in relational contract theory and the evolution of cooperation to examine the conditions under which group based incentives outperform individual based incentives and how they produce more cooperative behavior. Group interactions are modeled as iterated games in which individuals learn optimal strategies under individual and group based reward mechanisms. The space of possible games is examined and it is found that, when individual and group interests are not aligned, group evaluation and reward systems lead to higher group performance and, counter-intuitively, higher individual performance. Such groups include individuals who, quite differently to free-riders, sacrifice their own performance for the good of the group. I discuss the implications of these results for the design of incentive systems in business and academia.

14th Sep 2012 - 03:00 pm

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Associate Professor Shai Danziger, Tel-Aviv University

Title: Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions

Are judicial rulings based only on laws and facts? Legal formalism holds that judges apply legal reasons to the facts of a case in a rational, mechanical and deliberative manner. In contrast, legal realists argue that the rational application of legal reasons does not sufficiently explain judges' decisions and that psychological, political, and social factors influence judges' rulings. We test the common caricature of realism that justice is "what the judge ate for breakfast" in sequential parole decisions made by experienced judges. We record the judges' two daily food breaks, which result in segmenting the day's deliberations into three distinct "decision sessions." We find that the percentage of favorable rulings drops gradually from approximately 65% to nearly zero within each decision session and returns abruptly to approximately 65% following a break. Our findings suggest that judicial rulings can be swayed by extraneous variables that should not influence legal decisions.

22nd Nov 2012 - 02:00 pm

Venue: Darlington Centre School Building Room 6

Speaker: Professor Robert van Krieken, The University of Sydney

Title: Living in Celebrity Society

On television, in magazines and books, on the internet, and in films: celebrities of all sorts seem to take up a lot of space. The cross-over between the celebrity and politics appears to be intensifying, with actors and pop stars becoming politicians, politicians needing to function in the same way as celebrities, and increasingly rely on their association with celebrities for their political effectiveness. The more one looks around the world today, the more one sees social, economic and political life being organized around celebrities.

But we still understand very little about what different celebrities have in common with each other, and what celebrity actually means. The aim in this presentation, drawing on the book Celebrity Society (Routledge), is to reflect on the deeper significance of celebrity for our everyday life, our sense of self, and relations of status, recognition and power. It will look at the way in which the figure of 'the celebrity' is bound up with the emergence of modernity, as well as how the 'celebrification of society' is not just the twentieth-century product of Hollywood and television, but a long-term historical process, beginning with the printing press, theatre and art. It will sketch the central elements of what can be called 'celebrity society', organized around the distribution of visibility, attention and recognition.

Drawing on the work of the sociologist Norbert Elias, it is possible to see contemporary celebrity society as the heir (or heiress) of court society, reproducing but also democratising the role of the aristocracy. Understanding 'celebrity's secret' also means engaging with the idea of celebrity as driven by the 'economics of attention', because attention has become a vital and increasingly valuable resource in the information age.