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(2021) Nguyen, Dinh Yen OanhThesisConsumers encounter thousands of scarcity messages daily, yet the effects of scarcity tactics are unclear. This thesis aims to uncover the effects of different types of scarcity tactics from both firm and customer perspectives. Included herein are fifteen studies that employed mixed research designs (i.e., experimental designs, cross-sectional surveys) with a variety of product categories (i.e., clothing, shoes, electronics, food, sustainable products, etc.). Three essays are produced to articulate this work; Essay One focuses on product scarcity and investigates when and why a corporate decision to create an intentional scarcity of products would improve or impair the brands. Essay Two examines how two types of messaging, scarcity based, and social proof based, can drive or diminish consumers’ information sharing in promotional contexts. Essay Three identifies how a personal scarcity concept - feelings of relative deprivation - undermines consumers’ adoption of sustainable products. Collectively, this thesis contributes advances to multiple streams of research including scarcity, branding, information sharing behaviour, and sustainable purchases. It also offers practical guidance for marketers, retailers, and policy makers.
(2021) Bay, JoshuaThesisThis paper explores extensive asset allocation possibilities and asset pricing tests shedding light into the cross-sectional and time-varying nature of combining multi-asset alternative risk premia. Existing literature in the multi-asset risk premia space is limited in terms of allocation studies as most research on combining factor exposures are only in the single-stock equity space. The literary gap is further exacerbated over the last decade with the explosion of new factors discovered. To address this, key asset allocation techniques commonly used in allocating across long-only traditional asset classes and equity factors are applied to multi-asset risk premia. The results seem to suggest the key assumptions of expected returns, followed by expected risks, higher moments and then lastly correlations in this order of importance are associated with building portfolios with higher risk-reward. To the best of my knowledge, this is one of the first papers that provide a comprehensive and practical study of a wide array of portfolio implementation approaches to multi-asset risk premia. This paper serves as an annex for investors to better understand the interaction and concentration of multi-asset risk premia exposures to meet their desired investment profiles.
(2021) Burton, KelseyThesisThe enduring prevalence of dark personalities in the workplace has warranted recent research on narcissists, psychopaths, and Machiavellians and their adverse effects on the workplace. However, little effort has been made to investigate the individuals who favor dark personalities, enabling them to flourish within organizations. To better understand “when” and “how” exactly dark personalities are favored, Study 1 used an experimental design to investigate different strategies by which leaders favor narcissists, psychopaths, and Machiavellians. An actor role-played these three dark personality types within teams. Narcissists and psychopaths were favored by leaders through resource allocation, both covertly (i.e., when the decision is confidential) and overtly (i.e., when the decision is not confidential). In contrast, Machiavellians were only favored through overt resource allocation. This study also showed that narcissists were favored through interpersonal influence and promotion recommendations, while psychopaths were favored through task influence. The first study provided insight into the different ways by which leaders favor the three dark personalities and found narcissists, as compared to psychopaths and Machiavellians, to be favored through multiple mediums. Building on the premise that narcissists successfully obtain additional resources and attain favored status through interpersonal influence and promotion recommendations, further research was needed to investigate the motivational factors associated with favoring narcissists. In Study 2 and Study 3, we used a 2x2 experimental design to test a three-way interaction to determine the motivational factors that drive leaders to favor narcissists. Study 2 employed a design in which leaders watched videos of teams containing a narcissist. Study 3 employed a design in which an actor role-played the narcissist within a team. Both experiments supported the hypothesis that high dominant leaders will favor low status, narcissists through resource allocation. Thus, high dominance motivated leaders have a heightened awareness of potential threats to power and strategically choose to favor less threatening narcissists even though such narcissists negatively affect team coordination and performance. Additionally, Studies 2 and 3 supported the hypothesis that low dominant leaders favor high status narcissists through resource allocation. Leaders low in dominance motivation have a greater concern for the overall team well-being and performance while also being less assertive. Therefore, low dominant leaders are more susceptible to a narcissist’s demands and will favor the high status ‘bad apple’ to maintain high team performance. Our studies further expand the research on narcissists in the workplace and provide key insights into the leaders who favor narcissism in a manner that promulgates the prevalence of narcissists throughout organizations.
An investigation into political connections: literature review and empirical tests of the impact and antecedent(2021) Wei, QiaoThesisConnections between business and political entities (“political connections”) have received unprecedented research attention in the last decades. Studies investigate the relationships between political connections and firms’ behavior, strategy, as well as various performance outcomes. Meanwhile, scholars have adopted diverse perspectives to explain the role of political connections in these relationships. Nevertheless, reviews designed to synthesize political connections studies has not kept pace with the explosive growth of this scholarship. In addition, there are still research gaps to be addressed within the scholarship. In particular, as political connections can generate both positive and negative impact on the firm, further research is needed to explain the reason behind and reconcile existing mixed findings. Furthermore, prior studies have predominantly focused on understanding the impact of political connections while leaving the antecedents of such connections underexplored. This thesis takes up these challenges by synthesizing prior political connections studies and addressing the research gaps above. This thesis consists of three studies. First, it combines bibliographic techniques and qualitative review techniques to conduct a comprehensive review of the political connections studies published during the last three decades (in Chapter 2). Next, based on the findings of Chapter 2 and guidance for future research provided therein, it includes two empirical studies to investigate how connections may paradoxically influence firms’ resource acquisition and utilization for innovation performance (in Chapter 3) and to examine how the emphasis the firm places on financial vs. nonfinancial goals acts as an antecedent of formation of different types of political connections (in Chapter 4). In sum, this thesis offers a more complete and fine-grained understanding of political connections and provides research guidance for future development of the scholarship of political connections.
(2021) Andonopoulos, VasilikiThesisSocial Media Influencers (SMIs) occupy an increasingly focal position in the digital marketing landscape. Although authenticity has drawn researchers’ attention to understanding how digital influencers command influence over online consumers, the notion of personal authenticity, the human variant of authenticity has yet to be applied and tested in the marketing literature to understand online spokespersons and consumer responses. Accordingly, the present research aimed to investigate the role of SMI personal authenticity in influencing online customer behaviour. The first chapter in this thesis broadly explored the notion of authenticity across disciplines and defines SMI personal authenticity in reference to self-identification theory. Employing a bibliometric analysis, it further highlighted relatively limited empirical work on online influencers and their authentic self-representation in the marketing literature. The following chapter empirically investigated whether the online representations of SMIs’ self-identity exert consumer behaviour. The pilot study examined whether an SMI Instagram profile adequately reflected their personal authenticity after ruling out the possible confounding effects of gender and familiarity. Study 1 examined online consumer behaviour in response to SMI authentic representation. In Study 2, the preceding study was built upon, and investigated a mediating effect of SMI trustworthiness on the relationship between SMI personal authenticity and consumer responses. The final study (Study 3) tested the serial mediation of SMI trustworthiness and Inspirational capacity of the SMI as a means of explaining the relationship between SMI personal authenticity and consumer outcomes. The findings reveal consumers perceived SMIs who were high in personal authenticity to be more trustworthy and hence more inspirational, resulting in an increased tendency to purchase products advertised by them. Further analyses show that high levels of SMI personal authenticity had a negative effect on inspiration and then resulted in a decrease in consumer purchase intent. These findings challenge the existing marketing literature on authenticity by showing that highly authentic self-representations of SMIs are not always indicative of encouraging consumer purchase intent. The findings from this thesis make a significant and pertinent contribution by filling the current research gap in the extant literature on online influencers and authenticity, in addition to carrying a high degree of digital marketing practitioner value.
Insights into the Form and Function of Awe and Related States, and their Impact on Consumer Decisions and Well-Being(2021) Chaudhury, Srinwanti H.ThesisMarketers increasingly recognize that consumer decisions may be ascribed to emotional motivations. While several scholars have examined the influence of discrete negative and positive emotions in consumption contexts, one emotion that has been understudied in marketing is the influence of the emotion of awe. Awe is a positive emotion elicited by extensive or vast stimuli, either perceptually or conceptually, which leads to the revision of mental schemas. Further, as a self-transcendent, other-focused emotion, awe has properties that suggest its potential in driving consumer well-being. The central insight of this thesis is that awe and related states like threat-awe can have unique influences on consumer behaviour. For instance, prior research has argued threat-awe as a negative-valenced variant of awe that would prime similar downstream consequences as awe. Contrastingly, the first essay, “The Curious Case of Threat-Awe”, conceptualizes threat-awe as a mixed emotion of awe and fear, rather than a negative-valenced state. Over five studies, we draw on two methodologies - cognitive appraisals and an index of bivalence - and elucidate how threat-awe’s appraisal profile, valence, and behaviour (risk-taking) are distinct from univalenced emotions like awe and fear. The second essay, “Feeling Small but Thinking Big”, conceptualizes awe's positive self-diminishment effect and develops a framework of how awe facilitates engagement in sustainable consumption. Across four studies, this essay demonstrate how awe positively impacts consumers’ willingness to pay for sustainable products. The essay further shows the underlying sequential mechanism of positive self-diminishment and examines boundary conditions of product packaging and product type. In the final essay, “Betting on Myself”, we show that the positive self-diminishment effect of awe reduces financial risk-taking in the domain of gambling. Using multiple methodologies to prime awe (writing/reading task, virtual reality), we compare awe against other positive emotions such as pride, happiness, amusement, and neutral, and demonstrate that awe-induced self-diminishment reduces gambling tendency. The studies also rule out several alternative explanations and examine the boundary condition of feedback on performance. Overall, across the three essays, this thesis highlights socio-cognitive engagement of awe and its behavioural consequences relevant to consumer decisions and well-being.
(2021) Li, XunThesisThe aim of this thesis is to utilise transnational regulatory network (TRN) theory to examine the effectiveness of the regulatory framework promulgated by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) — to address the activities of transnational hedge funds. Scholarship employing TRN theory has not previously accounted for the distinctive role that IOSCO — a body well-described as a TRN — has played in developing hedge fund regulation to prevent, identify and mitigate systemic risk related to transnational hedge funds. It is a gap that this thesis attempts to fill. This thesis asks whether and in what ways the IOSCO framework contributes to systemic risk mitigation in relation to transnational hedge funds operating at the global level. It does so to help academics and policymakers to better understand and appreciate the value, and overcome the limitations of IOSCO in this respect. Using the case studies of the failure of Long-Term Capital Management at the end of the 20th century and the demise of Bear Stearns’ hedge funds during the global financial crisis, it argues that it is the systemic hazards posed by hedge funds that make them merit extra regulation at both national and transnational levels. Deploying the findings of the TRN theory, it further demonstrates that the IOSCO framework for transnational hedge fund regulation holds not only advantages to be maintained but also shortcomings to be overcome in addressing these systemic hazards. The significance of this study lies in its contribution to advancing comprehension of the global regulatory framework for transnational hedge funds. It makes the advance by introducing a focus on systemic risk mitigation, hitherto lacking, and developing a critical, doctrinal understanding of the relatively understudied rules and standards under IOSCO.
(2021) Cai, LinThesisThis thesis consists of three chapters that investigate the linkage between uncertainty and corporate investment decisions on an international basis. In first chapter, I investigate the extent of U.S. policy-related spillovers into 22 other real economies. I find that, after accounting for factors previously used to explain corporate investment, US Economic Policy Uncertainty (US EPU, hereafter) fluctuations affect foreign corporate investments through two channels. First, the single effect of US EPU on international corporate investment shows an unequivocal negative relation (the direct channel). Second, an increase in US EPU also attenuates the negative sensitivity of corporate investment towards the cost of capital (the indirect channel). Further, I find that while the direct channel of US EPU on corporate investment persists across several subsamples, its indirect channel relates to a high degree of dependence on the U.S. economy and opacity exhibited by local economies. The second chapter reconciles the contrary views on the foreign investors using local disaster shocks from 46 countries over the period 1998-2018. I find that local disaster shocks cause significant disruptions to corporate investments, but foreign institutional investors attenuate the costs of disaster risks. The benefits associated with foreign institutional investors are not uniformly held across all economies, where the role of foreign institutional investors is particularly measurable in countries with well-developed institutional environment. The third chapter focuses on the uncertainty at domestic level using national elections across 23 different countries. I find that the corporate investment cycle corresponds with the timing of national elections, but there is a cross-sectional difference in the firm-level investment sensitivity to elections. During election periods, while firms temporarily reduce investment expenditures relative to nonelection years, the decline is mainly sourced from firms with greater political exposures. Further, I find that the investment cycles are more volatile when the election outcomes are uncertain, and the institutional environments are weaker.
(2022) Dienemann, FabianThesisThis dissertation consists of three essays on asset pricing and market microstructure topics within the U.S. corporate bond market. The first essay investigates asymmetry in price pressure between customer buy and sell orders and demonstrates that it is a valuable measure of downside liquidity for corporate bonds. While evidence of a characteristic premium for illiquidity in the cross-section of corporate bonds is mixed, aggregate liquidity asymmetry has high explanatory power for the time series of market returns. Its statistical and economic significance justify it as a credible asset pricing factor. Average market-wide liquidity asymmetry comoves with interest rate and credit spread changes, investor sentiment, funding liquidity, dealer inventory, exchange-traded fund flows, and post-crisis regulatory change. The second essay documents the properties of market-wide corporate bond liquidity and demonstrates that liquidity risk is an important determinant of returns. In market downturns, transaction costs rise for sellers and fall for buyers. The negative relation between buyer and seller liquidity motivates a new across-measure liquidity factor that incorporates an asymmetric liquidity component. Shocks to market-wide liquidity explain a large portion of bond return variation in the time series. Primarily driven by the asymmetric component, the liquidity factor attracts a cross-sectional risk premium that is robust to controls for credit, equity, and interest rate factors, as well as the illiquidity level. The third essay provides new evidence of retail investors’ ability to predict returns based on transactions in U.S. corporate bonds with equity-like risk. Retail order flow is persistent and contrarian, and it predicts future returns in the cross-section. The profits of an equal-weighted, long-short strategy that buys (sells) bonds that experience high (low) net retail buying are economically meaningful. The alpha based on decile portfolios is significant at the 10% level when controlling for common equity and bond risk factors. However, due to high transaction costs and because retail purchase volume is concentrated in underperforming bonds, retail traders lose money in aggregate.
Using Embodied Conversational Agents on the Service Frontline: Essays on the Effects of Anthropomorphism on Consumer Outcomes(2022) Chong, TerrenceThesisAs chatbots are deployed for service interactions with customers on the organizational frontline, they are designed to be humanlike (anthropomorphized) to increase acceptance and usage. Although the use of chatbots continues to rise, there is a lack of guidelines on effective chatbot design and its impact on customer responses. Drawing from social cognitive theory (SCT) and stereotype content model (SCM), this thesis consists of three essays that theoretically propose and empirically test the underlying mechanisms of the effect of embodied conversational agent (ECA, a form of chatbot with digital face/head or body) design on customer outcomes. Essay 1 (Chapter 2) conceptualizes three aspects of ECA design (i.e., anthropomorphic role, appearance and interactivity) and presents a framework on how they impact service outcomes by influencing people's agency. Essay 2 (Chapter 3) builds on Essay 1 and introduces ‘value-by-proxy’ as a two-stage process that accounts for how the three anthropomorphic affordances relevant to ECAs (i.e., anthropomorphic role, visual appearance and conversational style) translate into relevant customer outcomes in the delivery of online financial coaching service. The essay uses an experimental approach that simulates an interactive service encounter with an ECA and incorporates implementation intentions with regard to (non)use and advice compliance, which is integrated with a Gabor Granger study to assess the willingness to pay. Based on a sample of 596 US-based respondents recruited from a Prolific panel, the results provide evidence on the serial mediation of the impact of anthropomorphic affordances on customer outcomes. Essay 3 (Chapter 4) conceptually and empirically explores how the dimensions of warmth and competence are afforded through prosody (enthusiastic vs. calm voice) and interaction styles (socioemotional vs. task-focused) in establishing perceptions of virtual rapport and in turn customer usage and compliance intentions. Data were collected from two studies: 390 US-based respondents recruited from a Prolific panel participated in an online experiment in Study 1, and 212 US-based respondents from a Conjoint.ly panel participated in a choice-based conjoint experiment in Study 2. The findings demonstrate a process of moderated serial mediation such that feelings of rapport are driven by believability and that this relationship is enhanced by a willingness to suspend disbelief.
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