Research Roundup: February 2024

Article Icon Article
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
By AACSB Staff
The impact of business research by discipline, the role of marketing education in overconsumption, and a tool that maps the spread of AI-related jobs.

The Impact of Business Research, Quantified

Academics, practitioners, and pundits alike have long criticized academic business research for having little impact on business practice. In response, two researchers have conducted an analysis to show which business disciplines have the greatest impact on practice—and which ones lag behind.

The results of their analysis were published in a study that appeared in PLoS One. The study was written by Vivek Astvansh, associate professor of quantitative marketing and analytics at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montréal; and Ethan Fridmanski, data services librarian at the Herman B. Wells Library at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Astvansh and Fridmanski sampled articles published from 2000 to 2020 in 56 journals across 12 business disciplines. They measured each journal’s impact factor over two-year and five-year periods. They also took note of each article’s Altmetric Attention Score, which Altmetric describes as “a weighted count of the attention that a scholarly article has received” in different types of media sources.

The researchers looked at citations in 19 types of practitioner outlets, including news articles and social media. They expressed the relationship between impact factor and attention score as a correlation coefficient—the higher the correlation coefficient, the greater the impact on practice.

They hypothesized that research in highly empirical fields such as information systems (IS), accounting, and finance would be mentioned more often in practitioner-focused outlets than research in more theoretical fields such as management and international business. However, they found the opposite to be true. Research studies in international business and entrepreneurship had the highest correlation coefficients, while those in IS, accounting, and finance had the lowest—likely due to the technical language common in these disciplines.

These results provide insights to journal editors, business school administrators, and faculty who want to boost the impact of business scholarship. For example, administrators might want to reward authors more when their articles are cited in sources with direct impact on practice—such as in public policy and patent documents.

“Such a reward system,” the co-authors write, “will create appropriate incentives and make business research more accountable.” They call for future research to study “correlations between an article’s attention score and its “readability [and] technicality.”

Can Marketing Education Correct Overconsumption?

Many factors contribute to climate change, but human consumption is among those having the greatest negative impact. But three researchers point to a group that could jump-start solutions to overconsumption: marketing educators. 

That’s the theme of “No Marketing on a Dead Planet: Rethinking Marketing Education to Support a Restoration Economy,” published in the Journal of Macromarketing. The study’s lead author is Sabrina Helm, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences with two schools at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tuscon: the Norton School of Human Ecology and the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. Helm’s co-authors are Vicki Little, senior lecturer of business innovation at the RMIT University Business School in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam; and Catherine Frethey-Bentham, senior lecturer of marketing at the University of Auckland Business School in New Zealand. 

Helm, Little, and Frethey-Bentham surveyed 200 marketing educators in 42 countries about how they are addressing climate change. These educators fell into one of three groups. Just over one-third were Engaged, addressing topics related to sustainability and climate change in their teaching. About half were Conflicted, meaning that they addressed these issues but felt obligated to prioritize standard marketing topics. The rest were Traditionalist, expressing the belief that while important, these issues do not belong in marketing education.

“It does not make sense to teach our standard business-as-usual marketing repertoire while we are confronted with these grand challenges in society.”—Sabrina Helm, University of Arizona

The opinion that marketing education is not the place to discuss climate change is misguided, Helm argues in a UA online publication. She points out that marketing’s primary goal is to influence consumer behavior and buying patterns, which makes clear the connection between marketing education and overconsumption. “It does not make sense to teach our standard business-as-usual marketing repertoire while we are confronted with these grand challenges in society,” she says.

In their paper, Helm and her co-authors suggest ways that marketing curricula can accelerate the world’s transition to a “restoration economy.” The research team also warns that marketing educators who ignore the topic could increase students’ “eco-anxiety” and reinforce students’ fear that they are helpless to make a difference. Or worse, educators could instill a sense of apathy in students—or even imply that it’s acceptable to engage in overconsumption.

“Marketing has been pursuing this growth mantra, but we can instead use marketing for good,” Helm says. “I can't revamp the capitalist system, but I can bring new ideas to my students. I can teach them to ask good questions and persevere in getting answers and enacting good practices when they get into their careers.”

How Much Is Anticipatory ‘Buzz’ Worth?

The movie industry knows that a good trailer for an upcoming film can make the difference between a so-so opening weekend and box office success. But can “preannouncement marketing” help companies in other industries give their new products an extra boost?

Inspired by the lead-ups to blockbuster films—such as those for last year’s “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”—a study published in the Journal of Product & Brand Management looks at the effect of premarketing on a company’s stock price performance. The study’s authors include Debi P. Mishra, associate professor of management at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Deniz Dalman, associate professor of marketing at emlyon business school in Écully, France.

“New products are the heartbeat of a company, especially those products that are more consumer-facing, so how a company communicates with consumers or stakeholders about new products is the key to future growth and survival,” Mishra says. “Do you provide all the information upfront or more toward the preannouncement phase?”

With this question in mind, Mishra and Dalman collected data from 149 product launch events, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, from 2005 to 2018. They were particularly interested in the information released within one year prior to a product’s launch. They also determined whether each announcement was costly (companies lost money if they did not formally introduce their new products to the market) or costless (companies lost no money by waiting until after launch to promote their products).

Premarketing often results in no change in stock price. But in some cases companies can benefit from sharing enough information beforehand to generate interest, while still leaving room for surprise.

The study shows that companies facing costly announcements did not see a significant change in their stock prices, while companies facing costless scenarios often saw positive stock market reactions. And companies that saw initial losses from not investing in building pre-launch buzz compensated for those losses after a product’s release.

However, the researchers found that it makes a difference whether companies make any guarantees in their premarketing. If companies create buzz about new products but never release those products, their stock prices might rise initially but drop soon after. But if companies announce that they have spent millions of dollars to build a factory to manufacture the new product, any uptick in stock price is likely to hold. Such an announcement is “a credible commitment because that money could be lost if they never introduce that product,” Mishra says. “The market is smart enough to figure these types of things out.”

In some cases, companies can benefit from sharing enough information beforehand to generate interest, while still leaving room for surprise, Mishra explains. “If you have something really cool to put out—Brad Pitt is starring in some big upcoming movie—you can’t keep it under wraps all the time,” he says. “But if your intention is truly honest about introducing that product or movie, it still could be a good idea to keep things somewhat secretive.” A delightful surprise could lead to a positive market reaction, which can lead to greater success in the long run.

Research News

UMD Smith School maps AI jobs across U.S. The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in College Park has collaborated with LinkUp Job Market Data and Outrigger Group to develop UMD-LinkUp AI Maps, an interactive U.S. map that allows users to track the spread of AI-related occupations across the U.S. on a month-by-month basis. The jobs can be sorted by industry, state, and other geographic factors. The tool also determines each region’s “AI intensity,” which is the ratio of its AI jobs to all other job postings.

Smith School researchers have released a white paper outlining their initial finding. For example, perhaps not surprisingly, California and the region around Washington, D.C., are the areas with the highest concentration of AI-related jobs. The paper also notes that the number of AI jobs are on the rise, despite a decline in jobs across the larger IT sector.

This new model tracks the dispersion of AI jobs with 90 percent accuracy, explains Anil K. Gupta, Michael Dingman Chair and professor of Strategy, Globalization and Entrepreneurship. “We are using highly specialized [large language models] to assist with filtering AI jobs for an accurate and timely assessment of what constitutes an AI job.” 

Biodiversity risk paper wins research prize. A paper by researchers from the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut, and the New York University Stern School of Business (NYU Stern) has won the inaugural Berkeley Haas Sustainable Business Research Prize. The paper, “Biodiversity Risk,” highlights a tool to help investors, academics, and organizations measure economic risks from the loss of the planet’s biodiversity. The paper’s authors include Stefano Giglio of Yale and Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel, and Xuran Zeng of NYU Stern.

Also named as finalists were papers focused on cost-efficient decarbonization of cement productionclimate risk exposure in the financial system, and the impact of corporate decarbonization policies.

Worth 20,000 USD, the prize is administered by the Center for Responsible Business (CRB) at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. The CRB created the prize to recognize scholarship that is likely to inspire change that mitigates the climate crisis.

Send press releases, links to studies, PDFs, or other relevant information regarding new and forthcoming research, grants, initiatives, and projects underway to AACSB Insights at [email protected].

What did you think of this content?
Thank you for your input!
Your feedback helps us create better content.
Your feedback helps us create better content.
The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
Subscribe to LINK, AACSB's weekly newsletter!
AACSB LINK—Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge—is an email newsletter that brings members and subscribers the newest, most relevant information in global business education.
Sign up for AACSB's LINK email newsletter.
Our members and subscribers receive Leading Insights, News, and Knowledge in global business education.
Thank you for subscribing to AACSB LINK! We look forward to keeping you up to date on global business education.
Weekly, no spam ever, unsubscribe when you want.