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Marketing & Behavioural Science Division

Research seminars

Date: Friday, September 17, 2021
Speaker: Noah Castelo,  University of Alberta Business School
Topic: Bots at the frontline: How consumers perceive firms that employ service bots
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: Many firms are starting to replace customer service employees with bots, from humanoid service robots to digital chatbots. Using real human-bot interactions, we provide field-experimental evidence to shed light on how consumers perceive firms that use service bots to automate customer service and how those perceptions impact service and firm evaluations. We find that consumers hold a lay theory that automation is motivated by firm benefits at the expense of customer benefits and therefore perceive firms that use service bots to be less customer-centric. These inferences ultimately decrease customer satisfaction, willingness to patronize, re-patronize, and share positive word-of-mouth about the firm. These effects generalize across physical (i.e., embodied robots) and digital (i.e., chatbots) forms of service bots and emerge across a range of industries and consumer demographics. We further show that managers can partially attenuate the negative effects by explicitly highlighting a customer-centric motivation for the use of service bots.

Date: Friday, September 24, 2021
Speaker: Isamar Troncoso, University of Southern California
Topic: Look the part? The role of profile pictures in online labor markets
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: Virtually on Zoom
Abstract: Freelancing platforms have gained tremendous popularity, connecting millions of employers and freelancers worldwide. We examine whether profile pictures on such platforms may facilitate hiring biases based on appearance-based perceptions of a freelancer's fit for the job (e.g., whether the applicant looks like a programmer). We collect data from Freelancer.com for all jobs posted between January-June 2018 that ended in a contract, resulting in 79,038 jobs with 2,462,043 applications from 220,385 freelancers. Leveraging computer vision techniques, we find that freelancers with pictures perceived as high fit (or who “look the part”) are more likely to be hired. More importantly, we show that such a bias goes above and beyond known prejudice variables such as demographics and attractiveness. Interestingly, we discover that “looking the part” is a complement rather than a substitute for online reputation. We further conduct two experiments to explore the underlying mechanisms behind these findings. We find that when the reputation system is extremely positive, as in most freelancing platforms, employers use profile pictures as tiebreakers to choose among similar applicants. We also show that freelancers, especially those who “do not look the part,” may mitigate such biases by strategically selecting backgrounds and accessories in their profile pictures to enhance their chances of being hired.

Date: Monday, September 27, 2021
Speaker: Saeid Kermani, Schulich School of Business, York University
Topic: Getting political: The effects of outgroup outrage on self-brand connection
Time: 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: While negative responses to social marketing campaigns would normally be considered undesirable, our research investigates how such reactions can ultimately have a positive impact on the brand involved. We build our predictions on the premise that any such outrage is often expressed by specific sub-groups and show that such outgroup outrage can actually stir consumers who share the brand’s values to identify more closely with the brand and buy its products. These effects are specific to expressed outrage and were not evoked by equally disapproving outgroups in the absence of outrage. Additional evidence showed these reactions operated via the degree of perceived social threat involved. Finally, greater observed viral support for the outgroup outrage (e.g., more likes) accentuated the positive impact it ultimately had on brand identification by intensifying the perceived social threat. Implications for the consumer outrage, social marketing, and consumer-brand relationship literatures are discussed.

Date: Friday, October 1, 2021
Speaker: Hortense Fong, Yale School of Management
Topic: TBA
Time: 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Location: HA 969
Abstract: TBA

Date: Friday, October 8, 2021
Speaker: Stephanie Smith, UCLA Anderson School of Management
Topic: TBA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: TBA

Date: Friday, October 15, 2021
Speaker: Serena Hagerty, Harvard Business School
Topic: TBA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: TBA

Date: Friday, October 22, 2021
Speaker: Fanglin Chen, NYU Stern School of Business
Topic: TBA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: TBA

Date: Friday, October 29, 2021
Speaker: Yu Ding, Columbia University
Topic: TBA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: TBA

Date: Monday, November 1, 2021
Speaker: Kaiyang Wu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: TBA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Location: HA 966
Abstract: TBA

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