Stephen Morris Blogs

Trade Dress and The Trademark Trilogy

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link

David Scalise and Lauren Salas

*When: April 14, Thu, 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
*Where: MH 230

  Title: Trade Dress and The Trademark Trilogy
From Concept to Delivery: Dave explains cross-discipline, interview style research, and approaching journals. He’ll also discuss The Trademark Trilogy, stand-alone, thoroughly-researched articles linked by common, topical issues of interest to marketers and managers. Lauren will present on Trademark Trilogies II & III.

Toward a Theory of Workarounds in Organizations

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link

Steven Alter

When: March 29, Tue, 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Where: MH 230

Title: Toward a Theory of Workarounds in Organizations
The purpose of this colloquium is to help me develop a widely applicable and useful theory of workarounds in organizations. Workarounds occur in all organizations. Workarounds occur when specific technologies do not operate as designed, but they also operate in many other situations, such as when cumbersome processes are too slow, when complete information is not available, when artificially imposed constraints make it difficult to do work, and when people collude to bypass or undermine expectations and regulations from legitimate or illegitimate authorities (principals in agency theory) such as management or government.

Topics to be discussed include:
1) proposed definition of workaround (applicable whether or not IT is involved)
2) proposed types of workarounds
3) permanence/ impermanence of workarounds
4) exploring the nature of workarounds by turning agency theory on its head
5) force field model for explaining workarounds
6) taxonomy of workarounds based on principal/agent concepts
7) evaluating the legitimacy/ illegitimacy of workarounds
8) bringing workarounds into the foreground in typical systems analysis and organizational analysis.

Prevalence of Relative Thinking on the Internet

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link

*When: April 12, Thu, 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
*Where: MH 230

Sweta Thota and Ricardo Villarreal

Title: Prevalence of Relative Thinking on the Internet
Consider the following scenarios: Situation 1: a consumer who is planning the purchase of a 55”3D LED TV priced at $1999 in a store meets a friend in the store who tells her that the same TV is available for a $20 discount at another store located 20 minutes away; Situation 2: a consumer who is planning to purchase a 26” LCD TV for $150 in a store is informed by a friend that the same TV is available for a discounted price of $130 at another located 20 minutes away. Is the consumer in Situation 1 as likely to travel to the other store away as the consumer in Situation 2?

Most consumers might choose to take the additional 20 minute travel effort to save $20 only on the TV priced at $150. The model of rational choice in traditional economic theories advocates that the price difference which guides the extra travel and effort should be the same regardless of the original price of the good because the additional cost of incurring an extra 20 minute travel is the same regardless of the good’s price (Azar 2007). However, consumers behave as though their search costs in terms of time and money increase proportionately to price of the purchase item. Consequently, consumers systematically violate this model and opt to exercise the additional effort only when the saving relative to the price of the original good is higher i.e., when the original price of the good is lower. This phenomenon is called relative thinking.

Past research has shown that relative thinking is instrumental in retailing and pricing areas. Further, given our limited cognitive abilities, individuals utilize several choice heuristics (ingrained into our decision-making system) which often provided reasonably accurate solutions with minimal amount of effort (Todd, 2000). Since it is widely acknowledged that human beings are cognitive misers (Fiske and Taylor 1991), it is not surprising that even with our contemporary and rational decision-making abilities, we still rely on heuristics which could often lead to biased decision outcomes. Relative thinking is a heuristic that leads to a decision bias because a saving of $20 should be equally valuable to a consumer regardless of whether the original price of an item is $50, $100 or $1000. Now consider the above two situations in the context of a consumer considering the purchase of the earlier mentioned 51” TV (priced at $1999) vs. the 26” TV (priced at $150) on the Internet. Is a consumer equally likely to browse other web sites for a twenty dollar saving ? That is, do individuals perceive the attractiveness of saving an ‘x’ amount on a low vs. high priced item similarly across the internet and brick and mortar stores? Specifically, does relative thinking phenomenon hold in the context of internet based search for lower prices?

This paper highlights boundary conditions and hypothesizes and investigates the relative thinking phenomenon in the context of Internet. Results show that the internet sets boundary conditions for the relative thinking phenomenon.


Chrystal Chang Presents

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link


*When: March 1st, Tue, 11:45-12:45
*Where: MH 230

Title: Stumbling Toward Capitalism: The Unexpected Emergence of China’s Independent Auto Industry
In her dissertation, Stumbling Toward Capitalism: The Unexpected Emergence of China’s Independent Auto Industry, Chang analyzes the unintended consequences of China’s experimental policymaking approach through the lens of the auto industry. Specifically, she investigate the origins of China’s independent automakers, many of which are privately-held. The emergence of an independent automobile sector in China is puzzling given the industry’s historically high financial and technological barriers to entry and the Chinese government’s staunch support of state-owned automakers. Chang finds that the emergence of independent automakers was not the direct outcome of national industrial policies, as was the case in Japan and South Korea. Rather, Chang argues that Chinese entrepreneurial automakers indirectly benefited from: 1) the successes and shortcomings of the party-state’s joint venture (JV) policy, 2) China’s accession to the WTO, and 3) the changing nature of production networks in the global auto industry. Her argument stands in stark contrast to that of scholars who largely credit the party-state’s industrial policy for the modernization of China’s auto sector. Chapter 4, presented here, specifically explores the ways in which China’s accession to the WTO and key changes in global production networks opened opportunities for China’s independent automakers to break into the domestic auto market. The of the four leading independent automakers – BYD, Chery, Geely and Great Wall – are presented as case studies to support the argument. Chang will also discuss these auto makers' motives and path for global expansion and challenges facing them ahead.

School of Business & Professional Studies Research Colloquia

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link
This blog will list the faculty research colloquia at the University of San Francisco's business school.