Theses and Dissertations - Department of Marketing

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    Speaking Fast and Slow: How Speech Rate of Digital Assistants Affects Likelihood to Use
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2020) Christenson, Brett Alan; Ringler, Christine; Sirianni, Nancy J; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa are adaptable service robots which interact vocally to deliver services to consumers. During interactions, these digital assistants provide a unique opportunity for marketers to convey social and emotional information by altering qualities of their voices, such as speech rate. However, as brands begin to adapt their digital assistant voices, they have little research to guide them in creating positive consumer responses and avoiding negative ones. Across seven experiments, the process of how digital assistant speech rate affects consumer emotions and likelihood to use is uncovered and explained. Nervousness and risk facilitate the process, while interaction style and personal differences are shown to moderate the effects. Experiment 1 begins by showing speech rates which are significantly faster or slower can negatively impact likelihood to use a digital assistant. Following this, experiments 2A-B uncover the process of effects and show feelings of nervousness as well as risk mediate the relationship between speech rate and usage intentions. Experiments 3A-B provide managers with applicable moderators for the effects while experiments 4A-B provide a complete moderated mediation model. This work contributes to the sensory marketing literature focused on sound and its impact upon consumer perceptions and behaviors.
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    Two Essays on the Role of Consumer Animosity on Consumer Behaviors
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2020) Peng, Yi; Westjohn, Stanford A.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Damaging effects of hostility between nations is causing worldwide tension. In the marketing literature, Klein, Ettenson, and Morris (1998) were the first to relate tension between countries to consumer consumption behaviors and were the first to establish the animosity model of the repulsion of foreign product purchase. They defined consumer animosity as “anger related to previous or ongoing political, military, economic, or diplomatic events” (Klein, Ettenson, & Morris, 1998, p. 90). Furthermore, the effects of animosity are becoming more prevalent as consumers increasingly act on their anger, with the rise in anti-globalization and the emergence of social media (McGregor, 2018). Thus, it is important for both researchers and brand managers to examine potential ways that could mitigate the negative effect of consumer animosity. This dissertation consists of two essays. Essay 1 is a review of the consumer animosity literature, which is based on a meta-analysis of past studies and some subsequent experimental studies. The meta-analysis summarized 37 studies of consumer animosity covering from 1998 to 2018. Subsequently, to prove evidence of causation, we conduct a series of experiments to test the boundary conditions by priming cultural values at the individual level. Hereby, we reconcile controversial findings from the consumer animosity literature and suggest that the effect of animosity varies across cultures. Essay 2 uses the insights gained from Essay 1 regarding the negative effect of consumer animosity on willingness to buy. Further, it demonstrated the importance of consumers’ coping strategies while dealing with negative emotions toward the offending country. Specifically, this essay conceptualizes a model in which negative emotions interact with emotional venting to affect individuals’ behaviors. Three studies provided strong evidence that emotional venting can significantly mitigate the negative effect of consumer animosity on willingness to buy and donation decisions. Taken together, the dissertation provided a comprehensive literature review of consumer animosity, addressed the inconsistent results in this literature, and demonstrated the importance of cultural values in influencing the consumer animosity - willingness to buy relationship, and the role of emotional venting in shaping angry consumers’ behaviors. Finally, suggestions for future research and applications are provided.
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    The downsides of price promotions and price negotiations on brand relationships
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2020-07) Pratt, Alexander Bolton; Robinson, Stacey G.; Voorhees, Clay M.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This dissertation's overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of the negative consequences certain sales approaches can have in retail settings. Specifically, two essays examine the effects of price promotions and price negotiations on customer, and salesperson perceptions. Many firms implement price promotions and negotiations because both provide economic incentives for customers to purchase. While there are a number of positive outcomes related to these tactics, this dissertation identifies conditions under which they can backfire for firms. The first essay investigates how price promotions can backfire for firms, while the second essay, examines how price negotiations between customers and salespeople can backfire. The first essay contributes to both theory and practice by providing insights into the effects of customers resisting price promotions. Four controlled laboratory experiments reveal consumers who resist a competing brand's price promotion increase their loyalty to their incumbent brand. This effect is rooted in resistance theory, suggesting that when consumers forgo a persuasive offer, their perceptions of resistance are both diagnostic and affirming, which can change their attitudes and behaviors. Ultimately, Essay One suggests marketing managers likely overestimate the benefits of their firm's price promotions if they fail to account for increasing consumer loyalty and spending toward competitor brands. The second essay evaluates how retail price negotiations between a salesperson and customer are impacted by the customer’s form of payment (e.g., cash, financing). Across two controlled laboratory experiments and a secondary dataset, this research finds that customers who pay with more transparent payment forms (e.g., cash or debit card) obtain more substantial price concessions during price negotiations. Specifically, I find salespeople perceive customers who pay with more transparent payment forms as having greater negotiation power than those who pay with less transparent payment forms, and thus concede greater price concessions. Ultimately, Essay Two demonstrates a customer's payment form may negatively impact a firm's profit margins; additionally, this essay provides managerial insights on how to mitigate these effects.
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    Understanding the role of self-conscious emotions in service encounters
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2020-12) Jaramillo Echeverri, Maria S.; Baker, Thomas L.; Ringler, Christine; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This dissertation attempts to understand the nature of and role that customers' embarrassment and guilt play in service encounters and evaluations. In Essay 1, I study the commonalities between and distinctiveness of each of these emotions, by identifying their antecedents and testing customers’ perceptions of these emotions as unique emotional states. This dissertation also represents the first exploratory effort to understand how service employees and service organizations can help customers to deal with their embarrassment and guilt, and transform an uncomfortable situation into a positive service experience. In Essay 2, this dissertation tests how consumers' self-attributed service failures (one of the customers' guilt and embarrassment antecedents), influence their satisfaction and likelihood of spreading positive word-of-mouth. I also examine embarrassment and guilt as mediators of the relationship between customers' self-blame and service outcomes. This dissertation provides evidence than both embarrassment and guilt are emotions commonly experienced by consumers in service encounters. Individuals can differentiate them and provide different narratives aligned to the theoretical description of each emotion. Furthermore, consumers believe service employees' actions can worsen or lessen the discomfort typical of embarrassing or guilt-evoking situations. Finally, this dissertation demonstrates that the embarrassment and guilt generated by customers' self-attributed service failures impact service outcomes, and demonstrates how the presence of other customers as well the customers' behavioral inconsistency, can moderate these effects.
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    Moving beyond salesperson turnover: a dynamic model of salesperson job-hopping
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2020) Pimentel, Michael Anthony; Panagopoulos, Nikolaos; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Job-hopping, defined as the trajectory of voluntary inter-organizational transitions over one’s career, is a top concern for managers as they witness their salespeople change jobs more frequently and with greater ease than ever before. Indeed, many hiring managers indicate that a history of job-hopping is a deal-breaker when interviewing candidates for employment. This is partially because the direct costs associated with replacing salespeople can be more than 200% of annual compensation. Surprisingly, marketing research has mostly neglected the phenomenon of salesperson job-hopping, opting instead to focus primarily on salesperson turnover. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is to take an initial venture into the exciting and timely area of salesperson job-hopping. To accomplish this task, this dissertation draws from employee turnover and change theories to examine how salesperson job-hopping is influenced by job satisfaction change, defined as the systematic increase or decrease in levels of job satisfaction over time. Next, moderating variables representing salesperson human capital are examined as potential levers that impact the job satisfaction change – job-hopping relationship. A longitudinal dataset comprising data collected over 26 occasions and spanning 35 years of work history for 5,711 salespeople is utilized in the analysis. The hypothesized relationships are tested by estimating several longitudinal growth models. Results of the analysis indicate support for all predicted relationships. A discussion of the results is provided, followed by a discussion of this study’s implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research.
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    The impact of organizational resources and employee gratitude on frontline employee engagement
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2018) Qi, Ji; Baker, Thomas L.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Delivering and understanding the drivers of superior customer service can be a critical differentiator in service provision contexts. To this end, drawing from social exchange theory, this study investigates the antecedents of frontline employee engagement. In line with previous studies, our research identifies three types of organizational resources, motivational resources (perceived job autonomy), relational-contextual resources (perceived relationship investment), and socio-emotional resources (perceived organizational support), and suggests that these resources collectively contribute to employee engagement through the psychological mechanism of employee gratitude. In addition, we also explore the role of supervisory feedback as a moderator that enhances the relationship between employee gratitude and employee engagement.
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    An investigation into the dimensionality of the collaborative economy from a service-dominant logic perspective
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2017) Lindsey Hall, Kristina Kay; Baker, Thomas L.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The overall purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to a better understanding of the collaborative economy (CE). The CE involves direct or mediated peer-to-peer resource exchanges, which can occur with or without compensation, and allows for ownership transfers as well as access to goods, services, and experiences. Regarding the CE, this dissertation has two primary objectives. The first is to develop a conceptual typology for collaborative exchanges with the second being to investigate factors associated with the use and evaluation of one broad marketplace within the CE. This dissertation represents an initial attempt to systematically and theoretically explore various elements of the CE. First, this research is grounded in Service-Dominant Logic, which acts as an overarching framework as it helps to explicate the nature of mutually beneficial resource exchange by multiple actors within socially constructed and contextually relevant service networks that are governed by social and cultural norms called “institutions”. Next, an in-depth literature review informs the dimensionality of the collaborative economy in order to provide a means for classifying, describing, and evaluating the CE across three key dimensions. Next, a conceptual model of consumer motivations for participation in one key area of the CE, that being collaborative consumption (CC), will be developed and tested. CC includes peer-to-peer service provision or resource exchange, for a fee or some compensation, coordinated by a third party or mediator. One well-known example in this domain, Airbnb, connects consumers looking for lodging with individuals who have accommodations available. As much of this research is exploratory in nature, we follow convention in utilizing a mixed-methods approach, first utilizing qualitative research including open-ended qualitative CIT surveys and semi-structured depth interviews, followed by quantitative survey analysis. Results of this dissertation suggest that there are both social and functional drivers of behavioral intentions relative to CC exchanges. As this new or (re)institutionalized economic model challenges our current understanding of service provision, its continual expansion has significant implications for the future of service delivery.
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    If I don’t have it, is it still me?: an exploration into the relationship between access-based consumption and identity
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2017) Tariq, Ayesha; Baker, Thomas L.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    It has been well-recognized in Marketing literature that possessions serve as a visible representation of one’s identity. Similarly, tastes in music, books, and movies are also an outward signal of one’s identity. Both possessions and music taste serve as instruments of self-expression and group affiliation. The relationship between products, consumption, and identity has always been researched with the focus on material objects owned by the consumer. However, recent years have seen a marked change in consumption practices involving both the mode of consumption and the form in which products are consumed. Access-based consumption, or consumption without ownership, is rapidly overtaking purchase as a popular mode of consumption. Additionally, technological developments in the 21st century have led to the existence of books, music, movies, even personal memorabilia, in a digital, dematerialized form. The availability of services provided by firms such as Spotify, Pandora, or Netflix, compounds the issue as they provide content which exists in a digital form and can only be consumed in an access-based format. Set in the context of consumption of access-based music providing services such as Spotify or Pandora, this dissertation serves two main objectives. First, we explore the drivers of consumers’ attitude towards non-ownership/access-based consumption of non-material/digital content by identifying consumer characteristics that lead to a positive attitude towards access-based consumption of digital music. Secondly, we aim to investigate the role of identity forming aspects of such consumption in the relationship between consumers’ characteristics, their attitude towards access-based consumption, and social and market implications of these relationships as evidenced by consumers’ post-purchase reactions towards these services and their intent to continue using these services. Using social identity theory (SIT) as a background, we use both qualitative data and empirical analysis to conduct this research.
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    Three essays on cultural intelligence, innovation, and institutional distance
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2016) Lorenz, Melanie Petra; Franke, George; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    While cultural differences and related formal and informal distances are often described as creating difficulties and complexity, the ability to understand and to adapt to differences or to leverage those for positive outcomes is an important imperative for individuals and firms operating in an international arena. Innovation, the positive outcome in this study, has particularly shown to be vital for success and long-term survivability of organizations. This dissertation investigates both the impact of cultural abilities, and in particular cultural intelligence (CQ), as well as the impact of cultural distance, as part of the larger institutional distance (ID) framework, on innovation on a micro- and macro level of analysis. The first essay is based on a review of the CQ literature and a reanalysis of past studies. Although research on CQ has increased since the introduction of the concept, the measurement has raised theoretical and empirical concerns. Using a meta-analytic process, we reanalyzed past CQ studies in order to make inferences and generalizations of the antecedents and outcomes of cultural intelligence. In the second essay we use the insights gained from Essay 1 regarding the application of the CQ scale and apply it to the context of innovation on a micro-level of analysis. Examining a sample of 220 expatriates in the U.S. we demonstrate the importance of CQ for international opportunity recognition and innovation. Specifically, we find that expatriates high in metacognitive CQ are better able to recognize international opportunities and to exploit marketable innovations. Finally, in the third essay we turn away from micro-level drivers of innovation to examine the determinants of innovation on a macro-level. Hereby, we reconcile controversial findings from the ID and diversity literature and suggest that sometimes, ID (composed of formal and informal distances) may positively affect innovation. The findings from the analysis of 371 offshoring implementations provide empirical support for the positive effect of certain formal and informal distances on innovation. Taken together, the dissertation demonstrates the importance of possessing cross-cultural skills and the ability of appraising differences for micro- and macro level innovativeness while offering suggestions for future research and applications.
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    Social capital influences on sales team processes: a generational perspective
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2016) Ogilvie, Jessica Lynn; Rapp, Adam A.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This dissertation explores the impact of organizational faultlines and their influence on sales team resources, activities, processes, and performance. A review of extant team literature builds a foundation for understanding the role of sales teams within organizations and the implications of team processes on performance outcomes. Characteristics of the generation currently entering the workforce – Millennials – and the diversity implications of this cohort’s presence in the workplace are explored. Applying a social capital perspective, this research advances an input-process-outcome (IPO) model of sales team performance which investigates the implications of (1) faultlines within teams and (2) the effects of generational differences across teams. Specifically, three dimensions of social capital (structural, relational and cognitive) serve as to three facets of team processes (transition, action, and interpersonal). The results indicate that positive relationships exist between each of the input and process components, as well as between the three dimensions of team process and relational and objective measures of sales performance. Finally, faultline strength and generation differences moderate the relationships of the IPO model. These findings suggest that sales team performance is a function not only to the management of the team and its individual components, but to the hypothetical self-identifying groups that form therein, therefore requiring additional attention from the organization and its stakeholders. This work extends application of a social capital theoretical lens to the sales team context, and sets the stage for future work as millennials assume organizational control, and seek to build better relationships with both inter-organizational partners and external buying centers.
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    Antecedents of the adoption of new consumer packaged goods
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2015) Kim, Kyoungmi; Allaway, Arthur Warren; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Consumer response to a new product is critical to the product’s success, but understanding of customers’ new product adoption is still limited. Most research has focused only on the first trial purchase and ignored repeat purchases. This study investigates the adoption process as a sequence of purchases and examines how behavioral and marketing antecedents have a different influence on each phase. Marketing-mix variables (e.g., marketing communication, price promotion, and assortment) and consumers’ past behavioral responses (e.g., innovativeness, variety-seeking, and loyalty to the firm’s brands) are proposed as potential antecedents of new product trial purchase timing, repeat purchase timing, and dollar amount of monthly repeat purchase over the twelve months after the trial month. Panel data for sixteen new products from six food categories obtained from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) are utilized in this study. To test the relationships among the behavioral and marketing antecedents and the three outcome variables, two types of econometric models are utilized: a discrete-time hazard model is used for trial and repeat purchase timing and a Type I Tobit model is used for repeat purchase amount in dollars. The results are also discussed.
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    Awareness and action: implications and dimensions of salesperson emotional intelligence
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2015) Johnson, Catherine M.; Rapp, Adam A.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Recently, sales literature has begun to recognize that emotional intelligence (EI), which is a distinct form of intelligence entailing the perception, understanding, facilitation, and management of emotions, is a salesperson characteristic that has the potential to substantively impact interpersonal success and, ultimately, performance. This research explores specific outcomes and boundary conditions of EI in a sales context with a field study including a salesperson sample. Further, it stands to contribute to the considerable debate surrounding emotional intelligence by first empirically comparing competing conceptualizations in the same sample. Second, this research proposes and provides empirical support for a new conceptualization of emotional intelligence as consisting of cognitive and behavioral components which are not only distinct from each other but also are progressive in nature. Finally, moderators are found which impact a salesperson’s ability to translate cognitive EI into behavioral EI.
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    Supply chain transparency: an overlooked critical element of supply chain management
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2015) Morgan, Tyler Roy; Richey, Robert Glenn; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Supply chain information has become increasingly accessible to a variety of stakeholders as technology adoption has expanded around the globe. With improved supply chain related information availability and growing interest in tracking products from cradle to grave, the idea of product provenance has been of rising interest to firms in positions all along the supply chain. Industry practices that may have previously gone unreported in developing parts of the world are no longer safe from scrutiny. Thus, it is of critical importance that firms develop transparency regarding resource usage and the sourcing of suppliers. This research looks to develop the construct of transparency as a way to explore the growing importance of product provenance. This dissertation is broken into two publishable essays. In the first essay, we define supply chain transparency and relate it to other strategic supply chain concepts such as visibility and traceability. The definition that is developed describes supply chain transparency as reporting to and communicating with key stakeholders to provide traceability regarding the history of the product and visibility about current activities throughout the supply chain while also incorporating stakeholder feedback for supply chain improvement. A scale refinement is then conducted to further delineate transparency in the context of the supply chain. The second essay examines the nomological network surrounding supply chain transparency through an empirical investigation of antecedents and outcomes. The relationships explored in this essay further establish the validity of the supply chain transparency scale and provide insightful opportunities for future research. As a dissertation, this document achieves three objectives. First, the importance of transparency is established as an emerging part of supply chain management. Second, a scale refinement provides a measurement tool for supply chain transparency. Third, suggestions for future research are made in an effort to foster further exploration of this growing area of supply chain management.
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    Applying network theory to the technology to performance profit chain: a social media application
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2014) Andzulis, James Mitchell; Rapp, Adam A.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    It is beyond question that social media has altered the day-to-day lives of individuals in their social interactions. However, less is known about the quantifiable impact of social media on business, especially in the sales domain. As sales has progressed from a transactional, to relational, to co-creation of value endeavor, marked by substantial engagement between customer and salesperson, technology has been a regular facilitator of change, enabling information collection, use and transfer in ways once thought unimaginable. In a similar way, the use of social media technology has that same potential, as the gap between buyer and seller closes around an increasingly important salesperson or boundary spanner, with access to information and the customer like never before. However, little is known about the strategic outcomes and facilitating conditions of such social media technology usage. This research advances deeper understanding by exploring the role of salesperson social media technology usage as an antecedent to three increasingly important strategic outcomes in the sales domain. Using social exchange theory as its primary foundation, this dissertation explores the links between frequency and intensity of social media technology usage and 1) competitive intelligence, 2) communication reciprocity, and 3) value co-creation, finding positive support for each of the three hypothesized primary linear relationships in the conceptual framework. Through network theory, this work also investigates the moderating impact of important salesperson network characteristics, including size, density, heterogeneity, and quality in an effort to identify which organizations and salespeople, specifically, are most likely to benefit from such technology investment and use. Findings support two of the moderating hypotheses, demonstrating that the size of the salesperson's network has a detrimental impact on both communication reciprocity, and value co-creation perhaps as the relationship with each and every individual customer begins to suffer at the expense of servicing the mass. Results also suggest fertile ground for future work potentially exploring the impact of three additional moderating relationships found on the cusp of partial support.
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    Relational governance forms and firm performance: the role of unilateral and collaborative capabilities
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2012) Adams, Frank G.; Richey, Robert Glenn; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Firms in today's market environment compete as members of business-to-business relationship networks more commonly than as vertically integrated stand-alone entities. The core structure of those networks are the relational governance contracts between firms, which may be explicit (detailed), normative (informal), or a hybrid of both. The theories of how and why firms engage in such collective competition include transaction costs economics, and the resource-based view of the firm. While there are stark distinctions between these views, there are also commonalities. By deconstructing relational governance and supply chain management literature, this research proposes a broader view of the capabilities and structures that firms leverage to compete collectively, identifying a series of unilateral capabilities (internal to each firm), collaborative capabilities (derived from interactions between partnering firms), and relational contextual factors (imposed by the markets partner firms compete in and the characteristics of each relationship). Employing qualitative interviews and structural equation modeling to analyze firms involved in business-to-business relationships, this research finds that unilateral capabilities, collaborative capabilities, and relational contextual factors jointly shape value outcomes that firms experience as a result of business-to-business relationships. Futher, the effect of such capabilities and contextual factors is influenced by the tendency of firms to employ more explicit or more normative relational governance contracts. This research offers another step in integrating the transaction cost and resource-based theories, proposes a new way for scholars to examine the capabilities by which business relationships are built and managed, and provides practitioners means of examining how effectively their practices fit with their capabilities in managing inter-organizational relationships.
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    Why did that happen: understanding the impact of witnessing employee-customer directed helping behavior
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2014) Northington, William Magnus; Beatty, Sharon E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The involvement of other customers in a retail store or service setting has always been a unique component of the service experience. Interestingly, a missing component of the literature is an understanding of how the service experience changes for the customer who witnesses an encounter between another customer and an employee of the retail store or service establishment, particularly with regards to positive service encounters that are witnessed. In this dissertation, understanding these customer bystanders, those customers who witness an external event in which they are not the primary actor, was an important step in understanding the true ramifications of a service encounter or a service strategy on customers. In order to better understand how witnessed external events influence customer bystanders, two studies were conducted. The first study used a critical incident technique survey to explore the types of employee-customer interactions customer bystanders witness. The results of study one indicated that employee customer-directed helping behavior was the major positive witnessed type of event and serves as the primary focal employee-customer interaction for this dissertation. The second study in this dissertation, a scenario-based experimental survey, examined the evaluative judgments, emotions, and behavioral intentions of customer bystanders when witnessing an employee engaged in helping another customer when this action has no direct impact on the customer bystander his or herself. The employee customer-directed helping behavior was evaluated through customer bystanders' perceived views of the effort given by an employee in helping the other customer. The findings from study two provide firms with insights into the potential pros and cons of employee helping behavior and the impact of the overall service environment on customer bystanders by showing that customer bystanders are influenced by witnessed perceived employee effort. Theoretically, the findings provide researchers with information about the psychological evaluations, emotional reactions, and behavioral intentions of customer bystanders to witnessing different employee effort levels with regards to helping other customers, and the findings extend understanding of the impact of the overall service or retail environment on evaluations by customers.
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    Performance benefits of being a great firm to work for: an investigation from the employee perspective
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2014) Butler, Timothy David; Ellinger, Alexander E.; Armstrong, Craig E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Increased competitive pressure for speed and innovation, global commoditization, and competition for talented workers has provided firms with greater incentives to assess and improve their human resource strategies with respect to attracting, motivating, and retaining employees. Consequently, many firms want to be perceived by employees as a great firm to work for. However, becoming perceived by employees as a great firm to work for requires a significant resource commitment. If firms are going to make this resource commitment, a relationship between being perceived by employees as a great firm to work for and firm performance should be clearly established. Extant academic studies about being a great firm to work for are generally approached from the managerial perspective. Studies that investigate being a great firm to work for from the employee perspective are more scarce. In order to develop a better understanding of the potential performance benefits of being perceived by employees as a great firm to work for, this study compares the performance of great firms to work for (as determined by employees) to their respective industry averages. Further, potential contextual factors that affect the strength of the relationship between being perceived by employees as a great firm to work for and firm performance are examined in order to identify the situations where devoting resources to being perceived by employees as a great firm to work for is more beneficial. Results support the existence of a relationship between being perceived by employees as a great firm to work for and several firm performance outcomes. In addition, some support for the moderating roles of contextual factors is found.
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    CSR and facets of value creation: the role of key moderators
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2013) Alhouti, Sarah; D'Souza, Giles; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The value corporate social responsibility (CSR) creates for consumers still remains unexplored although its importance has been demonstrated in several contexts including pricing (Chang and Wildt 1994), retailing (Baker, Parasuraman, Grewal, and Voss 2002), and across cultures (Xiao and Kim 2009). Monroe (2003) argues that consumers would be willing to pay a higher price when they perceive a substantial value associated with making a purchase. In order to resolve many of the inconsistent findings in the CSR literature, such as the inconsistencies of CSR's ability to influence attitude (Sen, Bhattacharya, and Korschun 2006; Webb and Mohr 1998) and purchase intent (Mohr and Webb 2005; Trudel and Cotte 2009), it is necessary to explore which facets of perceived value consumers derive from CSR. However, without knowing what type of perceived value consumers gain from CSR, researchers and managers lack the information they need to understand why consumers are willing (or not willing) to pay a higher price in the context of CSR. The value created by CSR depends on the type of CSR activity that the company engages in (Peloza and Shang 2011). This study utilized cause-related marketing (CrM) as a type of CSR and proposed that it will influence consumers' values. Specifically, the value consumers derive from CrM will be moderated by perceptual and attitudinal factors. The perceptual factors examined in this study include the company's reputation, the authenticity of the CSR action, and the consumer's perceived personal role. The attitudinal factors included in the study are cynicism, moral disengagement, and consumer alienation. Two experiments were conducted, and the results show that an authentic CSR image accompanied with CrM influences consumers' esteem and spiritual values. This study also finds that consumer values of esteem and spirituality create favorable consumer responses. Finally, the consumer's perception that he or she has a personal role in impacting a cause enhances the value derived from CrM.
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    An examination of proactive relationship approach with retail customers
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2013) Shin, Hyunju; Ellinger, Alexander E.; Mothersbaugh, David L.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In the current era of intense competition, retailers are increasingly leveraging relationship marketing to attract, retain, and strengthen relationships with customers. Better understanding of the influence and efficacy of relationship investment strategies has therefore become critical to both marketers and retailers. While there are multiple studies of firms' interactions with customers, most of this research is on firms' reactions in retail contexts with relatively few studies evaluating the potential benefits of proactively interacting with customers. This study examines the age-old issue of whether it is better to "get to customers before they get to you" by assessing the relative efficacy of proactive and reactive relationship approaches in retail settings. Reciprocal reaction theory serves as the foundation for the dissertation that proactive interaction more favorably influences customers' emotions and behavioral intentions toward the firm than reactive interactions. Given that a proactive relationship approach may not be an optimal strategy in every situation, firm and customer-related moderators that may influence the effectiveness of proactive relationship approach are also assessed. The study hypotheses are tested with data from two scenario-based experiments. The study findings are expected to extend the relationship investment strategy literature and provide actionable guidance for retail organizations about effectively conducting interactions with customers.
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    Two essays on environmental orientation
    (University of Alabama Libraries, 2013) Gabler, Colin Bauer; Rapp, Adam A.; Richey, Robert Glenn; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Green marketing has become ubiquitous. Generating profits through green marketing, however, has not. While firms continue to adopt environmental practices, they struggle to gain a competitive advantage through these endeavors. While scholars search for underlying theories and motivational factors to explain and change this behavior, managers simply want tangible solutions that improve performance and provide a return on their green investments. Environmental orientation may shed light onto this discrepancy by assessing a firm's ability to provide an authentic, unified image of environmental commitment. This research investigates the construct from both the manager and salesperson perspective. In the first essay, I use the resource-based view and dynamic capabilities literature to construct an eco-capability that leverages the firm's human, business, and technology resources. Using a panel of 246 managers from 14 industries, I estimate a Latent Moderated Structural (LMS) model that provides support for the eco-capability components. I find a positive interaction effect between a firm's environmental orientation and organizational innovativeness on the formation of the eco-capability. This new construct is significantly related to both market and financial performance as well as the perceptions of quality associated with the firm's offering. In the second essay, I measure environmental orientation from the salesperson's point of view. I again implement LMS on a panel of 224 salespeople across nine industries to examine the effects that this firm-level orientation has on individual-level behaviors. Using an Input-Process-Output framework and social identity theory, I demonstrate the importance of a strategic alignment of values in optimizing performance and satisfaction. Specifically, I find that salespeople who work for environmentally-oriented firms put forth more effort and provide more feedback to managers when they identify with the organization. This increased effort and participation has a positive influence on sales performance. Further, salespeople with strong personal environmental identities are also more likely to provide feedback via participation, which ultimately contributes to their job satisfaction. Taken together, the dissertation demonstrates the importance of environmental orientation and its role in sustainable business from both a managerial and salesperson perspective while offering suggestions for future research and applications.