Matching Items (321)
This thesis develops a low-investment marketing strategy that allows low-to-mid level farmers extend their commercialization reach by strategically sending containers of fresh produce items to secondary markets that present temporary arbitrage opportunities. The methodology aims at identifying time windows of opportunity in which the price differential between two markets create an arbitrage opportunity for a transaction; a transaction involves buying a fresh produce item at a base market, and then shipping and selling it at secondary market price. A decision-making tool is developed that gauges the individual arbitrage opportunities and determines the specific price differential (or threshold level) that is most beneficial to the farmer under particular market conditions. For this purpose, two approaches are developed; a pragmatic approach that uses historic price information of the products in order to find the optimal price differential that maximizes earnings, and a theoretical one, which optimizes an expected profit model of the shipments to identify this optimal threshold. This thesis also develops risk management strategies that further reduce profit variability during a particular two-market transaction. In this case, financial engineering concepts are used to determine a shipment configuration strategy that minimizes the overall variability of the profits. For this, a Markowitz model is developed to determine the weight assignation of each component for a particular shipment. Based on the results of the analysis, it is deemed possible to formulate a shipment policy that not only increases the farmer's commercialization reach, but also produces profitable operations. In general, the observed rates of return under a pragmatic and theoretical approach hovered between 0.072 and 0.616 within important two-market structures. Secondly, it is demonstrated that the level of return and risk can be manipulated by varying the strictness of the shipping policy to meet the overall objectives of the decision-maker. Finally, it was found that one can minimize the risk of a particular two-market transaction by strategically grouping the product shipments.
Industrial design is the practice of creating solutions by studying people and businesses. Originally centered on development of goods, industrial design uses methods rooted in human behavioral study, human factors, and strategic problem solving. As our economy and professional practice shift away from manufacturing towards a service-dominant landscape, industrial design must align its profession to formally include service design. The small service business setting is a microcosm in which the value of design and branding in business is magnified. This research reinforces design's ties with services marketing and business and is dedicated to finding solutions for the backbone of our economy. Micro-businesses with fewer than 20 employees often lack the sophisticated management, marketing, and strategies that bring about success. Despite the fact that 70% to 80% of small and micro businesses are service based, little research is dedicated to unique strategies for these small service firms. Research has shown that using strategic business design increases small business success. Given high small business failure rates, it behooves entrepreneurs to use intuitive planning tools that are appropriate for the dynamic startup years. When put within reach and context of small business owners, the tools used in design draw a clear map of insights into the "design" of small businesses. Through a literature review, interviews, and a new workshop method, the needs of small business owners and the challenges they face are used to design and implement an accessible, actionable strategic toolkit for small service businesses. This simple, interdisciplinary toolkit was designed with the goal of increasing the efficacy and likelihood of ongoing strategic business planning through context-specific, instrumental activities. The tools are shown to help a business owner form pragmatic, iterative problem-solving approaches that allow the business owner to plan in the face of uncertainty and find insights into her own business, brand, and services.
Unrestricted Mexican exports of sugar into the U.S. is considered the most pressing issue facing the U.S. sugar industry. The goal of this dissertation is to analyze the trade of sugar between Mexico and the U.S. as well as analyze additional primary issues confronting the U.S. sugar industry. Chapters 1 and 2 provide an introduction to the U.S. sugar industry. Chapters 3 through 6 develop trade models which analyze sugar trade between Mexico and the U.S. The trade models estimate how NAFTA, USDA sugar forecast errors and Mexican ownership of twenty percent of the Mexican sugar industry each impact U.S. producer surplus and Mexican welfare. Results validate that U.S. producer surplus and in some instances Mexican welfare were decreased by full implementation of NAFTA. U.S. producer surplus and Mexican welfare were decreased due to USDA sugar production forecasting errors. U.S. producer surplus would be increased if the Mexican government did not own twenty percent of Mexican sugar production. Using an online choice experiment, Chapter 7 assesses U.S. consumers' preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for imported and genetically modified (GM) labeled sugar and sugar in soft drinks. Results indicate that consumers prefer bags of sugar and soft drinks labeled as "Not GM". Furthermore, consumers prefer sugar from Canada and the U.S. over sugar from Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines. Evidence is also provided that participants are more likely to choose actual products in the choice set rather than the "none of these" options when controlling for hypothetical bias by using consequentiality techniques. A non-hypothetical experimental auction was used in Chapter 8 to determine consumers' WTP for soft drinks labeled with sweetener and calorie information and analyzed the role of taste panels in an experimental auction. Results indicate that sugar is consumers' most preferred sweetener and calorie labeling is ineffective at influencing consumers to choose healthier soft drinks. Including taste in an experimental auction caused significant reductions in consumers' WTP for all soft drinks. Chapter 9 concludes by summarizing the results of this dissertation and discussing the future challenges facing the U.S. sugar industry.
Identifying factors associated with service infusion success has become an important issue in theory and practice, as manufacturers turn to services to advance performance. The goals of this dissertation are to identify the key factors associated with service infusion success and develop an integrative framework and associated research propositions to isolate the underlying determinants of successful hybrid solution strategies for business customers. This dissertation is comprised of two phases. The first phase taps into the experience and learning gained by executives from Fortune-100 manufacturing firms who are managing the transition from goods to hybrid offerings for their customers. A discovery-oriented, theory-in-use approach is adopted to glean insights concerning the factors that facilitate and hinder those service transition strategies. Twenty-eight interviews were conducted with key executives, transcripts were analyzed and key themes were identified with special attention directed to the particular capabilities that managers consider crucial for successful service-growth strategies. One such capability centers on the ability of a firm to successfully transfer newly-developed hybrid solutions from one customer engagement to another. Building on this foundation, phase two involves a case study that provides an in-depth examination of the hybrid offering replication process in a business-to-business firm attempting to replicate four strategic hybrid offerings. Emergent themes, based on 13 manager interviews, reveal factors that promote or impede successful hybrid offering transfer. Among the factors that underlie successful hybrid offering transfers across customer engagements are close customer relationships, a clear value proposition embraced by organizational numbers, an accurate forecast of market potential, and collaborative working relationships across units. The findings from the field studies provided a catalyst for a deeper examination of existing literature and formed the building blocks for the conceptual model and several key research propositions related to the successful transfer of hybrid offerings. The model isolates five sets of factors that influence the hybrid offering transfer process, including the characteristics of (1) the source project team, (2) the seeking project team, (3) the hybrid offering, (4) the relationship exchange, and (5) the customer. The conceptualization isolates the critical role that the customer assumes in service infusion strategy implementation.
When consumers make experiential purchases, they often have to decide between experiences that contain many or few features. Contrary to prior research demonstrating that consumers prefer feature-rich products before consumption but feature-poor products after consumption, the author reveals a reversal of this effect for experiences. Specifically, the author hypothesizes and finds that consumers prefer feature-poor experiences before consumption (a phenomenon denoted as `feature apprehension') but prefer feature-rich experiences after consumption. This feature apprehension occurs before consumption because consumers are concerned with the uncertainty associated with attaining a satisfying outcome from the experience. Manipulating the temporal distance with which consumers view the experience can attenuate this effect. Additionally, locus of control and social signaling moderate consumers' post-consumption preference for feature-rich experiences. The author proposes several recommendations for consumers and providers of experiences.
When consumers fail in their environmental, dieting, or budgeting goals, they may engage in a consumer confession about their goal-inconsistent behavior. This dissertation seeks to understand how confessions about consumer goal transgressions affect subsequent consumer motivation and behaviors. Results from a series of five experiments reveal that after reflecting about a past transgression, Catholics who confess (vs. do not confess) about the focal transgression are more motivated to engage in subsequent goal-consistent consumer behaviors. However, results reveal no such effects for Non-Catholics; Non-Catholics are equally motivated to engage in goal-consistent consumer behaviors regardless of whether or not they confessed. Catholics and Non-Catholics differ on the extent to which they believe that acts of penance are required to make amends and achieve forgiveness after confession. For Catholics, confessing motivates restorative, penance-like behaviors even in the consumer domain. Thus, when Catholics achieve forgiveness through the act of confession itself (vs. a traditional confession requiring penance), they reduce their need to engage in restorative consumer behaviors. Importantly, results find that confession (vs. reflecting only) does not provide a general self-regulatory boost to all participants, but rather that confession is motivating only for Catholics due to their beliefs about penance. Together, results suggest that for consumers with strong penance beliefs, confession can be an effective strategy for getting back on track with their consumption goals.
It is well understood that decisions made under uncertainty differ from those made without risk in important and significant ways. Yet, there is very little research into how uncertainty manifests itself in the most ubiquitous of decision-making environments: Consumers' day-to-day decisions over where to shop, and what to buy for their daily grocery needs. Facing a choice between stores that either offer relatively stable "everyday low prices" (EDLP) or variable prices that reflect aggressive promotion strategies (HILO), consumers have to choose stores under price-uncertainty. I find that consumers' attitudes toward risk are critically important in determining store-choice, and that heterogeneity in risk attitudes explains the co-existence of EDLP and HILO stores - an equilibrium that was previously explained in somewhat unsatisfying ways. After choosing a store, consumers face another source of risk. While knowing the quality or taste of established brands, consumers have very little information about new products. Consequently, consumers tend to choose smaller package sizes for new products, which limits their exposure to the risk that the product does not meet their prior expectations. While the observation that consumers purchase small amounts of new products is not new, I show how this practice is fully consistent with optimal purchase decision-making by utility-maximizing consumers. I then use this insight to explain how manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) respond to higher production costs. Because consumers base their purchase decisions in part on package size, manufacturers can use package size as a competitive tool in order to raise margins in the face of higher production costs. While others have argued that manufacturers reduce package sizes as a means of raising unit-prices (prices per unit of volume) in a hidden way, I show that the more important effect is a competitive one: Changes in package size can soften price competition, so manufacturers need not rely on fooling consumers in order to pass-through cost increases through changes in package size. The broader implications of consumer behavior under risk are dramatic. First, risk perceptions affect consumers' store choice and product choice patterns in ways that can be exploited by both retailers and manufacturers. Second, strategic considerations prevent manufacturers from manipulating package size in ways that seem designed to trick consumers. Third, many services are also offered as packages, and also involve uncertainty, so the effects identified here are likely to be pervasive throughout the consumer economy.
Private labels command a growing share of food retailers' shelf space. In this dissertation, I explain this phenomenon as resulting from "umbrella branding," or the ability of a single brand to reach across categories. Conceptually, I define umbrella branding as a behavioral attribute that describes a shopper's tendency to ascribe a performance bond to a brand, or to associate certain performance characteristics to a private label brand, across multiple categories. In the second chapter, I describe the performance bond theory in detail, and then test this theory using scanner data in the chapter that follows. Because secondary data has limitations for testing behavioral theories, however, I test the performance bond theory of umbrella branding using a laboratory experiment in the fourth chapter. In this chapter, I find that households tend to transfer their perception of private label performance across categories, or that a manifestation of umbrella branding behavior can indeed explain private labels' success. In the fifth chapter, I extend this theory to compare umbrella branding in international markets, and find that performance transference takes its roots in consumers' cultural backgrounds. Taken together, my results suggest that umbrella branding is an important behavioral mechanism, and one that can be further exploited by retailers across any consumer good category with strong credence attributes.
Branding and brand management have been top management priorities in the hotel industry. Some researchers have concluded that strong branding would be an efficient way for hotels and hotel chains to differentiate themselves from each other. Recent studies have focused on the establishment of a brand equity model and the relevant causal relationships of the model. Most of these studies have used types of desirability scales examining the importance of individual factors in measuring brand equity. However, they ignore the trade-offs that affect and characterize choice. Particularly, the personal decision process implied by the hierarchical brand equity model is absent. This study proposed two alternative measures of brand equity, analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and conjoint analysis (CA), to address these limitations. The AHP and the CA were compared using several validity measures to aid in selecting efficient methods. This study examined the validity of AHP and CA under two data collection methods applied to hotel branding: paper-based survey and online survey. Result showed that the AHP data collection methods were easier, as well as with respect to saving time and costs. Results also indicated that the AHP is equivalent to the CA with respect to predictive accuracy. Practical differences for hotel branding in attribute preferences were clearly observed between the AHP and the CA. The AHP results were consistent with previous studies by awarding high importance to perceived quality and brand loyalty and lower importance to brand awareness and brand image. Managerial implications were provided for results. In terms of practicality in data collection, the study results revealed that the data gathered online leads to a slightly lower internal and predictive validity. A limitation of this study was that the two methods were not perfectly comparable. Nevertheless, the validity of both AHP and CA seems satisfactory for both methods. The study results also offer useful perspectives to consider when choosing between the two methods, as well as between AHP and CA.
Entering a new market in the construction industry is a complex task. Although many contractors have experienced the benefits of expanding their market offerings, many more have had unsuccessful experiences causing hardship for the entire organization. Standardized decision-making processes can help to increase the likelihood of success, but few specialty contractors have taken the time to develop a formal procedure. According to this research, only 6 percent of survey respondents and 7 percent of case study participants from the sheet metal industry have a formal decision process. Five sources of data (existing literature, industry survey, semi-structured interviews, factor prioritization workshops, and expert panel discussions) are consulted to understand the current market entry decision-making practices and needs of the sheet metal industry. The data help to accomplish three study objectives: (1) determine the current processes and best practices used for market entry decision-making in the sheet metal industry, (2) identify motivations leading to market entry by sheet metal contractors, and (3) develop a standardized decision process that improves market entry decision outcomes. Grounded in a firm understanding of industry practices, a three-phased decision-making framework is created to provide a structured approach to guide contractors to an informed decision. Four industry leaders with over 175 years of experience in construction reviewed and applied every step of the framework to ensure it is practical and easy to use for contractors.