New Featured Research

Bio photo of Dwayne Gremler

Dwayne D. Gremler, Ph.D.

  • Position: Professor

Garnefeld, I., Krah, T., Böhm, E., & Gremler, D. D. (2021). Online reviews generated through product testing: can more favorable reviews be enticed with free products? Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 49(4), 703–722.

Online reviews have profound impacts on firm success in terms of sales volume and how much customers are willing to pay, yet firms remain highly dependent on customers’ voluntary contributions. A popular way to increase the number of online reviews is to use product testing programs, which offer participants free products in exchange for writing reviews. Firms that employ this practice generally hope to increase review quality and secure higher product rating scores. However, a qualitative study, experimental study, and multilevel analysis of a field study dataset of more than 200,000 online reviews by product testers combine to reveal that product testing programs do not necessarily generate higher quality reviews, nor better product ratings. Only in certain circumstances (e.g., higher priced products) does offering a product testing program generate these benefits for the firm. Therefore, companies should consider carefully if, and when, they want to offer product testing programs.

When designing product testing programs, companies might seek three distinct goals: increase the number of reviews (volume), increase product ratings, or increase review quality. This study offers guidelines for how managers can leverage product testing programs to achieve their specific goals. Regardless of their primary goal, companies should recognize that the effects of product testing programs on reviewing behavior are complex and context-dependent and thus calculate the returns of the program for their specific products. A product testing program could enhance sales by increasing the number of reviews; in certain circumstances, the program can increase product ratings and the quality of online reviews too, which heighten purchase intentions and willingness to pay. However, product testing programs also have substantial costs; the manufacturer provides the test products for free and also might pay fees to a retailer or agency that manages the program.

Maggie Brooks, Ph.D.

  • Position: Associate Professor

Wang, Y., Highhouse, S., & Brooks, M. (2022). Culture versus other sources of variance in risk and benefit perceptions: A comparison of Japan and the United States. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making35(5).

Understanding people’s perceptions of the risks and benefits of risky activities is important for communicating and mitigating individual and societal risks. This study investigated risk and benefit perceptions in two archival datasets – one with participants from the United States and one with participants from Japan. US and Japanese participants rated the risks and benefits of 40 activities in five different risk domains (ethical, social, recreational, gambling, investment, and health/safety). We were interested in variability in risk and benefit perceptions between cultures, across people within a culture, and across risk domains. Overall, we found that although culture explained significant variance in risk and benefit perceptions, differences across raters within culture generally explained more variance. In other words, differences within culture were greater than differences between cultures (i.e., there was more consensus across the US and Japanese groups than there was within each group).

This suggests that although cultural differences are important, focusing on group differences to the exclusion of individual differences within groups may lead to formation of broad policies or approaches that are not widely applicable to the population of interest. In important areas such as gambling and investment, for example, generalities based on culture may result in underestimating the need for targeted messaging to at-risk subgroups about the risks and benefits of activities with important financial and life implications. When it comes to financial matters, therefore, a "one size fits all" message may not be particularly effective.

Bio Photo of Truit Gray

Truit Gray, Ph.D.

  • Position: Assistant Professor

Greenbaum, R. L., Gray, T. W., Hill, A., Lima, M., Royce, S., & Smales, A. Employee emotional and behavioral reactions as moderated by bottom-line mentality and trait competitiveness. Journal of Management,

We advance research on narcissism in the workplace by examining the effects of coworker narcissistic rivalry on focal employee emotional states and behavioral intentions. We rely on social function of emotions theory to explain why coworker narcissistic rivalry results in focal employee negative emotions. We then explain that the focal employee is likely to handle their negative emotions arising from coworker narcissistic rivalry differently depending on individual differences of bottom-line mentality, which captures a defensive competitive posture, or trait competitiveness, which captures an offensive competitive posture. Across three studies, our results generally support our predictions by revealing that the indirect effect of coworker narcissistic rivalry onto focal employees’ social undermining of that coworker (through focal employee negative emotions) is more strongly positive when the focal employee is higher in bottom-line mentality, whereas the indirect effect of coworker narcissistic rivalry onto focal employee intended work goal progress relative to the coworker (through focal employee negative emotions) is more strongly positive when the focal employee’s trait competitiveness is lower.

Managers should know that negative emotions in the workplace arising from working with a narcissistic coworker can propel both higher motivation and social undermining. In this respect, training could focus on functional ways to handle negative emotions. For example, these emotions could be met with mindfulness techniques that allow employees to more effectively recognize that negative emotions indicate a need for action, but such action could include functional behaviors and does not need to entail social undermining. More broadly, our hope is that this work encourages practitioners to consider functional ways of addressing the challenges that may be posed by difficult coworkers.

Updated: 03/06/2023 03:52PM