A look back at some of the research highlights from Cass Business School in 2019.

By Hamish Armstrong(Senior Communications Officer), Published (Updated )

Crowdsourcing is about quality rather than quantity

Research from Dr Oguz A. Acar, senior lecturer in Marketing, showed that those who participate in crowdsourcing challenges because they enjoy it or because there is an offer of reward also submit the most appropriate solutions.

A survey, which analysed responses from more than 645 users of the global crowdsourcing platform InnoCentive, was designed to identify the motivation behind submitting solutions. Responses were then cross-referenced with the appropriateness of the ideas they provided using archival information from the platform.

Casting the net too wide, as Dr Acar illustrated with the example of the BP oil spill recovery project in 2010, can yield many who want to help by sharing possibly unsuitable ideas rather than designing a campaign to attract people with more specific motivations.

Dr Acar’s research, titled Motivations and solution appropriateness in crowdsourcing challenges for innovation was published in ScienceDirect.

Downsizing incentives would ease the housing crisis

Professor of Statistics Les Mayhew produced a report that showed the need to focus policy on ‘last-time buyers’ over the age of 55 rather than younger first-time buyers.

Professor Mayhew’s study, titled ‘The Last-Time Buyer: housing and finance for an ageing society’ suggests that the UK is not short of housing, but short of the right sort of housing – with older people confined to homes that no longer cater to their needs and a lack of affordable alternatives of suitable quality and size.

Among Professor Mayhew’s recommendations is for the government to build suitable properties for people to downsize into while creating more social housing for younger families. The report also suggests that care costs could be covered by housing equity and provide the peace of mind that could assist with inheritance planning for the elderly.

London to remain as central economic hub after Brexit

A report co-authored by Professor Barbara Casu Lukac at the Centre for Banking Research at Cass showed that although London may well sacrifice elements of competitive advantage to Paris and Frankfurt after Brexit, it will still remain an attractive City to operate in.

The report cites several reasons behind this, including its time zone, joint status with New York as the dominant FX and interest rates trading hub, the strength of local law and regulation, and the superior global reputation of UK universities’ teaching in business and finance.

Lending market more active than property investors in 2018

The Cass Business School UK Commercial Real Estate Lending Report, authored by Senior Research Fellow Dr Nicole Lux, showed that new lending for 2018 was 12 per cent ahead of volumes reached a year earlier, at £49.6bn.

Dr Lux explained this increase as debt typically lagging by one year, with 2017 being a particularly strong year for property transactions.

No ‘quick fix’ available for effective risk management in organisations

A report for the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) co-authored by Dr Cormac Bryce, senior lecturer at Cass along with academics from Vlerick Business School and Glasgow Caledonian University uncovered best practices to overcome risk management difficulties, creating what it referred to as a ‘risk gearbox’.

Key recommendations from the report highlighted that effective risk management required complementary formal and informal mechanisms to achieve strategic objectives, and the importance of communication between business units and functions, as well as communication both to and from the risk management function and internal audit function.

Read the report, Risk and performance: Embedding risk management.

Sex sells: how masculinity is used as currency to buy sperm donors’ time

Research co-authored by Cass Business School lecturer Dr Laetitia Mimoun, titled ‘Soldiers and Superheroes Needed! Masculine Archetypes and Constrained Bodily Commodification in the Sperm Donation Market’, analysed marketing strategies used by sperm banks in the United Kingdom and Australia and found they rely on the creation of masculine archetypes to create value for donors.

Despite being part of a highly lucrative industry (worth upwards of $3.5bn and rising), sperm banks in the UK and Australia are disadvantaged because they cannot pay donors or provide anonymity, and have consequently been experiencing sperm shortages.

To overcome regulatory constraints and increase donor numbers sperm banks have begun to market the act of donating sperm as a confirmation of masculinity, creating an image of masculinity and heroism to attract males to donate. Examples given were campaign posters showing athletically built men in swimming trunks or underpants, but also videos depicting men cooking barbecues or handing out roses to women.

The research was published in Marketing Theory.

Successful merger & acquisition deals contribute to firms’ environmental performance

The Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Research Centre released a study that found that a firm’s environmental performance improves after a successful M&A deal, which in turn generates a positive outcome for wider society.

Green Business: The Environmental Impact of M&A examined the environmental impact of firms involved in acquisition deals. The report found that on average, acquirers exhibit higher environmental standards than targets and generally show an improvement in their performance in the post-deal period compared to their respective pre-deal standard. It also showed that a strong post-deal financial performance positively contributes to environmental commitment.

The report was co-authored by Professor Scott Moeller and Dr Zhenyi Huang.

Battery icons shape perceptions of time and space and define user identities

Research from Dr Thomas Robinson found that the battery icons on mobile phones shape our perceptions of time and space, and how battery conservation practices define user identities.

Portable technology and multi-domain energy practices, published in Marketing Theory, studied London commuters and found that respondents viewed their journey time in terms of the distance between charging points. It also showed that people’s mood can be dictated by the charge percentage on their phones, with a full battery evoking positivity and freedom and less than 50 per cent generally inducing anxiety and discomfort.

The study also defined people’s characteristics by how likely they were to ensure that their phone was fully charged. Those who meticulously plan a high level of charge on their phones identify themselves as “control freaks” and “a bit OCD”, whereas those who regular let their phone battery run out identified as “disorganised” and “inconsiderate”.

Women dislike financial risk taking

A study co-authored by Professor David Blake, Director of the Pensions Institute at Cass found that women are more risk averse than men when it comes to financial decision-making.

The paper, Quantifying Loss Aversion: Evidence from a UK Population Survey, drew on data from 4000 YouGov respondents and showed that as well as women being more risk averse, younger and older people were more risk averse than the middle-aged population.

The demographic study also revealed that those in full time employment are less risk and loss averse than retirees and unemployed people, and that loss aversion was at its highest in the East Midlands and lowest in Wales, Scotland and London.

Much of what we know about self-control may be wrong

Research co-authored by Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass suggests that choosing to eat chocolate cake over carrot sticks does not equate to a lack of self-control.

According to the study, for a choice to constitute a self-control failure it must be accompanied by anticipated regret and violate a long-term goal held by the consumer. For instance, somebody aiming to lose weight who chooses a slice of cake over a carrot stick could experience a self-control failure, but only if the quantity of that slice was large enough to trigger regret.

The report, titled Exerting Self-Control ≠ Sacrificing Pleasure and published in the Journal of Consumer Technology, argues that while the task of determining and advising which foods are good or bad is the job of nutritionists and medical professionals, consumer behaviour researchers and psychologists are better placed to help consumers realise that they have a self-control problem, and assist them in altering their perceptions of food to associate tastiness and healthiness more positively.

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