From the Dean – Kogod Now
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Kogod Now / Spring 2014  / From the Dean

From the Dean

The technology surge of the past decade has untethered us from our offices and homes, freeing us to consume and connect across multiple screens, platforms, and time zones. The rapid changes in technology and media, often interlinked, will likely be recorded as a revolutionary shift in global society.

For business, pleasure, and social interaction, we are constantly beholden to our digital devices. The vastly increased flow of information stretches our capacity to pay attention, making each and every second of our attention span even more valuable.

Our faculty are exploring the impacts of these trends, uncovering shifts in consumer attitudes and behavior as well as changes in how business is conducted by multinational corporations and individual entrepreneurs.

Information Technology Professors William DeLone and Erran Carmel and Associate Professor Gwanhoo Lee consider how disruptive crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and social media are to entire industries. These tools wield remarkable power, as well as the ability to simultaneously unite and isolate individuals and communities. Will their legacy be the empowerment or the exploitation of disparate individuals and developing economies?

Much of the media content we consume remains in the form of a television series. Television pro- grams, advertisements, and product placements remain a strong constant in consumers’ lives and impact their behavior. Assistant Professors Cristel Russell and Wendy Boland uncovered how storylines about alcohol across popular television shows are affecting teens’ perception of the consequences (or lack thereof) of underage drinking. The alarming outcomes should put both parents and television producers on notice.

Russell also engaged in a study deploying state-of-the-art eyetracking technology, enabling her to understand whether and how viewers notice product placements in movies after first sitting through previews and commercials.

College sports fan and MS in Marketing Faculty Program Director Michael Clayton takes a critical look at the ever-present public service announcements that promote universities during televised football games. The results show these announcements were awash in generic academic platitudes, with only a few schools using the spots to brand their schools effectively.

Stereotyped advertisements continue to fill the airwaves, according to new research by Associate Professor Sonya Grier. Her exploration of racially charged advertising, conducted in South Africa, provides valuable insight for advertising executives. Bill Bellows, executive-in-residence and co-founder of OneWhitePixel, a mobile app company, understands our intimate relationship with our mobile phones and what it takes to develop a successful app.

OgilvyRED Chairman Carla Hendra adds her voice to the discussion, authoring an insightful practitioner perspective on the pace of change in mobile device adoption and social media marketing.

The media are quick to tell us when the price of staples like milk and bread are on the rise. But is there any meat behind the so-called “financialization of food” in the commodities markets? Associate Professor Michel Robe and Assistant Professor Valentina Bruno debunk a popular belief. Meanwhile, David Kautter, managing director of the Kogod Tax Center, examines taxation of Internet sales in light of the impending expiration of the Internet Tax Freedom Act on November 1.

In addition to analytical mastery, we are committed to teaching our students how to excel as writers and presenters. Executive-in-Residence and forensic accounting expert Casey Evans discusses her partnership with the Kogod Center for Business Communications. The center offers unique resources to students and faculty—including New York Times-reviewed historical fiction author Alex Myers and award-winning creative writer and poet Bonnie Auslander.

A deep understanding of what lies beneath a company’s rapid valuation or a technology’s quick adoption requires more than knowledge of numbers and microchips. People are the ultimate variable in perpetuating change, and our idiosyncrasies cannot always be captured in an algorithm. At Kogod, we endeavor to research and teach business with an eye toward understanding both the technology and the individual—and the role each plays in profit and purpose.

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