The following interview was conducted by Tisch Center student worker, Haley Park.
What is your research about?
I am currently doing my doctoral program at Pace University. My research is focused on marketing, with a specific focus on customer behavior and technology. One of the projects that I am currently working on is called “Social Connectedness and its Antecedents.” It focuses on technology and its implication on consumer behavior, additionally how online social connectedness makes consumers more impulsive.
As you know, in our current day, there is a ubiquitous number of technological devices and because of this, our world is now more connected than ever. In my research, I am looking at how social connectedness has transformed the way in which people keep in touch with family and friends in addition to how they buy things. In terms of people’s spending habits, many times, people buy things that they were never originally planning to buy and this is what is known as impulse buying. Through impulse buying alone, there has been 4 billion dollars worth of sales generated. And this number is only going to grow because of growth of ecommerce, television, and the ease of access consumers have to purchasing things.
My research looks at why this is happening and specifically, if this is related to self-control. We are looking at the role self-control plays in impulsive behavior. In terms of how we are testing our ideas, we are using established scales in our surveys. We have used scales for impulsive behavior, social connectedness, and self-control. In the end, we have seen evidence that social presence and social awareness are in fact origins of social connectedness. We have just submitted our work to a highly respected journal in the field.
Why you are interested in the topic and why is it important to you?
I have two children and I have seen how technology and social networking sites have impacted their lives from their shopping habits to their learning habits to their ability to concentrate. Technology has also impacted my students in similar ways. An important question is raised: at what point is technology changing the way we act and the way we behave? My research all comes down to my interest in how social networking sites are impacting our lives.
In addition, consumer behavior is a very important aspect of marketing. When we have a better sense of consumer behavior, it affects marketing plans and advertising. I always say to my students that good marketers are good psychologists.
What your findings are and how the research influences your teaching?
My research provides me with different perspective to my students, especially in the social engineering side of it. Many students do not realize the impact of technology on their behavior, similarly how the world is changing in ways that sometimes go unnoticed. I am trying to emphasize this concept when I teach whether it’s my classes in business development, entrepreneurship or marketing. I like to give examples in my teaching about social media while emphasizing that everything in business in simple terms comes down to making a product and converting it into cash.
Is there anything else you want to share on this topic?
With the millennial generation, the importance of self-control is a very important aspect of our lives. Just in the classes that I teach, I see my students constant need to check their phones to reply back to texts, emails and messages. This is in fact changing their level of productivity. This is also the reason why many companies are forbidding phones during meeting.
In terms of my research, in the future, my team wants to do a cross-cultural study. For example, whether individualistic or collectivistic cultures impact consumers and consumer behavior.