Business Brief: Don’t be disappointed, authenticity is hot and bad science is mentioned

Miriam Bowers Abbott

Business Brief: Don't be disappointed, authenticity is hot and bad science is mentioned

Welcome to Business Brief! In the world of academic publications, real-world experiments in business and markets yield fascinating findings. Here are some key tips and nuggets of knowledge that can be helpful for your business.

Feely Feedback

It’s fun to give positive feedback: Say nice things, people like it, goodness everywhere.

On the other hand, negative feedback is less fun to give and less fun to receive. So it is usually combined with other words like “opportunity for improvement”. Then the negative feedback can apparently be less negative and more like an opportunity.

Researchers at Utah State University conducted a study of how employees react to positive and negative emotional language in response. He ran a series of experiments, beginning with recruiting 178 college students, and performing a decoding task from them. Students were assessed in terms of productivity. Some were given feedback that included the phrase “I am very happy”, some were given feedback that included the phrase “I am very disappointed” and some were given an objective measure of their performance.

Recipients of “I am very happy” did not become more productive than those who were given an objective assessment. But those who received “I’m so disappointed” became less productive. That is to say, there is nothing to be gained by using emotional language (or at least that particular emotional language) in response. It just makes things worse.

Research team recommendation? Training for managers on how to limit negative emotional feedback and focus on work-related performance.

read more here

react with emotion? How emotional language in response affects individual performance – Devon Erickson, D. Kip Holderness Jr., Kari Joseph Olsen, and Todd A. Thornock, Accounting, Organization, and Society

authentic is hotter than ever

Reliable To be a parody has long been a buzz word in popular culture.

Which is why it may come as a surprise to learn that, in the age of COVID, being authentic is hotter than ever. The research followed a series of five studies involving Google Trends and human subjects and found that messages of authenticity are super-powered right now… because of the pandemic.

So first, what kind of words are good to describe authentic products? Original, reliable, true, genuine. Google Trends indicates that searches related to those words have increased after the outbreak.

In the human study (involving more than 300 adults), researchers first submitted an article for the subjects to read. It was either an article about COVID with an ominous headline, or an article about some other milktoast (the game). After reading the articles, subjects were asked to rate a few dining spots: an authentic-sounding restaurant and a more regular pizza joint. In general, people who read the ominous COVID article rated authentic-sounding restaurants more favorably than those who read about sports.

That said, the authenticity draw was strongest for those who experienced childhood with a higher socioeconomic status. This aligns with earlier research suggesting that hazardous environments affect adults differently depending on their childhood. If you grew up in a financially insecure environment, you become an adult with a high tolerance for uncertainty and insecurity. If you grew up in a financially secure environment, the literature suggests that you prefer to have a little more control over what is happening around you.

And you still like really authentic things.

read more here

Impact of COVID-19 on consumer evaluation of authentic advertising messages – Joyoung Park et al., Psychology and Marketing

Bad Science Gets The Mansion

Researchers at the Ready School of Management at the University of California San Diego published some disturbing findings about the state of research in business-adjacent publications, including economics and psychology.

It turns out that we like to study poorly.

It is an oversight of his findings, but a good starting point in an explanation. In research, it is important to refer to prior studies. Firstly, because prior work shapes how you build your projects. Second, because mentioning prior studies supports those of your professional peers. If you are a researcher, you want others to mention your work. Which increases your reputation. All those mentions are called “citations”.

The problem is that the earlier studies that are most cited (cited) … are those studies untestable. Is happening immutable This means that once the study gave good results, then it became nonsense. Between 2015 and 2018, three projects were launched to attempt to reproduce many of the results from popular studies. The experiments were successful in achieving the promised results in about half the time.

When mentions of reproducible studies were compared with mentions from non-reproducible studies, non-reproducible studies were cited an average of 16 times per year and 153 more times over time.

That is to say, sketchy research findings get more mention, while good stuff gets overlooked. The situation makes little sense; Sensational findings are attention-grabbing, we love to talk about them. The problem is… they don’t reflect reality.

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Non-replicating publications are cited more than those with replication – Marta Serra-García and Uri Ganizzi, Science Advances