On this page:
- New challenges for New Zealand's knowledge economy city
- Distinguished alumni to be honoured
- Inaugural VBS Excellence Awards
- 'Digital natives' driving the BYOD phenomenon
- Research into how a crisis erodes brand trust
- Stemming privacy breaches - human flaws rather than technology at fault
- Victoria University scores well in international ranking system
- Honorary Doctorate for business leader Rob Cameron
- FMCG Conference held in Wellington
- SACL student wins Summer Gold Poster competition
- New Zealand Review of Economics and Finance journal launch
- Public lecture puts workplace interactions in the spotlight
- Winning team heads to national Business Case Competition
- Teaching and Learning grant for AV case studies project
- Victoria University tops New Zealand in research rankings
- Excellence award for Student and Academic Services team
- Research shows courts more lenient on white collar criminals
- A conversation with Professor Warren McGregor about the IASB
- Top students awarded for Excellence in Accounting & Commercial Law
- Retailers in GST counter-attack
- Advertisers try discount cold turkey
- BCom student wins inaugural Pacific Scholarship Award
- Investment smarts are top of students' minds
- SMIB student invited to prestigious Doctoral Consortium
- Loss of trust in business, and what this means for the global economy
- Dr Toland and Professor Yoong get award for journal article
- Dr Gillian Oliver appointed to Archives Council
- Best Paper award for Professor Fam
- Accreditation renewed for Tourism Programme
- Professor Gemmell opinion series
- A positive mindset influences health decisions
- Research uncovers how kids perceive money and value
- BYOD study wins IITP research prize
22 May 2013
Comments by the Prime Minister, John Key, about Wellington being a "dying city" will have done the city a favour if they shake locals out of complacency, according to Dr Richard Norman from the School of Management.
"Working with students who are near graduation, and anxious about their work prospects, I’m regularly reminded of the impact on them of a lack of economic growth and the highest unemployment rate in 20 years," he says.
"Central government has a disproportionate effect on Wellington when it pursues budget cuts. That’s the major cause of today’s economic slowdown, but this is a very different era from the last period of major unemployment, two decades ago, when the ‘Absolutely Positively Wellington’ slogan was adopted to counter unrelenting bad news in an era of government cutbacks, corporate office departures and manufacturing closures."
As Wellington City Council’s ‘Smart Capital’ strategy puts it:
From the quiet government town of the 1980s, Wellington has become New Zealand's 'Creative Capital', transforming the entertainment, arts, culture and economic base of the city.
Dr Norman says this region, and Wellington city in particular, is New Zealand’s strongest example of the rapidly emerging knowledge economy.
"Victoria University and Weta are not unusual outliers as growth businesses, as identified by the Prime Minister, but examples of the shape this new economy is likely to take."
The Wellington Regional Strategy 2012 identified that 47% of the region’s workforce is employed in knowledge intensive occupations, compared with a national average of just over 33%; that the region has the highest concentration of web and digital-based companies per capita in New Zealand, people are three times more likely to work in Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), and the region has one research scientist for every 250 people.
"Within New Zealand, Wellington exemplifies the ‘weightless’ or ‘invisible’ economics based on technology changes which are as disruptive as assembly line production of automobiles proved to be between 1900 and 1930."
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) describe the current challenge facing the world in Race Against the Machine:
... with the processing power of microchips continuing to double each 18 months, smart phones are more powerful than major computers were 10 ten years ago, driverless cars are now a reality, language translations can be done via software and a single lawyer can do the work of 500 in analysing 1.5 million documents.
Nearer home, the world’s largest trial of robots designed to help the elderly has been taking place at Auckland’s Selwyn Village, and Dr Norman asserts that the major strategic challenge for this region is to reduce dependence on central government by encouraging knowledge businesses that could be based anywhere in the world but choose to stay or relocate to an eco-city where, as the Finance Minister recently noted, it is possible to go mountain biking in your lunch time.
Working with the Wellington Regional Council and Grow Wellington, Dr Norman has identified more than 200 knowledge businesses, large and small, which are adapting -- not dying -- and says he has been surprised at how few of the names of these emerging businesses are publicly visible.
Those businesses cluster into the following sectors:
- digital media, including film
- business-focused software development and telecommunications
- finance and insurance
- national associations, research, energy
- consulting, engineering and knowledge intensive manufacturing
"The aggregate statistics which have prompted comments about a ‘dying city’ do not capture the new realities of work, nor the skills that will best help today’s students make the most of the opportunities that are emerging from the rapidly changing economics of technology," he says.
"Together with the 80 students I teach, we plan further research at Victoria to create a more detailed snapshot of the changing work world of Wellington’s knowledge economy."
If you would like to help with practical steps to identify and acknowledge the new ‘living economy’ of this region and assist as an interviewee or as a mentor for this project, please contact Richard.Norman@vuw.ac.nz.
21 May 2013
Six of New Zealand’s most influential and inspirational leaders and entrepreneurs will be honoured with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Victoria University of Wellington.
The University will present awards in July to these alumni who have made an outstanding contribution in their field: Claudia Batten, John Campbell, Georgina te Heuheu, Brian Roche and Jeff Tallon. Rugby player Conrad Smith will be presented with the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award for a Young Alumnus.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the recipients illustrate the high calibre of Victoria’s alumni and the University is proud to be celebrating their achievements.
"This year’s recipients highlight the diverse contribution our alumni make both globally and here in New Zealand.
"The awards illustrate the steps to success that Victoria graduates undertake and all the winners portray the qualities that we aim to instil, including leadership, critical and creative thinking and a commitment to excellence."
Victoria has presented Distinguished Alumni Awards since 2006, introducing the accolades as a way of recognising and honouring the contribution made by its graduates. The following synopses provide a brief insight into the achievements of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winners.
Claudia Batten (BCA, 1996; LLB (Hons), 1998) is known internationally for her innovative contributions combining marketing and information technology. She was a founding team member of two innovative digital media companies in the United States. Claudia’s passion for media, digital innovation and businesses of the future has seen her appointed to numerous boards.
John Campbell (BA (Hons), 1988) is one of New Zealand’s most respected television journalists. The presenter of TV3’s nightly current affairs show Campbell Live is known for a unique and effective communication style, and a determination to seek answers on a wide range of issues. John has won multiple industry awards for investigative journalism.
Georgina Manunui te Heuheu QSO (BA, LLB) is of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa and Tuhoe descent. She was the first Māori woman in New Zealand to graduate in Law and gain admission to the High Court as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1972. She is Chairman of Māori Television, and Deputy Chair of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board.
Brian Roche (BCA, 1978), CEO of New Zealand Post Group, has had a significant impact on New Zealand society through his contribution to both the public and business sectors. During a successful career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he held leadership roles and led major initiatives for successive governments. He also played a pivotal role in ensuring New Zealand hosted the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Conrad Smith (LLB (Hons), 2004) is an outstanding sportsman whose skills and leadership qualities are recognised internationally. He has 55 All Blacks Test caps to his name and was part of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2011. He also captains the Hurricanes squad in the Super 15 Rugby. Conrad fits practising as a solicitor at Gibson Sheat around his rugby commitments.
Jeff Tallon (PhD in Chemistry, 1977, and DSc, 1997) belongs to an elite group of internationally recognised New Zealand physical scientists. He has been at the forefront of developing a world-leading portfolio of patented high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials. Jeff has also been a leader in developing the physical sciences in New Zealand.
21 May 2013
Commerce graduates, their friends and family, staff, and sponsors gathered in Rutherford House last week for the inaugural Victoria Business School Excellence Awards. The Awards were introduced to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of our top Business School graduates.
A total of 45 Awards were presented to students in Accounting, Commercial Law, Economics, Finance, Management, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Tourism Management, Marketing, International Business, e-Commerce and Information Systems, and Public Policy.
Several of the Awards included sponsored prizes from The Treasury, CPA, NZIER, Fisher Funds Management, Te Puni Kōkiri, Xero, Foodstuffs, the Marketing Association, Pearson Publishing, NZX, Deloitte, Telecom, and Revera.
The Dean‘s Award for Doctoral Achievement was also given to five graduates in recognition of the quality of research and writing in their PhD thesis.
16 May 2013
They’re referred to as 'digital natives' -- Generations X, Y and whatever the one that comes after it is called -- those who have spent their entire lives surrounded by digital technologies.
"Students no longer expect to wait for access to a computer or to learn in a predictable classroom context, but instead can choose to use a range of devices and interfaces that enable them to customise their learning in a style and at a pace that suits them," says Dr Sylvester.
So rapid has been the change that many schools have been unable to keep pace with technology: enter the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, where students seek to bridge the gap by bringing their own smartphones, tablets, netbooks or iPods to school to use as learning devices.
"BYOD is an emerging socio-technical phenomenon in both businesses and schools, where it is being advocated for ICT learning. Yet despite accelerating adoption, the factors that affect students' use of BYOD are still not well articulated."
Last year, Dr Sylvester and one of his Honours students, Nathan Hopkins, surveyed nine secondary schools around New Zealand to determine factors that affect students’ use of BYOD. Together with the co-author of the study, Dr Mary Tate, they evaluated antecedents to the behavioural intention of BYOD.
The team received 386 responses to a range of questions, including issues such as teacher, peer and parental influence.
"The results showed that students’ behavioural intention to use their own device was substantially influenced by their attitude and moderately influenced by their subjective norms and perceived behavioural control. The results also suggested that devices that were easier to use and compatible with the learning tasks at hand would positively affect students’ intention to use and that the influence of peers, teachers and parents/guardians was important."
Perhaps more surprising was the response of parents/guardians from the 70s and 80s whose expectations are based on their own experience of school.
"I may have initially expected some push-back from parents whose learning was conducted without these digital devices, but they were actually very encouraging and supportive of BYOD."
The findings have major implications for the education sector, including the need to renegotiate the way classrooms operate.
"Access to knowledge is now democratised. Teachers are just as important as they always were but the teacher’s role becomes more of a mentor, coach, guide and trainer."
It also means schools need to consider initiatives such as training sessions for students on how to use their devices, taking precautionary measures around issues such as cyber safety, as well as providing a sufficient network infrastructure. The BYOD phenomenon isn’t without its risks, says Dr Sylvester.
"It has been argued that BYOD creates distractions and cyber risks, as well as unrealistic demands on school infrastructure and teachers’ technological knowledge."
The BYOD phenomenon has also been blamed for chiselling an even wider crevice in the digital divide -- those who have access to digital devices and those who don't.
"One rural secondary school principal told me it was all very well putting in ultra-fast broadband, but he had four families who didn’t have access to electricity. For those families, using digital devices is not an economic reality. We need to ensure that students aren’t left behind."
Despite the risks, Dr Sylvester says BYOD offers a powerful learning environment.
"Managed properly, BYOD can offer an environment that is engaging, fosters creative thinking and honours students' own passions and preferences for learning."
Dr Sylvester will be presenting the paper, Motivations for BYOD: An Investigation of the Contents of a 21st Century School Bag, in the Netherlands in June. He is hoping to conduct a follow-up survey in 2014, and while in Europe will be speaking with educational institutions in London with the view to internationalising New Zealand's data.
16 May 2013
The Chinese milk contamination crisis of 2008 provided invaluable insight into how such events can damage consumer trust in brands, says Dr Hongzhi Gao, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Marketing and International Business.
"This food poisoning crisis provided a real-life context for understanding how consumers react to a betrayal of their trust in brands," says Dr Gao.
"Faced with the 2008 situation, it's natural that fearful and bewildered customers would express outrage and attribute blame."
He says it was also a useful example of how one brand can be made to take the lion's share of the blame. The scandal, which centred around 700 tonnes of infant formula contaminated by the industrial chemical melamine, involved Chinese company Sanlu which, at the time, was part-owned by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.
Two months after the crisis began, Dr Gao and colleagues at the University of Otago and Sydney’s Macquarie University partnered with Peking University in Beijing to ask 2156 Chinese locals in nine metropolitan centres to evaluate the crisis and rate their trust and blame towards a range of dairy brands, including foreign-owned, joint venture and local brands.
"We were particularly interested in what information about a brand could impact on consumers' trust and which factors could strengthen or weaken that trust."
Dr Gao says the results show Sanlu became the scapegoat for an industry-wide crisis.
"While the reputations of other companies were dented, they weren’t as badly affected as Sanlu, which became the 'face' of the scandal. Our research provided a great insight into how a food safety scandal can spill over and negatively affect attitudes and beliefs about the whole supply chain and about competing brands."
Another key finding was that a shared brand identity and investment or management links between a locally made brand and a foreign imported brand expose the foreign brand to guilt-by-association effects.
"Firms operating in foreign markets must evaluate potential risks to their brand equity due to consumers’ associations with local counterparts. They should jealously protect their brands by avoiding association with ‘risky’ local counterparts."
Dr Gao and his colleagues have now turned their attention to the impact of the crisis on non-contaminated brands and are hoping to determine "how this mistrust spilled over by association".
16 May 2013
It’s ourselves, and not technology, that is the weakest link when it comes to information security, says Victoria’s Chair in e-Government Professor Miriam Lips, commenting on the spate of security breaches in the public sector that havemade headlines across the country.
"Technology offers us the secure systems we need, but how we work within those systems is what needs improvement," she says.
Professor Lips, whose role as Chair in e-Government involves research into the introduction, management and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the public sector, says there are some immediate steps both individuals and organisations can take to reduce the risk of further breaches.
For an organisation, she says, that could involve providing training so staff are aware of exactly how a technology works and precisely what they can and can’t do when using it.
"Making people aware about certain practices around personal data is an obvious starting point, so for instance sending as an email-attachment a spreadsheet with personal data is clearly not the most secure way of dealing with that data, but people are often not aware of an easy solution, which is to place that data in a secure environment and provide colleagues or stakeholders with access to it."
She says individuals can also ask themselves whether they really need to send all of the information they're about to provide to someone. They should ask: what’s the essential information that needs to be sent? Could I remove some columns and their data? Or could I leave it in a secure space and provide access?
Professor Lips says adjusting businesses processes to integrate safe practices into daily routine will require ICT understanding and attention from all levels of an organisation --not just frontline staff.
"When senior managers are assessing risk they may feel that it’s risky to give more people access to a secure environment, but on the other hand it solves other major problems, such as the risk of a privacy breach.
"I think it's important to note the privacy breaches we've seen do not seem to be maliciously intended. Individuals should feel free to notify their managers when mistakes are made, and they should be supported when that happens. That’s the only way to learn from these affairs and make improvements so they don’t happen again."
She says the New Zealand public sector isn't alone when it comes to this issue and points to the UK, as just one example, where there have been high profile cases of data breaches caused by contract employees losing USB sticks or CDs with large volumes of personal data .
Professor Lips says the Department of Internal Affairs leads all-of-government ICT security measures, and useful information about secure ways of sharing information can be found on their website. The Chair in e-Government at Victoria is sponsored by Datacom Systems Limited, Department of Internal Affairs, FX Networks Limited, and Microsoft New Zealand Ltd.
8 May 2013
Victoria University is continuing its success in university rankings, being named one of the top 50 universities in the world in four subjects.
The 2013 QS World University Rankings rank Victoria at number 19 in Law. Other subjects in which Victoria is in the top 50 are Politics and International Relations (41), English Language and Literature (44) and Psychology (49).
Victoria was also ranked in the top 150 in the world in eight other subjects: Modern Languages, Philosophy, Computer Science and Information Systems, Earth and Marine Sciences, Geography, Communications and Media Studies, Education, and Economics and Econometrics.
The QS World University Rankings cover the world’s top 700 universities and ratings are based on a range of measures including peer review, citation rates and employer surveys.
These results follow the recent Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) Evaluation, which ranked Victoria first among New Zealand universities for research.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the QS World University Rankings are further external confirmation of the calibre of research and teaching at Victoria.
"The various ranking systems use different measures and different methodology but the overall message is consistent: Victoria is a university of high international standing."
6 May 2013
One of New Zealand’s most accomplished investment bankers, Rob Cameron, will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Commerce during Victoria University’s May graduation.
Mr Cameron, a Victoria alumnus and former member of the Victoria Business School Advisory Board, has influenced national economic policies and advised on some of New Zealand’s largest commercial transactions during a distinguished career.
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says Mr Cameron’s drive to succeed in his chosen field epitomises the attributes the University seeks to instil in graduates.
"Rob has pursued his career with energy, passion and determination and he has made significant and influential contributions to both the public and private sectors in New Zealand, as well as being a positive influence in the growth and governance of Victoria University."
After graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration with First Class Honours in the 1970s, Mr Cameron received a prestigious Harkness Fellowship to complete postgraduate studies at Harvard University.
On his return to New Zealand, Mr Cameron worked at the Treasury as a Section Head in the Economics Division and was a principal architect in the development of the state owned enterprise model during the early 1980s. He went on to hold senior positions at Jarden & Company and Fay Richwhite & Company, before establishing Cameron Partners Limited in 1995, a business which has become one of New Zealand’s foremost investment banks.
Mr Cameron has received numerous accolades for his economic and financial expertise, including being made a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Professionals New Zealand. He recently chaired the Capital Markets Development Taskforce, which made recommendations that have led to major policy changes in areas affecting New Zealand’s capital markets.
Throughout his career, Mr Cameron has supported not-for-profit organisations including serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of Special Olympics New Zealand. He currently sits on the board of KEA, which encourages expatriate New Zealanders, and friends of New Zealand, to increase their contribution to the country.
Mr Cameron has also supported Victoria University for many years, through roles such as Advisory Board membership for Victoria Business School and Board Chair of the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation. He was a member of the University Council between 1998 and 2001 and received a Hunter Fellowship in 2003, in recognition of his ongoing and valuable contributions.
Mr Cameron will receive his honorary degree during the Victoria University graduation ceremony for Victoria Business School which takes place on Tuesday 14 May at 1.30pm.
2 May 2013
The 4th annual Financial Markets and Corporate Governance Conference, and associated PhD Symposium, was held recently at Victoria University of Wellington (Symposium) and the Rydges Hotel Wellington (Conference).
Established by Associate Professor Balasingham Balachandran (La Trobe Business School), this conference was being hosted overseas for the first time after being held in Melbourne, Australia, for its first three years.
In opening the conference Professor Bob Buckle, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Victoria Business School, commented that: "Research, sharing ideas, and improving financial practice and public policy through conferences like this are a crucial part of the process of advancing understanding and practice", and thus in future avoiding the severe social costs from events of the past such as the Global Financial Crisis and the earlier Asian Financial Crisis.
This year's conference was particularly fortunate in having six world renowned academics as keynote speakers: Professor Peter Clarkson, Professor Jonathan Karpoff, Professor Ron Masulis, Professor Stephen Taylor, Professor Tom Smith and Professor Ross Watts.
In addition, papers were presented by academics and PhD students working in Australia, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States.
External sponsors of the event included Curtin University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology, La Trobe University, and the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand. Victoria University was represented by the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, the School of Economics and Finance, and the Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research.
The conference was also the occasion for the Accounting Research Journal to donate an award for the best paper presented at the conference by a PhD student. The winner of the award, announced at the Conference Dinner, was Mark Humphrey-Jenner from the Australian School of Business at UNSW.
Next year's conference will be held in Queensland, Australia.
18 April 2013
Congratulations to School of Accounting and Commercial Law student Nataly Noguer Blue, who won the award for the Best Poster in the Faculty of Commerce Summer Gold Posters Competition with "Measuring Impact in the Voluntary Sector".
From November 2012 to February 2013, a number of Summer Scholars were hosted within SACL and surrounding businesses, working on projects as diverse as 'valuing volunteers to the tax implications of imported goods' to 'companies’ carbon policies'.
These scholars continued the tradition of the past three years where over 1100 students have held Victoria University scholarships as part of the Summer Scholars Scheme. As well as writing reports, scholars are invited to submit a poster describing their work and its results.
SACL Summer Scholars included:
- Nataly Noguer Blue: "Measuring Impact in the Voluntary Sector" (supervisors Drs Carolyn Cordery – SACL and Karen Smith – School of Management), co-sponsored by Volunteering New Zealand
- Krishant Goya: "User Needs of Small Capital Market Entities" (supervisor Dr Rodney Dormer), co-sponsored by the External Reporting Board
- Michelle Porter: "Who Benefits from Productivity Gains" (supervisor Professor John Creedy), co-sponsored by the Productivity Commission
- Andrew Milne: "What’s the Cost of the Game? Discretionary and Variable Costs in Grassroots Sports Clubs [Rugby]" (supervisors Dr Carolyn Cordery – SACL and Professor John Davies – School of Management), co-sponsored by Sport New Zealand
- James Reece Berkett: "Carbon Management and Carbon Accounting Practices among NZ" (supervisor Dr Binh Bui)
- Samuel Easton: "Does Mandatory IFRS Adoption Improve Information Quality" (supervisor Dr Noor Houqe)
18 April 2013
The second edition of the New Zealand Review of Economics and Finance (NZREF), a peer-reviewed journal published by students at the School of Economics and Finance, was launched at a function in the boardroom of Rutherford House on 9 April.
The launch also saw a top essay award, sponsored by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, presented to James Tate for his article 'An examination into who paid the costs of the Canterbury Earthquake'.
Christie Smith, Research Manager from the Reserve Bank, paid tribute to the students’ efforts when presenting the cash prize of $500.
"I’m delighted to be here today to present this award to James Tate, and to support the students who have worked so hard to put this edition of the NZ Review of Economic and Finance together," he said.
"I hope that the experience of submitting work to the journal helps to develop an understanding of an important part of the research process."
Tahir Suleman, the NZREF managing editor and a current PhD student, spoke about the value of contributing to the journal.
"This is a great opportunity provided by the School of Economics and Finance to polish students' academic, management, and research skills before going to job market.
"Having essays published will provide encouragement to students, particularly those considering higher level study and research," he said.
"I am grateful to Morris Altman, Head of School of Economics and Finance, for his support regarding managing and publication of the journal, and the Reserve Bank for continuing to provide the best essay prize."
The journal's editorial board considers submissions from students throughout New Zealand in any of the broad subject areas covered by economics and finance, which can be theoretically oriented, applied, or deal with topics related to the history of thought, economic methodology, economic history or public policy from an economic/finance perspective.
The latest edition is available in hardcopy from the School of Economics and Finance reception or for download at the School’s website, and there is now a call out for papers for the third edition of the NZREF to be published in 2013.
15 April 2013
Would you behave more ethically in the workplace if your boss was watching you closely?
That is one of the questions posed by Professor Nick Lee, Professor of Marketing and Organisational Research at Aston Business School and a 2013 Victoria Business School International Visiting Scholar, in his lecture at Rutherford House on Monday 15 April [see a videorecording of the lecture].
Professor Lee also gave an interview on this subject with Andrew Patterson, business correspondent at Radio Live.
Focusing on the environment where we spend most of our waking hours -- the workplace -- Professor Lee’s research looks at the social psychology of work and how actions which may seem like the 'right' thing to do can actually lead to unintended negative effects.
"We observed sales teams in the UK and Europe, and particularly the nature of the sales function as a link between the firm and its customers, to see how staff behaved when they felt they were closely supervised; for example if the manager spent lots of time with them observing sales calls.
"In such circumstances, employees tended to behave better," says Professor Lee.
However, throw a conflict into the mix like responsibility for the company versus responsibility to the customer, and the results skewed towards the unethical.
"When closely monitored, employees were conflicted between making money for the company and providing good customer service. They tended to behave unethically, putting their organisation’s needs ahead of the customer."
Uncovering such counter-intuitive outcomes requires an approach that goes beyond the notion of "common sense, of what we think should or shouldn’t work in the workplace," says Professor Lee.
"Different drivers of behaviour require different managerial remedies. For example, our research found that a more caring manager resulted in higher job satisfaction from employees, whereas a more aggressive manager produced lower commitment from employees and greater emotional strain.
"But at the same time, we found employees actually valued a certain amount of aggression from their managers, because it helped clarify the appropriate standards of behaviour and role responsibilities."
Born in Cardiff, Professor Lee is an alumnus of the Victoria Business School's Honours Programme in Marketing. He graduated with BCA in 1996 and a BCA (Hons) in 1997, and completed his PhD at Aston University in Birmingham in 1999, where he is currently based.
15 April 2013
On Saturday April 6 the Victoria University Consulting Club (VUCON), in association with Victoria Business School, hosted the Deloitte Business Case Competition.
Kindly sponsored by Deloitte Wellington, the event had five teams competing for the chance to represent Victoria University at the national league of the Student Development Society Business Case Competition.
"We are very happy with how the competition worked out", said Fabian Westermann, President of VUCON, who plans to organise more competitions this year.
The winning team of Grace Liang, Cameron Gilbert, Myles Snadden, and Tim Jackson will compete against other New Zealand universities before attending an International Case Competition held over a full week in Queenstown.
Judges for the event were Deloitte consultants James Dowle and Ann Molineux, and Lewis Gyson, a member of last year’s team.
The case involved strategies for managing change in shipping services in the Asia-Pacific region precipitated by a movement to larger container ships – an issue of current interest to NZ exporters and ports.
"These competitions are a great opportunity for students to get some real life business world experience, and the judges were very constructive and considerate in their comments", said Dr Jim Sheffield from the School of Management, who is coaching the team.
15 April 2013
Senior lecturer Dr Jocelyn Cranefield has received a Learning and Teaching grant for her project Students as Producers: Video cases for sustainable learning in Information Systems.
Dr Jocelyn Cranefield will be co-researching the project with fellow School of Information lecturer Dr Jean-Gregoire Bernard and Warren Butcher (Multimedia Producer, IT services).
The project will develop and trial a framework and methodology for the sustainable supply of locally relevant audio-visual (AV) case studies as group learning materials, recorded and produced on an annual basis by level 400 students as group projects, then re-used as group learning materials at 300 level, and potentially later by students at 200 and/or 100 level.
Dr Cranefield says the "suppliers" in this value chain will be students in the course INFO 409: IT Innovation, Value and Productivity, who will create the video material as part of a major case project. This course is being taught in 2013 as a special topic, but the school plans to offer it as a regular Honours paper thereafter.
Project benefits include:
- bringing students close to New Zealand organisations and challenging them to apply analytical skills in 'real' situations
- increased ownership of content, learning engagement and retention
- development communication skills in visual and oral media
For those from orally-oriented cultures (including Māori and Pasifika), it has potential to act an equaliser, balancing the dominance of the written word with cases based on spoken communication. Longer term, the project has potential to position Victoria as a leader in the design/use of video-based teaching cases.
11 April 2013
Victoria University was today ranked first among New Zealand universities based on the research performance of its academic staff.
"Today’s release by the Tertiary Education Commission of the latest PBRF Evaluation ranks Victoria as number one in New Zealand.
"This validates the commitment of our staff to undertaking and disseminating world class research," said Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh.
"With 678 staff actively involved in research, and 70 percent of them operating at the highest levels (ranked as either an A or B), we now have external confirmation of our status as New Zealand’s most research intensive university.
"In 2009 the University Council set an ambitious goal to dramatically improve our research performance and staff have been very focused on achieving this. That commitment has certainly paid off and we are very proud of what we have accomplished."
The Chancellor, Ian McKinnon, said he is delighted by the results and congratulates the leadership of the University, its Vice-Chancellor, and of course its staff, on the focus given to the importance of research and its value to New Zealand society.
"The Council has been quite clear in its strategic direction in this area and the University has not just responded but has done so at an outstanding level."
In addition Victoria ranks first or second in 24 subject areas, an increase from 11 in 2006.
Source: Victoria Media Release
27 March 2013
Congratulations to our Student and Academic Services team, whose work has been acknowledged with a Staff Excellence Award that recognises and celebrates their outstanding performance.
The citation for their award said:
The Student and Academic Services team in the Faculty of Commerce has a clear focus on excellence in their consistent and professional approach to their activities, and a strong commitment to the University community. The team‘s work adds value to the student experience and the University‘s quality assurance processes and also supports student achievement. They are consistently motivated to provide an excellent service to students, and demonstrate a willingness to solve problems using creativity and innovation. They willingly take on additional tasks and foster collaboration and cooperation with colleagues within the Faculty and across the University.
27 March 2013
New Zealanders take welfare fraud more seriously than tax evasion despite the latter depriving the country of much greater sums of money according to research carried out at Victoria Business School.
Dr Lisa Marriott, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, is investigating the differences in prosecution outcomes for the two offences, both of which, she says, involve money, are premeditated and have the same victim -- the government and society.
"One is not giving what you should and the other is taking what you shouldn’t."
Her analysis of court data on the most serious offending from 2008-2011 shows that 22 percent of people found guilty of tax offences received a custodial sentence, while 60 percent of benefit fraudsters were imprisoned.
Dr Marriott's investigation also shows tax crimes are more costly, with those given custodial sentences committing offences valued at just over $800,000 while benefit fraud averaged $67,000 per offender.
Benefit fraud cost New Zealand $22 million in 2010 or around $5 for each New Zealander. While it is difficult to get accurate figures for tax evasion, the Tax Justice Network estimates New Zealand missed out on more than $7.4 billion of tax revenue in 2011, or around $1500 per New Zealander.
"So the figures for tax evasion are phenomenal, while they are relatively small for benefit fraud," says Dr Marriott.
"However, we have quite different attitudes to the two crimes. It’s not uncommon for New Zealanders to pay cash to tradespeople, for example, even though that is a form of tax evasion."
She says the relatively lenient punishments awarded to tax evaders are unlikely to act as a deterrent to others. A key interest for Dr Marriott is the ideology driving tax punishment.
"It could be that we think people who commit tax offences are more like us so we judge them less harshly. At the same time, we demonise people on welfare even in the words used to describe them such as ‘dole bludger’."
Dr Marriott is now comparing differences in how New Zealand and Australia treat blue and white collar criminals.
25 March 2013
"My time at the IASB and challenges for the future – a conversation with Warren McGregor" was the title of a recent Business Links Seminar hosted by the Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research (CAGTR), in association with the External Reporting Board (XRB).
The seminar was presented by Professor Warren McGregor, an inaugural member of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Warren traversed his 10-year term on the IASB, in particular highlighting some of the major events of the decade offering a behind the scenes look at these critical events.
He then drew from his experiences to make some observations about the challenges for the future, such as bringing the United States into the IFRS family and the oversight, structural and funding issues relating to public sector accounting standards.
Kimberley Crook, Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board and partner and national leader of Financial Accounting Advisory Services for Ernst & Young, provided the commentary.
Kimberley drew on her own experiences while involved in international standard-setting to provide another perspective on some of the critical events of Warren’s term on the IASB, and then drew on Warren’s experiences and observations about the future to highlight issues for us in New Zealand.
Around 75 people, from a wide range of corporate and public sector organisations, attended the seminar.
In his closing comments Kevin Simpkins, Chair of the XRB and Adjunct Professor in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, paid tribute to Professor McGregor for his outstanding service to the international accounting community and also for his close friendship with the New Zealand standard-setting community for the last 30 years.
25 March 2013
Top students in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law were recently honoured at the School’s annual Awards for Excellence ceremony in the Hunter Building’s Council Chamber.
The prestigious Awards for Excellence were presented by Local Government Online CEO Cassandra Crowley, who gave an engaging address about the variety of interesting opportunities that a qualification in Accounting, Commercial Law or Taxation offers.
Professor Ian Eggleton, Head of the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, said that the Excellence Awards ceremony was one of the highlights of the year and provided a wonderful opportunity for students, their families, prospective employers and Faculty to mingle and network together in an informal gathering.
The winning students were encouraged to enrol for Honours upon graduation, although it is already evident that many will be accepting attractive offers from employers both locally and overseas.
The Award winners were the best academic performers in their second year of Accounting, Commercial Law and Taxation courses:
Certificates in Accounting
Benjamin Allen, Thomas Annear, Nicholas Barry, Evinder Bhandal, Aidan Copps, Lauren Gibbs, Krishant Goyal, Ho My Phuong, Caleb McConnell, Andrew Milne, Brendan Ng, Nguyen Duy Linh, Nguyen Quang Nghi, Anita-Bina Parsot, Arushi Sharma, Christopher Stempa, Matthew Stephen, Tania van Loon and Joel Walden.
Certificates in Commercial Law
Tessa Barnett, Lani Buchanan, Taegan Hale, Danielle Hurst-Kiely, Jennifer Kaye-Blake, Kirsten McCutcheon, Diana Phillips, Nigel Salmons and Blair Tomblin.
Certificates in Taxation
Stuart Berry, Olivia Fountain, Josie-Rose Goddard and Jolene Schwamm.
There were also five students who achieved Excellence in two disciplines: Praneeth Dantanarayana, Abby Franklin, Monique McDermott and Aaron Van Der Heyden who received Certificates of Excellence in Accounting and Commercial Law; and Claire Hughes who achieved Excellence in Accounting and Taxation.
22 March 2013
Retailers are stepping up efforts to close a "loophole" that allows GST-free purchases of overseas goods costing less than $400.
The Booksellers Association has released research commissioned from a Victoria University "think-tank" which suggested slashing or abolishing the threshold altogether, and that overseas retailers could be given the choice of collecting the tax on behalf of Customs.
Association chief executive Lincoln Gould said the failure to impose GST on personal imports represented "a serious and growing hurdle" for local booksellers and other retailers.
Gould said he had presented the research to ministers, including Finance Minister Bill English and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne, and had been promised they would seek advice from officials. It was now over to the Government to act, he said.
William Steel, the author of the report by Victoria University's Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation, said it could be in the interests of online giants such as Amazon to voluntarily collect GST on behalf of governments, if in return they benefited from faster clearance of their products by customs agencies.
He suggested overseas retailers that chose to collect GST for the New Zealand Government could also be absolved from charging customers a $38 administration and biosecurity fee now levied on all imports that attract GST.
Steel said attempting to get payment businesses such as credit card companies and PayPal to collect tax might not be as practical, partly because they could not know whether purchases would be subject to import duty or were intended for consumption within New Zealand.
[Note: The presentation and papers for William Steel's seminar are posted on the ISCR website.]
Retailers Association chief executive John Albertson said the import threshold was costing the Crown $300 million a year in lost revenue, far more than the $17m the Government had sought to raise through its ill-fated plan to tax employee car parking.
Labour revenue spokesman David Cunliffe said a low threshold for charging GST on overseas purchases would stop the Government "subsidising foreign commerce" and was a "no-brainer".
Gould said he acknowledged proposals to lower the GST threshold had not gone down well with consumers in the past, but there was an issue of fairness.
"We recognise 15 per cent GST is not the only issue with regard to the price of books in this country, or the price of anything else."
Gould said overseas publishers had been slow to reduce prices in line with the appreciation of the kiwi dollar, but the association was working with American, British and Australian publishers to tackle that.
The Government has so far resisted reducing the tax-free import threshold, which can range between $226 and $400 depending on whether individual items attract duty.
Researcher Frost & Sullivan estimated New Zealand consumers bought $3.2 billion of goods and services online last year and overseas websites took a 35 per cent share. The institute study estimated that abolishing the tax-free threshold would result in a 27 per cent rise in purchases from domestic internet retailers.
Source: Fairfax NZ News
20 March 2013
Industry experts say brands are trying to wean themselves off discounting but it is a long, hard task, and Professor Kim Fam from the School of Marketing and International Business says New Zealand retailers in particular discounted too heavily over the global financial crisis.
While this improved cashflow, there is now no quick fix to damage done over several years, Professor Fam says.
"Companies need to invest in making sure their brand message is consistent.
"And then over years people will see the difference between a good brand and a bad brand."
The problem is especially seen in the grocery sector, where Nielsen research indicates buyers are increasingly choosing whatever is on special. In a typical shopper's basket, 58% of items chosen will be goods that are on promotion.
DDB managing director Justin Mowday says that weaning brands away from discounting is the biggest challenge facing advertisers this year.
"Any client knows it can sell product when it is discounted. It’s not particularly hard.
"What is hard is creating engagement with consumers, which is two way, evolving and means the customer prefers your brand when its not on special."
Barnes Catmur & Friends managing partner Paul Catmur says brands are locked in a cycle of discounts that is difficult to break.
"Brands were too reliant on discounts before the global financial crisis; it just gathered more brands to join the fray."
Mr Catmur says the discounting has meant margins are being degraded in the race for the bottom.
"Successful brands have their margins cut, lesser brands go bust and the cycle starts again."
Professor Fam also believes the success of imports coming directly from Asia mean the importance of brands is fading.
"A watch from a good brand like Rolex will still tell the same time as a lousy brand watch. As technology has improved you can still buy items of a cheap nature but a high quality."
Source: National Business Revue
19 March 2013
The inaugural New Zealand Pacific Scholarship (NZPS) Academic Achievement Award 2012 was presented to outstanding Samoan student Epifania Afano at Victoria University on Thursday 14 March.
Epifania achieved the highest grade point average of all NZPS scholars in her first year of a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Systems, including excellent grades in papers that many international students normally struggle with such as FCOM111 (Government, Law and Business) and QUAN102 (Statistics for Business).
The award was presented by Anna Pasikale, Deputy Director for Human Development in the International Development Group (formerly NZAID) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"We are delighted to present this award to Epifania and hope that it encourages her to believe in her strong ability going forward into her second year," said Anna.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of Victoria International, who provide pastoral care and support for New Zealand Scholarship and other international students, Te Pūtahi Atawhai, the AVC Pasifika Office and other University student support staff.
The New Zealand Scholarships Programme is part of the New Zealand Government overseas development assistance fund, and currently provides scholarships for almost 180 students from developing countries to study at Victoria. This award was initiated in 2012 to incentivise and recognise academic excellence among scholarship recipients from the Pacific.
19 March 2013
Victoria University’s Business and Investment Club is holding a series of five seminars at market operator NZX’s headquarters in Wellington, covering investment in the sharemarket.
Club chairman and second-year commerce student David Rektorys says the first seminar, held in early March, looked at the sharemarket, how it works, the best time to invest and the differences between shares and other investments.
The second takes place on Monday 19 March and will look at basic investment strategies, most common investment mistakes and how to read annual reports.
Mr Rektorys says the club wants to show people that they do not need to be a millionaire to invest in the sharemarket.
"Shares offer a high-return way to really grow your money, instead of just saving."
Victoria Business School dean Professor Bob Buckle says the Business Club’s investment seminars are designed to improve understanding of finance and financial markets. They run until May.
Source: National Business Review
15 March 2013
The School of Marketing and International Business has secured a special invitation for one of their PhD students to attend the prestigious American Marketing Association-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium in Michigan from June 6-9.
The Consortium brings together up-and-coming marketing doctoral students with the world's most distinguished marketing faculty, offering presentations, workshops and networking events that encourage interaction and dialogue between renowned faculty and Consortium Fellows.
The SMIB research committee selected Lachlan McLaren, whose research title is 'Consumer processing of online advertisements', to attend the consortium.
"It was a very difficult decision, given the high quality of PhD students in our programme," says Associate Professor Dan Laufer, Chair of the SMIB Research Committee.
"However, Lachie was chosen by the research committee because of the importance of his research topic, as well as his ability to represent the school at this high profile event where the most prolific scholars in the field interact with top PhD students from leading marketing programmes."
Lachlan commenced his postgraduate studies at the School in 2008, and has also been involved with tutoring and the distance study, along with a position supporting academic staff using technology in their teaching at the Centre for Academic Development.
"I’m grateful for the continued support I have received from SMIB during my studies, which has given me the opportunity to experience many aspects of working at the university," he says.
Lachlan’s PhD research focuses on the attention people pay to interactive advertisements on the internet and the thoughts they have about them.
"I questioned if people even noticed the difference, if they chose to interact with them and if they thought differently about interactive ads.
"This directed my reading towards information processing theories in Marketing, as well as exploring theories related to interactivity and attention allocation."
Lachlan says the final results of his research will help better understand how consumers process online advertisements and indicate to advertisers when it is most appropriate to use interactive online advertisements.
The 2013 AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium will be held June 6-9 at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, on their Ann Arbor campus.
25 February 2013
The causes and consequences of decreasing public trust in business, and what this means for societies and the global economy, was the focus of a public lecture at Victoria Business School.
Harvard Professor and Victoria University alumnus Paul Healy discussed recent cases and research findings that provide insights into the causes of the loss of trust, its ongoing impact, and the changes required to rebuild confidence. Note: a copy of his PPT presentation can be downloaded below.
Professor Healy is the James R. Williston Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the Harvard Business School, where he researches and teaches in corporate governance and accountability, strategic financial analysis and financial reporting.
He cites Enron, the Madhoff Ponzi scheme, the global financial crisis and ongoing banking issues in Europe as just a few examples of many events causing public faith in business to decrease.
"People have a sense that the leaders of the firms involved in these scandals took a very narrow approach to management that served their own short-term interests, often at the expense of customers, employers, the company’s reputation and the financial system.
"This loss of trust is twofold: it’s in the individuals that lead corporations and the corporations themselves. That, I think, is the tragedy -- as a result of ethical lapses some leaders failed to preserve the reputation of their own organisations and led them to their demise."
Professor Healy says as a result increased regulation is being placed on business, and while this is appropriate, some laws will likely end up being heavy-handed. Another consequence is economic growth also slows, along with opportunities to reduce unemployment, as investors move their resources into more secure locations than the stock market. Meanwhile, innovative new businesses find it increasingly difficult to raise capital.
"Many of the challenges in the world today, such as providing affordable health care for ageing populations, or providing energy, water and food in ways that are economically and ecologically sustainable, need to involve business. But the consequences of recent events can lead to less business innovation in approaching these challenges."
He says in almost all of the scandals he’s observed, the problem can be traced to the company’s values.
"Corporate boards need to take a good look at the organisation’s values and ensure that they are not only rewarding short-term performance. Compliance systems in organisations need to be sufficiently robust and taken seriously, so that lapses are detected before they bring down the company."
Professor Healy graduated from Victoria University, majoring in accounting and economics, with first class Honours in 1977 and went on to complete his Master’s and PhD studies from the University of Rochester in New York. He spent 14 years at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, before joining Harvard Business School.
- Download the PPT presentation (50MB -- embedded video material)
- Download a PDF of the presentation (330KB -- 2 slides per page)
25 February 2013
A paper by Dr Janet Toland and Professor Pak Yoong, focused on the potential contribution that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can make to the development of learning regions, has won an award for best article in the Australasian Journal of Regional Studies.
The John Dickinson Memorial Award was presented by Professor Paul Dalziel at a celebration hosted by the School of Information Management. Professor Dalziel is President of the Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRSAI) and Deputy Director of the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) at Lincoln University.
The article, entitled ‘The Development of Learning Regions in New Zealand: The "6-I" Framework’, was based on Dr Toland’s 2010 PhD thesis supervised by Professor Yoong. They both lecture at the School of Information Management.
The "6-I" framework was developed to evaluate regional development using the concept of a “learning region”, which is a region that is regarded as being innovative and economically successful, with six key factors identified that could be used to measure its development.
Governments are increasingly making major investments in ICTs such as ultra-fast broadband in the belief that they will facilitate regional development, but little work has been done to assess the contribution of ICTs within a regional setting.
This article used the "6-I" framework to assess regional development in Southland and Wellington over the 20-year period from 1985 to 2005, looking at the potential contribution that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can make to the development of learning regions.
22 February 2013
Dr Gillian Oliver, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Information Management, has been appointed a member of the Archives Council.
The Council advises the Minister of Internal Affairs, responsible for Archives New Zealand, on record-keeping and archive related matters such as authorisations to dispose of public records, the approval of archive repositories; and criteria for the independent audit of the recordkeeping practices of the Chief Archivist.
Other activities include review of Archives New Zealand’s risk management strategy and review of customer and other stakeholder relations
"This appointment is an excellent achievement and reflects Gillian’s standing in her professional field", said Bob Buckle, Dean of Commerce at Victoria Business School.
Dr Oliver will be part of a seven-person team and takes up her appointment in March, for a three year term.
22 February 2013
Professor Kim Fam has picked up a Best Paper Award at the 5th International Borneo Business Conference, which had a theme of 'Business and Economic Sustainability in Asia'.
The co-authored paper, entitled "Chinese Generation Xers' Attitude toward Advertising: Evidence from Hong Kong and Shanghai Consumers", examined whether the ranking for ad likeability and dislikeability attributes are the same across Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The findings indicate that Generation Xers from these two cities believed advertising is entertaining and yet devious. The consistency could be attributed to the same social values shared by the Generation X cohort in metropolitan China.
Consumers from both cities disliked old-fashioned, repetitive, boring or annoying commercials, understandable given that both HK and Shanghai are very well developed and their citizens are rich, educated and sophisticated.
This study offered insights into beliefs about advertising, ad likeability and dislikeability, showing that culture, and to a lesser extent environment, are dominant forces in media consumption and consumer behavior among Generation Xers in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.
22 February 2013
The School of Management's Tourism Programme‘s accreditation with TedQual has been renewed for a further four years.
All existing programmes were renewed and an application for a new programme (the Tourism PhD) was successful.
TedQual certification is awarded by the World Tourism Organisation after independent external auditing of the degrees and of the University as a whole. TedQual certification provides students, staff and employers with assurance that the quality of these degrees meets worldwide standards.
7 February 2013
Professor Norman Gemmell, Chair in Public Finance, has authored a five-part series for the New Zealand Herald covering some of the economic issues facing New Zealand in a manner that makes them accessible to the wider public.
The first column, 'Asset Sales: Some Myths', covered the politically-charged decision to partially float state-owned enterprises and was published on 1 February.
29 January 2013
An analysis of the personality types, diet and exercise habits of more than 7000 people has shown that a positive attitude, and the belief that you can determine your life‘s outcomes, leads people to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Victoria Business School economist Dr Stefanie Schurer and colleagues from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research last year used data from the Australian Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to learn more about why people choose to lead healthy lives.
Dr Schurer says that economists traditionally believe behaviour can be changed by giving people more information, education or financial incentives to enable a rational decision to be made, but the group‘s research showed that to increase the uptake of healthy behaviours in a population you would need to address people‘s beliefs and perceptions first.
"The results of our analysis showed that individuals who identified that they believe their actions have an impact on the outcomes of their lives made healthier choices. They exercised more regularly, ate breakfast regularly, had a better diet generally, and were less likely to smoke."
The results also indicated that men and women had notably different reasons for making these choices.
"The majority of men who believed they could change outcomes in their lives and invested in their health did so because they believed they would enjoy better health in the future. Whereas women who also had a positive attitude and invested in their health generally did so because they simply enjoy these activities," says Dr Schurer.
The discussion paper was published by the University of Melbourne in the Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series in August 2012.
Dr Schurer says the difficulty for public health officials managing issues such as obesity is compounded by the results of another of her studies, which indicated belief systems are fairly stable in adulthood, even if individuals experience dramatic life events such as a serious health shock.
In the following YouTube clip, Dr Stefanie Schurer discusses her research.
29 January 2013
When comedy duo Flight of the Conchords interviewed school kids as part of composing a fundraising song for Cure Kids NZ in 2012, they asked: how much is a lot of money? A million and a hundred, ten and twenty-one dollars was one answer, a whole house full of money was another.
But how do children form opinions around money and value? And what role can parents play in influencing their children‘s development in this area?
Researcher Janine Williams, who graduated from the School of Marketing and International Business in 2012 with a Doctorate in Marketing, has authored a ground-breaking study which sheds light on how children perceive value as they age and become consumers.
To discover what influences children's decisions when buying products, Janine carried out in-depth interviews and analysed the purchasing diaries‘ of a group of 8-14 year olds. Until this study, little research had been conducted on value from a child‘s perspective.
Her results show that children as young as eight were canny in their purchasing, but what influenced their decisions changed remarkably as they got older.
"My research found that there were six dimensions to why kids decided to buy something ranging from its functional value -- what attributes did the product have, and how would it perform -- to its emotional value. For example, they talked about how they felt about the product and how happy it would make them feel."
"A purchasing decision was also influenced by social value of a product; for example, whether their peers also owned the product, and of course price -- could I afford it?"
Janine found that younger children tended to consider if they had enough money to buy the product, but not trade the benefits against the costs. They considered whether they had used a product before, and what it would do for them (for example, if would taste good, or be fun to play with).
Older children deliberated between the costs and benefits of buying something; they considered how long a product might last for and how much money needed to be spent on it to pay for it when it could be used to buy two cheaper products instead.
Younger children bought mostly toys and food, and the majority of these research participants sought the opinion of their parents before spending their pocket money. Janine says as children grew older, the social value of a purchase became more important.
"Research participants were concerned about fitting in with their friends and considered what others might think about them if they bought one product over another."
The study showed that, at any age, children‘s purchasing decisions were influenced by their emotions and by their previous experience of a product. Across all of the age groups studied, children also spoke of sometimes being dissatisfied or regretting a purchase.
Janine says her research has implications for policymakers considering the appropriate marketing of products and services to children, and to those involved in consumer education, including parents.
"As a parent I‘ve become more aware of gaps in my children‘s understanding. I think it‘s particularly important for younger children, who don‘t have the same concept of quality or understanding of price when they decide they want to buy something."
"Their measure of price is just about whether they can afford the product -- they don‘t consider whether something is expensive or cheap for what it is, or whether they‘ll enjoy that product for long enough to make its cost worthwhile."
24 January 2013
Winner of the annual student research contest organised by the Institute of IT Professionals was Nathan Hopkins from the School of Information Management, with a study on school students' use of "bring-your-own" digital devices.
The contest showcases the final-year work of top honours students from Wellington's tertiary sector in ICT-related fields. Hopkins' work was up against presentations on the use of consultants in ICT development, student preferences for digital or hard-copy study notes and ways of "genetically" developing better algorithms for visual recognition of objects.
The contest coincided with plans to institute student chapters of IITP nationwide, aiming at better engagement of the Institute with academia and industry, thus improving the training of future ICT professionals and encouraging relevant research. As an incentive to growth of such chapters, the IITP student membership fee has been set at an affordable $10.
Hopkins says his research is relevant to the Ministry of Education’s vision for integrated learning -- that students should be "confident, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners", and that technology is an important "conduit" to this objective.
His aim was to investigate the ways BYOD technology is being used and to offer some pragmatic recommendations to schools, the ministry and other stakeholders to improve the productive use of the technology.
BYOD being comparatively new, there is comparatively little research on its use in schools, Hopkins says.
"I wanted to establish not only what devices students are bringing to school, but what factors are affecting the use of those devices."
The study was conducted through a written survey, completed by 386 students. Positive outlook of teachers and peers to BYOD, the student's own positive attitude and sense of control over the technology -- implying adequate training in how to use it -- were judged particularly influential in success.
Second-placed was Samuel Hindmarsh, with a complex presentation on automated visual perception of objects and the idea that existing algorithms might be improved by mutation, crossing and selection of variants in a way analogous to evolution of successful living creatures. Hopkins won a cash prize of $300 and Hindmarsh $150.
The other competitors, Lana Traut and Aaron Young, were given $25 book vouchers as recognition of the good quality of all the presentations.