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April 21, 2011

College of Business Students and Faculty Present Research at 19th Annual Student Research Day, May 2-4, 2011

Research DaySeventeen College of Business students and eight business faculty members will present their findings at the 19th Annual UW-Eau Claire Student Research Day, May 2-4, 2011. Student Research Day posters will be on display in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Zorn Arena May 2, from 12 noon to 6:00 pm; May 3, from 8:00 am to 6 pm; and May 4, from 8 am to 12 noon. 

A Student Research Day reception will take place on Monday, May 2 at 3:15 pm in the Davies Center Tamarack Room. Student Research Day awards will be announced during the reception by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich in a program that begins at 4:15 pm.

The UW-Eau Claire Student Research Day is supported by funds from the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Grants supporting Faculty/Student Research Collaboration are made possible through funds provided by the Undergraduate Initiative of the University of Wisconsin System, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Blugold Commitment differential tuition provided by the undergraduate students.

2011 Collaborative Research Projects Completed by Business Students, Faculty

The names of College of Business students and faculty are highlighted in bold.



Department of Accounting & Finance

Online Review Manipulation
Student researcher: Adam Thomas Montgomery (accounting)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Ling Liu and Dr. Nan Hu, Accounting and Finance

The goal of this project is to assess the awareness and ability to identify manipulated online reviews. The impact of fraudulent online reviews on influencing consumers’ purchase decision is analogue to the impact of earnings management on investors’ trading behavior.

This project was completed with secondary data as a crutch to aid in the creation of an open/closed-ended survey. The pilot survey indicates that regardless of the wide evidences of the existence of online review fraud, awareness of such a manipulation is not vast, and that most people do not believe it to be a very large problem. The results from the main survey should reinforce these possible outcomes with an added section on whether different product classes are more susceptible to being manipulated.



Department of Information Systems

PictureMe Universe
Student researcher: Jeremiah Jordan Isaacson (IS, systems development)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Matt Germonprez, Information Systems

Sharing Communities are created, largely by participants engaged with processes of secondary design (Germonprez et al.,2007; 2009). The technical artifacts underlying these communities are initially designed with the intention of supporting, promoting, and encouraging people to contribute and negotiate the content of a system. But a technology artifact is empty and devoid of meaning without the activities of the community. Wikipedia is blank without contributions of authors and editors. Flickr is empty without people posting and tagging images. Twitter is nothing without the tweets. Sharing communities are unique in that they require the loyalty of a community willing to share time, energy, and expertise in the ongoing co-creation of value for an organization and its participants.

In this project, we are particularly interested in ad hoc sharing communities, communities that form without the obvious technical platforms of Wikipedia, Flickr, or Twitter. The communities in question form around specific items and a loose assemblage of personal technologies. We explore how a GPS device takes a photo, uses a focal point algorithm to identify the location of the picture taker, identifies other GPS devices in the range of view, and shares that photo with people in the newly created ad hoc sharing community.



Identifying Systems Development and Business Analyst Skills and Traits Desired by Employers in Graduating Information Systems Students
Student researchers: Lucas Harold Johnson (IS, business analysis) and Shaughn David Meixner (IS, business analysis)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jean A. Pratt, Information Systems

The purpose of this research was to identify the qualities and skills that current employers seek in graduates with IS degrees. This research will provide current and future students majoring in IS with a better understanding of what skills and traits make a good IS graduate and will aid students in deciding which emphasis, either Systems Development or Business Analysis, to pursue.

We first conducted a literature review of prior articles related to our topic. We then surveyed approximately 230 recruiters within the IS field.

Our research showed that the primary skills that employers and recruiters were seeking in graduates were communication (oral and written) and interpersonal skills. Teamwork, technical skills, and strong work ethic were also high on the list. The main developmental/technical skills that recruiters seek are troubleshooting, coding/programming, Java knowledge, networking, and software installation and knowledge. The top analytical skills that are sought after are problem solving, effectively communicating ideas, being able to formulate solutions, planning, and critical thinking. The top interpersonal skills are ability to work in a team, professionalism, leadership, being able to translate IT language to non-IT personnel, and patience.



Analysis of the Online Behavior of Global Internet Audiences
Student researcher: James Alexander Kasson (IS, business analysis)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Bruce W. N. Lo, Information Systems

This research seeks to better understand the online behaviors of global Internet audiences. Measurements of online behavior may be classified into three major categories: clickstream, stickiness, and reach. Clickstream measures the genealogy of website visits, consisting of a triplet of the upstream site, the target site, and the downstream site. Stickiness measures how effective a website can hold the attention of its visitors. This includes average stay, daily attention, page views, and pages per visit. Reach measures how widely a website can attract its potential audience. Metrics for reach may include daily reach, number of visits, and unique visitors.

Accurate online audience data are difficult to get. We consolidated web analytic data from three providers: Alexa, Compete, and Quantcast. These statistics were compared for the visitors to top-20 websites in 10 subject domains: finance, entertainment, e-retailing, health, media, social networking, recreation, online services, corporations, and knowledge sites. Trends and patterns were determined and discussed to assist e-business marketing specialists and web designers to more effectively reach out to their targeted audience.



Department of Management & Marketing

Super Bowl Ads and Firm Value Enhancement
Student researcher: Ashley Nicole Hofer (mass communications-public relations)
Faculty mentors: Dr. Charles L. Tomkovick and Dr. Rama Yelkur, Management and Marketing

As advertisers spend millions of dollars for commercials on Super Bowl Sunday, it is becoming increasingly important to produce returns on these pricey investments. This study compared the stocks of publicly traded Super Bowl advertising companies to the S&P 500 as one way to examine Super Bowl advertising effectiveness.

After exploring 15 years of data (1996-2010), data indicated stocks of Super Bowl advertisers surpassed the S&P 500 results by over 1 percent during the test period. In addition, this study identified a performance difference across 10 trading days, but no difference was found in the control period. This study also examined but found no links connecting stock price differences to ad likeability or industry category. The results of this research suggest simply advertising in the Super Bowl is an event independent of industry category, ad popularity and actual ad content.



An Analysis of the Relationship and Conceptualizing the Motivations and Benefits of Participating in the Freecycle Network
Student researchers: Kelsey Jean Irvine (marketing) and Justina Elizabeth Forsythe (marketing)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Julia R. Pennington, Management and Marketing

This research project investigated the benefits and motivations of participation in the Freecycle network. Freecycle is a voluntary network in which people gift their used possessions to others.

The purpose of this project was to develop an understanding of this under-studied element of participation within a marketing system using gifting exchanges. This study examined how and why people participate within Freecycle in both a receiver and giver position. Interviews were conducted

both via telephone and face to face to receive information on how and why participants are involved in the Freecycle community. Interviews were analyzed in a qualitative software package. Several themes emerged from this research on why participates are members of the Freecycle community including participants wanting to recycle products, keeping products out of landfills, and enjoyment of gifting items.



Olympic Games Advertising and Firm Performance of Advertisers: An Analysis of the Relationship and Trends
Student researcher: Allison Kay Williams (marketing-marketing analytics)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Rama Yelkur and Dr. Charles L. Tomkovick, Management and Marketing

The purpose of this study is to examine whether Olympic advertisers experience stock price gains during the event and if this only occurs during the period of the Olympics games.

We identified advertisers that participated in the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 Olympics and in total 225 firms that advertised during the previous six Olympics were included in this study. We measured the success of Olympics advertising by evaluating stock price performance of firms that advertise in the Olympics. We proposed that Olympics Stocks would outperform the market in the four-week period surrounding the games. We tested for a four week period 13 weeks prior to each of the games to verify that Olympics stocks don’t always outperform the market.

Results indicate that Olympics stocks outperformed the market by approximately 2 percentage points in the period surrounding the six games studied at a 0.001 significance level. No significant difference was found (p=0.116) between the performance of the Olympics stocks and the market in the control period. The study also confirms that the stock price gains for television advertisers during the Olympics holds true for both the summer and winter games.



Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Blugold Beginnings Elementary Research
Student researchers: Cara Mee Shimon (management-operations/materials management), Cassidy Megan Brandt, Aubrey Jo Charlier
Faculty mentor: Lissa Jo Martinez, Student Affairs/Dean of Students Office

The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the Blugold Beginnings project by studying the impact of precollege mentoring on underrepresented students. The Blugold Beginnings program is designed to increase the number of underrepresented, low-income/racially diverse students within the greater Eau Claire area participating in post-secondary education.

Researchers will develop tools, gather and analyze data and gain direct research experience working with data and subjects. The faculty/staff mentor has provided student researchers’ access to subjects: active mentors, teachers, parents, and elementary students participating with the program. Pre- and post-assessments were used. Pre-assessments were administered in October, 2010 and post assessments will be administered in April, 2011. Data and results concerning the impact of the Blugold Beginnings program will be shared from active mentors, teachers, parents, and elementary students participating with the program.



Department of Economics

The Great Recession and Subsequent Recovery in the Chippewa Valley: What Did Happen and What is Happening?
Student researchers: Stephen James Fisher, Justin Robert Prahl (business economic, finance), John William Peppler (business economics, finance), and Benjamin Salisbury Streeter
Faculty mentor: Dr. Eric M. Jamelske, Economics

Beginning in late 2008, the financial sector of the US economy fell on rough times. Very quickly it became evident that what began as a financial crisis had turned much worse and America soon found itself in the Great Recession. By most accounts, this was the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression with substantial job losses and rising unemployment. In addition, many households were also finding it difficult to maintain their health insurance and their mortgages. In short, the Great Recession created a significant burden on the economy and in people’s lives throughout 2009 and into 2010.

As we are now in 2011, there is talk that the recovery has begun, but there are still warning signs that the trouble has not completely passed. Our research poster will examine the extent of the damage from the Great Recession on many fronts in the Chippewa Valley. We will then examine the degree to which the recovery has taken hold in this region. All data will be presented graphically as well as described and analyzed in text.



Effects of Health Indicators on Wage Differentials, Employment, and Employer Discrimination
Student researcher: Justin Eldon Mork (MIS)
Faculty mentors: Dr. Eric M. Jamelske and Dr. Wayne D. Carroll, Economics

Worker health and health care costs within the US economy have long been issues of steadily increasing concern as individual workers and small employers are slowly priced out of competitive markets because of rising health care costs associated not only with direct pricing increases but also an aging and increasingly more infirm labor force. It is the goal of this project to discuss the issues surrounding the moral hazard provided by health insurance from a positive economic approach with an emphasis on discrepancies between healthy and unhealthy individuals within the labor market.

This project will explore the effects of two common health indicators (smoking and obesity) on worker productivity and wages. The analysis will be a result of comparing available data from multiple sources to determine if a material productivity gap exists and how severe any existing gap may be. Data and conclusions will be used to determine if employees (a) receive a comparable wage differential based on their higher non-wage costs, and (b) are effectively discriminated against by receiving a lower wage than their non-wage costs and productivity gap suggest, or instead, if the higher costs of workers with negative health indicators show discrimination against healthy workers.



Testing Two Market Hypotheses: The Counter-Cyclical Nature of Gold Prices & January as a Predictor of Market Performance for the Year
Student researchers: Eric Peter Nohelty (finance, business economics), Zachary Michael Hines, Matthew Michael Porwoll (business economics, finance), and Lauren Marie Buxton (finance, business economics)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Eric M. Jamelske, Economics

There are many different theories and strategies concerning the stock market. We have compiled data to test two of these theories. The first theory we will be looking at is one that states that market performance in the month of January can be used as a predictor for the performance of the entire year. The second theory is that gold is counter-cyclical to the broad market and is a good place to invest in a bear market. The Chippewa Valley Center for Economic Research and Development (CVCERD) collects market data on four different investment strategies and also provides an overview of overall market conditions through its Stock Market Project. Our research poster will use this data to examine the legitimacy of these two stock market theories.



What do College Students across China Think about Global Warming?
Student researchers: Matthew Louis Sackmann, Drew R. Christensen (business economics, finance), Joy M. Larson, and Benjamin Thomas Ponkratz (management)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Eric M. Jamelske, Economics

Global warming has become a very important issue. It is not just an issue for one country or a few countries, but rather it is a global issue. But is Global warming really happening and if so what is causing it, what are the consequences and what could or should we do about it?

Motivated by the above statement/questions we are conducting a survey examining what college students in China think about this important issue. Our focus is on college students because they are young and therefore represent the future. Similarly, we are focusing on China for two reasons. First, in absolute terms, China is the single largest emitter of CO2 in the world. Second, they are one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but there is still much poverty in China as per-capita GDP lags behind almost all developed countries. We are just now collecting this data and thus do not have any results to include in this abstract.

We are also conducting the same survey among college students at four universities in different regions of the US. Therefore, part of our presentation will compare the viewpoints of young adults in China to their counterparts in the US.

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