Evolutionary and Darwinian Methodological Endeavours in Management Research, 16th EURAM Conference, Glasgow, June 2017


Brand Power Relationships. Towards a Co-Evolutionary Approach

Michela Mingione (University of Tor Vergata)

This paper aims at reconciling corporate branding perspectives using the co-evolutionary approach as a meta-conceptual basis. In particular, in considering the managerial-driven and stakeholder-driven perspectives dominating the corporate branding field of research, we provide a multilevel analysis of corporate brand constituents and explore the brand power relationships highlighting differences between perspectives. We offer an integrated framework proposing the Brand Power Relationship Model, then where the Co-Evolutionary Brand, amongst the other proposed typologies of brands (i.e., None’s Brand, Managers’ Brand, and Stakeholders’ Brand) reconciles the managerial and stakeholder-based perspectives, taking into consideration the driving power of both managers and stakeholders. Case histories have been provided for each brand typology (i.e., Kodak, Facebook and LEGO). We finally discuss the findings, proposing that brands can successfully co-create their value and meanings only if managers and stakeholders co-evolve over time.

Viral Ice Buckets: A Memetic Perspective on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’s Diffusion
Theresa Knausberg (University of Hohenheim), Matthias Mueller (University of Hohenheim), Michael P. Schlaile (University of Hohenheim) and Johannes Zeman (University of Stuttgart)
This paper presents a memetic perspective on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. More specifically, the paper contributes to applied memetics by shedding light on endogenous (meme-related) as well as exogenous (structural) properties that have influenced the Ice Bucket Challenge’s diffusion. In the first pillar, we present a (descriptive) memetic analysis of the diffusion pattern, including an evaluation of the Ice Bucket Challenge according to memetic criteria for successful replication. In the second pillar, we present an agent-based simulation model designed to analyze the influence of structural properties of the underlying social network on the Ice Bucket Challenge’s diffusion. Our findings are in line with previous literature that stresses the importance of the degree distribution. The paper concludes with implications derived from our analyses that may be useful for future viral marketing campaigns aimed at raising awareness and funds for a good cause.

Teaching Graduate Entrepreneurs to Evolve; From Increased Self-efficacy to Start-up

Dermot Breslin (University of Sheffield)

This paper reports findings from a 2-year entreprise education study, in which a cohort of undergraduate business management students was taught to interpret the start-up process as an evolutionary journey. Drawing on key principles of Generalized Darwinism, the discovery and exploitation of opportunities was simplified through the mechanisms of variation-selection-retention of ideas and skills respectively. As the students ‘learned to evolve’, self-belief and confidence in their ideas and abilities increased over the course of the module. Alongside this increase in self-efficacy, there was a significant increase in the number of start-ups (18% of the cohort). It was further seen that as participants adopting this evolutionary perspective, they increasingly focused changes made to their ideas on marketing-related issues (e.g. identifying target market, market research etc). The more the individual focused on marketing as a source of change, the better the improvement in quality of the idea.

Time-Related Effects of Entrepreneurship education on Entrepreneurial Intentions: An Evolutionary Approach

Dung Pham (Eastern International University, Paul Jones (Coventry University), and Stephen Dobson (Coventry University)

Entrepreneurship education (EE) continues to grow in prominence with scholars advocating its positive relationship with entrepreneurial intention (EI). The availability of entrepreneurship courses acts as an influencer of attitudinal factors in forming EI. Although extant research has considered entrepreneurial cognition amongst students, factors that determine the longitudinal evolution of intention remain unclear, thus significantly reducing the potential to observe the “process” nature of entrepreneurship over time. This study evaluates how EE exerts influence on the temporal stability in EI, highlighting several conscious/unconscious intentions and behaviours invoked by confirmatory bias. By adopting an evolutionary approach to entrepreneurship, the study derives a cognitive model of EI, which considers temporal, environmental and individual factors. The generic model highlights the need to embrace an amalgamation of multiple anticipatory and adaptive intentions and subsequent behaviours in the process of making sense of, forming and preserving EI. This model is applied to 389 students from Vietnam. The results indicate subjective histories of success (SHS) and entrepreneurial identity aspiration (EIA) are factors that subconsciously influence EI in students. The findings contribute to the theories of EI and provide practical implications on EE, while calling for further work on the stability of EI, especially from a cognitive and evolutionary perspective.

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