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Research highlights

To Bolster a New Year’s Resolution, Ask, Don’t Tell: Study finds that questioning influences behavior

“Will you exercise this year?” That simple question can be a game-changing technique for people who want to influence their own or others’ behavior, according to a recent study spanning 40 years of research. The research is the first comprehensive look at more than 100 studies examining the “question-behavior effect,” a phenomenon in which asking people about performing a certain behavior influences whether they do it in the future. The effect has been shown to last beyond six months after questioning. In a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Washington State University marketing professor David Sprott and researchers from the University of California, Irvine, the University at Albany, State University of New York and the University of Idaho examined why the effect occurs.

It’s all about ‘me’ : The influence of narcissism on customizable products

Thanks to social media, everyone knows a Sally Selfie or someone who constantly self-promotes. Marketing and psychology researchers say a rising trend in narcissism is cause for retailing and manufacturing firms offering customizable products to rethink their marketing strategies. In a new study published in the Journal of Retailing, Washington State University marketing professor David Sprott and colleagues suggest that firms should consider customers’ narcissistic tendencies as well as the ability to influence their current states of mind to take advantage of the largely untapped potential of systems that allow customers to design and customize products.

Corporate responsibility eases customer reaction to bad service

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) – such as donating money to build a new children’s hospital or implementing onsite daycare to accommodate parents – can protect companies in the wake of service failures, according to two studies. Lead author Jeff Joireman and fellow researchers explore when and why CSR buffers firms against service failures.

Book delivers critical tips on how to publish research

Scholars seeking to improve their research practices and successfully contribute to their fields may benefit from “How to Publish High-Quality Research,” a book coauthored by researchers Jeff Joireman of Washington State University and Paul Van Lange of VU University Amsterdam.

Everyday failures compromise goals for a healthy lifestyle and society

Even one small act, such as failing to recycle a water bottle, can decrease commitment to an overall goal of well-being, such as protecting the environment, say international marketing researchers. Writing in the Journal of Marketing, a study by researchers from Washington State University (David E. Sprott), the University of California, Irvine (Eric R. Spangenberg), the University of Idaho (Berna Devezer), and the University of Lausanne (Sandor Czellar) offers insights into what can be done to help consumers stick to their goals.

Motivations of organic food buyers

Predicting whether consumers will purchase organic or conventional food is a multimillion dollar gamble within the food sector. A novel paper by marketing researchers at Washington State University (Darrel Muehling), the University at Albany, State University of New York (Ioannis Kareklas), and the University of Connecticut (Jeffrey Carlson) will help advertisers more effectively target the fast-growing organic food market.

Turning customer revenge into reconciliation

A research paper by marketing professors Washington State University (Jeff Joireman, Thomas Tripp), HEC Montreal (Yany Grégoire) and the University of (Berna Devezer) offers insight into what firms can do after a service failure to earn a second chance with customers. The research team identifies ways to increase customers’ desire for reconciliation and reduce their desire for revenge.

Effects of non-conscious mental processes on consumer behavior

Consumer behavior research has focused largely on methodologies that explore consumers’ conscious beliefs. While important, these measures tell only part of the story, suggests marketing professor Andrew Perkins. In what ways do non-conscious cognitions drive consumer behavior?

Successful interfirm partnering

How can firms develop the skills to manage relationships with other firms in order to enhance marketplace outcomes? Gardner O Hart Distinguished Professor Jean L. Johnson co-authored an award-winning article, “The Role of Relational Knowledge Stores in Interfirm Partnering,” exploring the issue.

Resisting impulse buying

Every year Americans spend $4 billion on impulse purchases—items they didn’t intend to buy when they entered the store. With a little exercise, even weak-willed shoppers can fight the impulsive buying urge and win, say marketing researchers Jeff Joireman and David Sprott of the Carson College of Business, along with Abdullah Sultan of Kuwait University.


The marketing department’s areas of research include the following:

  • Advertising disclosures
  • Advertising effectiveness
  • Advertising information processing
  • Branding and brand management
  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Consumer decision-making
  • Cultural differences
  • Design in marketing
  • Influence strategies
  • Interfirm relationships
  • Managerial decision-making
  • Marketing public policy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Multi-channel distribution strategies
  • Nostalgia
  • Pricing
  • Public policy
  • Retailing
  • Sensory perception
  • Social influence
  • Social psychology topics such as time orientation and self-control
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Support for charities
  • Technology-based start-up companies

Many members of the marketing department faculty are scholars in the Center for Behavioral Business Research, which focuses study on behavioral and consumer issues affecting modern organizations.

International business

Research highlights

Sustainable marketing strategy

How do marketing activities and strategies affect sustainable development and pro-environmental consumption behaviors in the global marketplace? Professor Patriya Tansuhaj examines corporate social responsibility in the age of environmental change.


Primary areas of research in international business include the following:

  • Cross-national effects of social institutions on work and organizations
  • Economic impact and sustainability of development projects
  • Effect of taxation and subsidies on production incentives
  • Entrepreneurship—global compliance
  • Ethical climates in multinational organizations
  • Export performance of small and medium enterprises
  • Global business law and policy
  • International entrepreneurship
  • International education
  • International strategy and structure
  • Marketing and export diversification
  • Product pricing in developing countries
  • Strategic global case governance and policy
  • Tourism development
  • Travel satisfaction
Washington State University