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COVID-19: Researchers examine impact across business and society

  • Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2020

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Along with academics across the globe, faculty in the UCD College of Business adapted their research agendas during the year in response to the COVID-19 crisis. On November 6, the ERC MISFIRES project and UCD Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS) presented the first in a series of two Research Mornings highlighting the work of College faculty currently researching topics around the impact of COVID-19.

“As researchers, we were as much caught by surprise as everyone else by the pandemic, which disrupted ‘business as usual’ in profound ways," said Professor of Marketing and Market Studies Susi Geiger. “It was clear to many of us that we had to immediately adjust and redirect our work as we endeavour to understand the most pressing issues of our time, not only to help the health of the economy, but to have a positive impact on society across a broad range of industries.”

The first Research Morning featured six faculty who presented the findings of their research.

“The presentations display the breadth and relevance of the research being done on COVID-19 and pandemic issues at the UCD College of Business. We received a tremendous response to the call for submissions from across all Subject Areas showing the resilience and responsiveness of our research community,” said Professor Geiger.

Kicking off the session, Assistant Professor of Marketing Julie Schiro and Dr. H. Lauren Min from the University of Kansas extended their work into decision making behaviours by investigating Social Distancing & Mask-wearing in Response to COVID-19: How conflicting social and physical threats compete to influence behaviour.

“What we’re looking at is the tension between social well-being and physical well-being,” said Dr Schiro. “This project began with our own personal experiences. In early March, Lauren and I were traveling to the same conference in California and were the only ones on the flight wearing a mask at the time. As you can imagine, we got a lot of dirty looks.”

Drs Schiro and Min surveyed 900 participants from across the US, UK and Ireland and asked how likely they were to wear a mask through a series of questions gauging physical and social threats.

“What we found was that when people were really scared, they were relatively resilient to social threats—in other words, they could withstand a lot of dirty looks and still stay committed to wearing a face mask,” explained Dr Schiro. “But as people become less scared, they become more sensitive to social risks. In other words, they could withstand fewer dirty looks before abandoning mask-wearing.”

“This suggests that establishing healthy social norms is imperative for encouraging continued adherence to protective behaviours, such as mask wearing, when collective fear around the virus drops,” said Assistant Professor Schiro.

Next, Professor Andreas Hoepner, Markus Leippold, Yanan Lin and Andrew Vivian discussed COVID-19’s Effective Reproduction Rate across 178 Countries: Which containment measures actually work well? and Antonio Garzon Vico, Dimitar Krastev, Martin Lindh, Sean Coleman, Rachel Bourke and Ken Hession presented their work on The Evolution of COVID-19 National Strategies: A Comparative Study across 5 Nations.

Assistant Professor Darren Thomas Baker expanded his research on precarious work in Stepping into Leadership: Understanding the careers and leadership practices of women and men in precarious occupations in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Professor Niamh Brennan, Victoria Edgar and Sean Power published COVID-19 Profit Warnings: Delivering Bad News in a Time of Crisis, while Dr Alessia Paccagnini presented her work on Testing the predictive accuracies of COVID-19 forecasts.

A recording of the presentations from November 6 can be viewed here.

“The breadth and number of presentations bear witness to the highly relevant and timely research being done across the UCD College of Business,” continued Professor Geiger.

Professor Geiger is currently leading a team of researchers from Ireland in a European study, Solidarity in times of a Pandemic, examining how citizens respond to measures imposed by governments to enable policy makers to build more effective crisis management strategies in the future.

“The goal of the project is to assist policy makers to make better decisions during future waves of COVID-19 or new pandemics in areas of preparedness, prevention and containment,” continued Professor Geiger. “By gathering experts in various fields from countries across the European Union we hope to gather in depth information in this large comparative study.”

Along with five other researchers, Professor Geiger will present her findings at the second event on Friday, November 27. The full schedule is listed below.

Orla Byrne, Julia Backmann, Luca Pistilli, Coping with Covid: Resilience strategies of entrepreneurs during the pandemic

Annunziata Esposito Amideo, Alessia Paccagnini, Luca Pistilli, SMARTER4COVID-19: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Support Decision-Making for COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

Susi Geiger, Ilaria Galasso, et al. (ERC project “MISFIRES”), Solidarity in Times of a Pandemic

Luca Pistilli, Alessio Cozzolino, Rossella Cappetta, Organizational Transformation Toward the Agile Paradigm: The Mixed Effect of Covid-19

Hakan Karaosman & Donna Marshall Horizontal Innovation: How Covid-19 has Exposed Brand Instrumentalism and Supplier Collaboration in the Fashion Industry

Sabina Stan and Roland Erne (ERC project “European Unions”), The EU's New Economic Governance Prescriptions in Healthcare (2009-2019): Preparing the Bed for the Covid Pandemic

Register here for the event on Friday, November 27 at 11:00 am.

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