Palmatier and Borah collaborate on Marketing Science Institute “Best Paper”

Rob Palmatier

Rob Palmatier

Researchers at the UW Foster School of Business have received the 2018 Robert D. Buzzell Best Paper Award from the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) for their study revealing the effects of Big Data’s dark side on firm performance.

The Foster School authors—Rob Palmatier and Abhishek Borah—share the honor with co-author Kelly Martin of Colorado State University.

MSI is a partnership of academic researchers from the top business schools in the world and marketing executives from more than 60 leading companies. And winning the institute’s Best Paper Award signifies a work of surpassing influence that extends well beyond the halls of academia.

This year’s award recognizes “The Dark Side of Big Data’s Effect on Firm Performance,” in which Palmatier, Borah and Martin identify the effects of customer data vulnerabilities—real and perceived—on customer behaviors and firm performance.

Across three levels of data vulnerability, the authors identify its significant impacts on firm performance, and the performance of close competitors. For instance, one study shows that the mere access to the personal data of customers inflates feelings of violation and reduces trust, creating negative word-of-mouth and increasing the probability that customers will switch to another provider.

The paper also offers managerial strategies to mitigate the harm from data vulnerabilities: enacting policies that are clear about how they are managing customer data and extending to customers greater control over how they data can be used.

Abhishek Borah

The awarded-winning working paper served as the foundation for “Data Privacy: Effects on Customer and Firm Performance,” published in the Journal of Marketing.

This is the second MSI Best Paper Award for Palmatier, a professor of marketing and the John C. Narver Chair in Business Administration at Foster. He received the same recognition in 2016 for his paper “Consequences of Customer Engagement: How Customer Engagement Alters the Effects of Habit-, Dependence-, and Relationship-Based Intrinsic Loyalty,” with Conor Henderson and Lena Steinhoff.

In addition to his prolific and award-winning research, Palmatier is the founding faculty director of the Foster School’s Center for Marketing and Sales Strategy.

Until July, Borah was an assistant professor of marketing at Foster, where he won the Undergraduate Professor of the Year Award for 2017-18. He is now an assistant professor at INSEAD, outside of Paris.