ESCP Europe offers a broad range of general and specialised programmes in various subjects with a cross-cultural approach to management.
ESCP Europe's Executive Education combines top-notch knowledge with a hands-on approach across our 6 campuses and beyond.
Corporate Relations provide companies with a unique gateway into the School and its highly dynamic and very culturally diverse student body.
ESCP Europe's strong network of 45,000 alumni in over 150 countries worldwide represents more than 200 nationalities.
Allan J. Kimmel is Professor of Marketing at ESCP Europe Paris campus. He serves as director of the Marketing Major-English track. He has served as a Visiting Professor of Marketing at Université Paris IX-Dauphine and ESSEC Business School, and invited lecturer at TEC de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico), Universidad de San Andres (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Turku School of Economics (Turku, Finland), and the University of Vassa (Vassa, Finland). He received an MA and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Temple University (U.S.A.). In addition to the general areas of consumer behavior and marketing communication, his research and writing interests focus on rumors and word of mouth, marketing ethics, connected marketing and the growing power of consumers, consumer interaction with products, and deception in consumer research. He has published extensively on these topics, including four books on research ethics and articles in American Psychologist, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Marketing News, The Journal of Behavioral Finance, Business Horizons, Ethics & Behavior, The Psychologist, and European Advances in Consumer Research, among others. He served as guest editor for a special issue of the Journal Psychology & Marketing and the Journal of Marketing Communications. He is a reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology and the Journal of Social Psychology, and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Marketing Communications and The Open Ethics Journal and is an advisory board member for the International Journal of Organizational Learning and Change (IJOLC). His most recent books include Rumors and Rumor Control: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combatting Rumors (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004); Marketing Communication: New Approaches, Technologies, and Styles (Oxford University Press, 2005); Ethical Issues in Behavioral Research: Basic and Applied Perspectives (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), Connecting With Consumers: Marketing for New Marketplace Realities (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Psychological Foundations of Marketing (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2012).
Consumer and Managerial Response to Commercial Rumors
Allan J. Kimmel is currently leading a cross-cultural research project on the impact of commercial rumors on consumers, companies, and brands. A specific focus of the research is to identify and assess the efficacy of management redress strategies for handling the potentially damaging impact of rumors. The findings to date highlight the prevalence and negative consequences of rumors in consumer goods sectors, suggest differences in effectiveness of specific rumor control strategies across different country settings, and add to our understanding of the factors underlying rumor transmission in the marketplace.
Deception in Consumer Research
Another of Allan J. Kimmel’s research paths is focusing on the development of a practical framework for guiding researchers in ethical decision making relative to the use of deception in human participant studies. Grounded in social contract theory and based in part on Kimmel’s ongoing content analyses of the frequency and kinds of deception employed in consumer and social psychological research, this project is intended to provide useful tools and guidelines for assisting researchers in avoiding or resolving ethical dilemmas that may emerge in the conduct of their investigations.
Marketplace Rumors and Redress Strategies: A Comparison of French and American Marketing Managers
[Written with Anne Françoise Audrain-Pontevia, ESC Rouen]
Given the seriousness of their potential effects, little is known about the specific kinds of company and product-related rumors that come to the attention of managers, how managers respond to rumors, and to what extent selected coping strategies effectively offset their damaging effects. Further, researchers have yet to focus on whether managerial rumor-coping strategies vary cross-culturally. These aspects of rumor activity, impact, and control from the perspective of French and American marketing professionals represent the essential concerns of this investigation. Specifically, our objectives were to identify the severity of effects attributed to rumor transmission, the efficacy of methods utilized to control or offset rumors, and the underlying psychological forces linked to rumor activity. Additionally, we examined similarities and differences within the two country samples studied. The findings revealed that rumors regularly reach the ear of marketing professionals; most frequently, rumors tended to comprise content of primary interest to consumers and stockholders, were received through informal communication channels, and were negative and anticipatory in nature, reflecting fears about impending events.
Evidence was obtained suggesting that rumors have the potential to impact both consumers and company staff members, for example, by reducing trust, resulting in bad press, and harming the reputation of specific individuals and the company in general. Attempts to increase trust and to provide requested information stood out as the strategies most likely to result in moderate to high effectiveness in successfully combating rumors for both countries studied.
Consumer Response to Marketplace Rumors: An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Analysis
[Written with Anne Françoise Audrain-Pontevia, ESC Rouen]
Relatively little attention has focused on the role of rumors in consumers’ reactions to products and services. As unverified stories in general circulation, rumors can have a variety of consequences on consumer relationships with firms. This research provides insight into the factors associated with the spread of rumors in the consumer marketplace and their effects on consumer behavior by presenting the results of a cross-cultural survey of American, Hispanic, and French consumers. The findings suggest that in consumer-related situations, people appear prone to transmit rumors in order to obtain cognitive clarity regarding the circumstances or events at hand. As the search for information does not appear to take place through formal mechanisms or channels, it appears that commercial rumors are self-perpetuating; that is, uncertainties give rise to rumors, which serve as hypotheses after the fact, and, once received, they are passed on to others in an effort to gain clarification as to their validity. Several cross-cultural differences were identified; for example, rumor transmission appears to serve primarily as a social facilitator for Hispanics by providing topical material of general interest to the group. By contrast, rumor transmission for French consumers is more apt to reflect a high degree of curiosity and speculation about impending marketplace events. Although consumers claim that rumors stimulate a search for information in attempts to confirm or refute them, a corresponding loss of trust may explain why consumers tend not to contact formal sources, such as the companies targeted by the rumor or governmental agencies.
Social Contract Theory and the Ethics of Deception in Consumer Research
[Written with N. Craig Smith (London Business School and Jill G. Klein (INSEAD)]
This research paper addresses a vitally important issue for the field of marketing by questioning the “taken-for-granted” status of deception in consumer research. Deception of research participants is arguably the most pervasive ethical issue in the study of consumers and yet researchers have little guidance on its acceptability, notwithstanding the ethics codes of root disciplines. While significant attention has been given to the methodological implications of deception within psychology, we conclude that a more fundamental examination of the ethics of deception is required. We turn to moral philosophy and use social contract theory to formulate principles that go beyond the extant codes to guide consumer researchers in their potential use of deception, showing how a social contract approach is superior to alternative theories. We conclude with a decision tree that incorporates the principles to provide theoretically well-grounded yet practical recommendations for decision-making on deception studies. The paper provides both new and experienced researchers with guidance on the use of deception and a better appreciation of its ethical and methodological implications.