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Visiting PhD student takes his service research to the States

Global | May 02, 2017 |

If you’ve ever used a Zipcar or taken a Citi Bike for a spin, you’ve been a participant in what is known as the sharing economy.

Before you decided to take that car trip or bike ride, did you think about who used the car or bike before you? Or who would use it after you? What about the possibility that you might damage the vehicle?

These are all questions customers consider when thinking about using “access-based services,” says Simon Hazée, a visiting PhD student from the University of Liege in Belgium. His research focuses on the barriers in the sharing economy—such as complexity, contamination, compatibility, and reliability—and how companies can create trust to overcome those barriers.

After meeting both Lerzan Aksoy, associate dean of undergraduate studies and professor of marketing, and Sertan Kabadayi, associate professor and marketing area chair, Hazée arranged to visit the Gabelli School of Business for two months this semester to work on his research, which he shared with Fordham faculty and students.

It’s been helpful to “exchange ideas with people who have a research mindset” here on campus, he says, and the international experience has been beneficial both to his academic and personal development. One thing he didn’t expect, but that won’t come as a surprise to those within the Gabelli School community, is “how fast [he] was considered as part of the team and felt integrated.”

In addition to his attention to the sharing economy, Hazée has a particular interest in how companies can rebuild trust after service failure. Thanks to the United Airlines episode that has been in the news recently, he had a timely opportunity to focus on this topic as a guest lecturer in a Gabelli School service marketing course. He also wrote a paper with colleagues which will soon be submitted to the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

In between sharing research with colleagues, Hazée has made time to explore New York City, finding that “after one week, I felt like I was living here for many years.” The sense of community he experienced at Fordham extended to the five boroughs.

“I think people are very open,” he says. “They’re always ready to help you.”

For a PhD student invested in service marketing, that’s a welcome thing to discover.

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