Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mid-level scientists most likely to use new research tools, says study

Date:
August 4, 2014
Source:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Summary:
Scientists in the middle of the status hierarchy, not those at the top or the bottom, are the first to work with easy-to-use commercial products, a study finds. They are also the most prone to imitate their prior collaborators' use of such commercial kits. These are among the findings of a study of scientists-as-customers.

Scientists in the middle of the status hierarchy, not those at the top or the bottom, are the first to work with easy-to-use commercial products. They are also the most prone to imitate their prior collaborators' use of such commercial kits. These are among the findings of a study of scientists-as-customers appearing in Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Related Articles


"Nonmonotonic Status Effects in New Product Adoption" is by Yansong Hu of the University of Warwick and Christophe Van den Bulte of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. It currently appears in the Articles in Advance Section of Marketing Science.

"Our findings suggest that high-status scientists need not be the most effective seeding points for new commercial research tools," says Dr. Van den Bulte. "Even though they exerted the greatest influence on their peers, high-status scientists were actually slower to convert to using convenient kits. So, for companies introducing new products, targeting marketing efforts exclusively towards high-status scientists in the hope that they will influence others may slow down rather than accelerate their products' acceptance. "

The study analyzed how quickly 8,259 life scientists, spread across the globe, started using commercial kits to perform site-directed mutagenesis, a type of genetic engineering, in the period 1988-1997. Though that research technique was developed in the 1970s, it remained cumbersome until 1988 when commercial kits appeared on the market, providing researchers with a proven set of materials and step-by-step instructions. Such kits allow life scientists to work faster, publish faster, and so improve their status.

Studying scientists as customers allows the study to measure status in two different ways: First, by how many times each scientist's work was cited by fellow researchers; and second, by how central each scientist was in the network of scientific collaboration. Studying scientists also allows researchers to measure the effects of status in a manner that is not confounded by differences in wealth or education.

The differences in scientists' behavior were rather large. The odds of a scientist in the top 30-40% of the citations hierarchy to start using a kit were about 50% greater than those of a scientist at the bottom 10% and about 100% greater than those of a scientist in the top 10%. The odds of a scientist in the top 40-50% of the citations hierarchy to start using a kit following the adoption by one additional prior collaborator were about twice those of scientists at the bottom 10% or the top 10%.

A similar pattern emerged when measuring status as being central in the network of scientific collaboration: Middle-status scientists were more likely to adopt the kits quickly and were more prone to social influence than either low or high-status scientists.

Experiments in social psychology provide an explanation for these findings. People of low status don't expect to improve their situation much by their actions whereas those of high status don't see the need to do so. As a result, people in the middle of the status hierarchy are most sensitive to opportunities and threats to their status.

"This work," says Dr. Van den Bulte, who teaches marketing at the Wharton School, "has some implications for firms and not-for-profit organizations marketing new products to customers other than scientists. First, when the product is subject to peer influence, they may be better off targeting not only high-status prospects who are influential but also middle-status prospects who are easier to convert quickly. This is especially so for products that help users increase their status, like the commercial kits we studied. Second, conflicting findings on the power of opinion leaders have come from studies assuming that everyone is equally influenceable or assuming that the higher one's status, the lower one's susceptibility to peer influence. Our findings indicate that a more nuanced approach may be necessary to understand who influences whom."

The studies' authors are members of the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science (ISMS). This research was made public in conjunction with the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science (ISMS). ISMS is a group of scholars focused on describing, explaining, and predicting market phenomena at the interface of firms and consumers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yansong Hu, Christophe Van den Bulte. Nonmonotonic Status Effects in New Product Adoption. Marketing Science, 2014; 33 (4): 509 DOI: 10.1287/mksc.2014.0857

Cite This Page:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Mid-level scientists most likely to use new research tools, says study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804123354.htm>.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (2014, August 4). Mid-level scientists most likely to use new research tools, says study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804123354.htm
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Mid-level scientists most likely to use new research tools, says study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804123354.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins