Name: Allison Phillips
Hometown: Abilene, TX
Mentor: Dr. Laura Phillips, Management Sciences
What I Study: This past year, my fellow researcher, Megan Wixon, and I tried to determine whether or not consumers care if a company behaves in a socially responsible manner. We did this by giving our participants case studies to read about different companies, before giving them 4 quarters in exchange for their participation and offering them the chance to buy a piece of candy. The tricky part of the experiment is that some of the case studies were about the good things that these specific candy companies had been doing. When we ran analysis of our data, we found that our consumers’ purchasing decisions were not at all affected by the stories they’d read of socially responsible companies. This data led us to the disappointing conclusion that while consumers say they care about corporate social responsibility, they give greater deference to their taste buds than a company’s reputation.
Why I do research: I have a never ending list of questions about how the world works, and I love searching for the answers to those questions. Being able to develop an objective test to answer a question that no one else has answered is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, especially when the answer to that question can change the way that someone runs their business, treats a patient, or lives their life.
I also don’t hate the way that undergraduate research looks on my grad school applications ;)
Conferences: Allison presented her research at the 2013 ACU Undergraduate Research Festival.