XLRI establishes a behavioral sciences lab

BS carries an article today on this initiative by XLRI – India’s premier B-school.

It has set up a behavioral lab to study why people buy/consume in India:

Increasingly these days, management researchers and marketers are challenging the accepted results of traditional research. These challenges, often fuelled by a keen intuition, can now form the basis of experiments that allow us to understand the processes of the consumer’s and individual brain that even he or she is unaware of. XLRI is the first B-school in the country to set-up a Behavioral lab to understand individual and group behaviour.

The Behavioral Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory designed for the study of human subjects. A major resource of the XLRI, the Lab is available for use by all XLRI faculty, Fellow researchers, and post graduate students. The interdisciplinary nature of the Lab means that it collaborates extensively with all the departments on the XLRI campus and, through collaborations with our faculty and students, works with outside research institutions to bring new insights in the field of management.

Lab is also in the process to collaborate with researchers and institutes of repute in the field and look forward to establish itself as a one stop solution for all behavioral and neurological research in management sciences.

It plans to build a network of researchers on the subject:

The lab is determined to establish a panel of over 3000 people from different walks of life. XLRI, being a premier B-school, has students of varied profiles and backgrounds on campus. The students range from those fresh out of college to those with more than eight years of work experience. This combined with a mix of students from various parts of the country, with different backgrounds means that the behavioral labs have a very heterogeneous set of volunteers for the experiments. Thus provides scope for testing out youth oriented products and policies.

The Lab will also provide a sample from city population of Jamshedpur and rural population of East Singhbhum District. Jamshedpur is a cosmopolitan city with a population of over 14 lakh and has a literacy rate as high as 83%. Jamshedpur is home to several industrial units namely Tata Steel and Tata Motors. People working with these and many other companies come from different parts of the country and hence provides a heterogeneous sample (income, age, cultural background, education level etc.) to carry out experiments and controlled testing.

 A researcher can use the services of the lab manager in selecting and finalizing ones sample depending upon the requirements of the experiment. If need be services can also be taken to recruit new respondents to meet one’s requirement. The city has over 201,340 vehicles and 645 cooperative societies.

It has some prior experience on using behavior sciences via its marketing fairs.

Scope of work is pretty extensive from marketing to beh eco and finance:

  • Consumer Behavior Studies
    • How consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives.
    • Contextual studies: How consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media).
    • Shopping behaviour: Individual behavior while shopping in a retail store.  .
    • Information processing: Consumer knowledge or information processing abilities and its influence on decisions.
    • Motivation studies: Consumer motivation and decision strategies.
    • Brand Choice behaviour: brand selection, impression formation etc
    • Communication studies: Advertising effectiveness, message response, promotion response etc.
    • Product Studies: Effect and perception of packaging, Concept Testing,  Comparative Evaluation and  New Product Preferences
    • Pricing studies: Price Sensitivity, Price Evaluation, Price quality Relationship
  • Organizational Behaviour Studies
    • Group behavior: Study of group dynamics, group decision making, communication, group problem solving and distributed tasks.
    •  Leadership studies: Strategic behavior, team performance, leadership, power, and morality etc.
    • Individual behavior: Decision making, social justice, stereotyping, attitude formation and change, information processing etc.
  • Economics
    • Behavioral economics: Studies psychological aspects that interfere with decision making. Experiments can be designed to study the evolution of rationality.
  • Finance
    • Behavioral finance
    • Investment Decisions
    • Risk studies
  • Human Resource Management
    • Negotiation studies: Risk perception studies in union- management negotiations, bargaining tactics etc.
    • Worker-employer relations studies
    • Work-place environmental studies
    • Power struggle studies
    • Conflict studies in industrial relations

This should be exciting for sure. They should publish the results extensively. An institute of repute like XLRI has not put any of research/working papers on the website despite having a page for it. Sharing research on behavioral studies could be a beginning.

This blog has been advocating a need for a behavioral research centre at government level. We still do not have that but atleast have some beginning at a top B-school. Looking forward to research from this centre..

One Response to “XLRI establishes a behavioral sciences lab”

  1. Joseph George A Says:

    Interesting…Intent is in place….

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