I do research on consumers, entrepreneurs, and the markets they interact in. I’m interested in how brands, firms and markets emerge and evolve, and in how consumers and entrepreneurs shape them and respond to them. In addition I maintain an active line of inquiry devoted to understanding how research contributions can be constructed using qualitative methodologies.
2019 Visiting Speaker: Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo; Cass Business School, London, UK
2019 Faculty Mentor: Theory in Qualitative Research Seminar, Ankara Turkey & Qualitative Data Analysis Workshop, Montreal, Quebec
2018 Visiting Speaker: Columbia University, New York; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
2017 Visiting Speaker: University of Southern Denmark; New York University, Pontifical Catholic University of Chil
2017-2019 Research Advisory Committee, SKEMA University, France
2016-2019 Faculty Fellow, European Marketing Association Doctoral Colloquium.
2016 Faculty Fellow, AMA Sheth Doctoral Consortium, Notre Dame University.
2016 Visiting Speaker: Nanyang Technical University; Iowa State University, University of Edinburgh; SKEMA, Lille; University of Birmingham; University of Innsbruck; Concordia University
2016 Invited Panelist, American Marketing Association Winter Conference, Las Vegas
2015-2017 Faculty Fellow, AMA Sheth Doctoral Consortium, LBS, London, UK
2014 Keynote Speaker, Consumer Culture Theory Workshop, Brisbane, Australia
2014 Co-Chair of Association for Consumer Research Doctoral Symposium, Baltimore MA
2013 Visiting Speaker, University of Bath
2013 Visiting Speake r, University of Lille, Lille, France
2013 Visiting Speaker, Cass Business School, London
2012 Advisory Board Member for School of Economics, Aalto University
2011 Keynote speaker, Qualitative Data Analysis Workshop, Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois
2011 Visiting Speaker, University of Hawaii
2011 Visiting Speaker, University of Wyoming
2011 Visiting Faculty, University of Sydney
2010 Reviewer Excellence Certificate Award, Family Business Review
2009 Invited speaker at Global Consumer Culture seminar, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne
2009 Faculty Mentor at Theory in Qualitative Research Workshop, Bilkent University, Turkey
2008 Invited Panelist at Office Depot Research Forum on Entrepreneurship & Innovation
2008 Faculty Mentor at Reputation Research Institute Doctoral Consortium
2007 Ranked among the top 10 in “Top Article Downloads” from Wiley Blackwell Synergy
2007 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Business Venturing
2006 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Consumer Research
2005 Faculty at Association for Consumer Research Consumer Behavior Doctoral Consortium
2004 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Consumer Research
2003 Best Entrepreneurship Paper Award, Administrative Sciences Association of Canada Conference
2002, 1999 Winner of the Schulich School of Business Research Award
2001 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Consumer Research
2000 Award for “Best Paper” Canadian Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
2000 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Small Business Management
Fischer, E. (Forthcoming), "Compliments, and a complement: a commentary on “Meanings of theory: clarifying rheory through typification", Marketing Theory.
Dolbec, P., Fischer, E. and Canniford, R. (Forthcoming), "Something old, something new: enabled theory building in qualitative marketing research", Marketing Theory.
Reuber, A.R. and Fischer, E. (Forthcoming), "Putting qualitative international business research in context(s)", Journal of International Business .
Fischer, E. and Parmentier, M. (Forthcoming), "Working It: Managing Professional Brands in Prestigious Posts", Journal of Marketing.Keywords
The authors address the challenges individuals face when managing their professional brands while working in “prestigious posts” (high-profile jobs in established organizations) and striving to maintain career mobility. Using a case study approach and drawing on sociological field theories, the authors identify two types of tensions (resource-based and identity-based) that are triggered by prestigious posts and four practices conducive to mitigating tensions and maintaining mobility. Beyond extending prior theory on person brands to include consideration of career mobility, this work has implications for better understanding the complexities of affiliations between professionals and the brands they work for. It suggests that individuals who are managing their professional brands while holding prestigious posts need to strike a balance between benefiting from the affiliation in the eyes of external stakeholders and at the same time maintaining their professional independence to maintain career mobility.
Reuber, A.R. and Fischer, E. (2021), "Relying on the engagement of others: a review of the governance choices facing social media platform start-ups", International Small Business Journal.
Coleman, C., Fischer, E. and Tuncay-Zayer, L. (2021), "A research agenda for (gender) troubled times: striving for a better tomorrow", Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 6 (2) .
Fischer, E. and Smith, A. (2020), "Pay Attention, Please! Person Brand Building in Organized Online Attention Economies", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.Keywords
Individuals increasingly seek to establish person brands on digital platforms that create organized online attention economies, which bring together attention seekers and audiences. While prior research has taught us much about how individuals develop person brands, there is limited guidance on how they attract and retain engaged attention (that is, attention that includes interaction) on such platforms. Through an inductive analysis of qualitative data obtained from a digital platform on which more than 16,000 authors compete for the attention of more than 13 million audience members, we develop theory regarding the iterative process by which person brands attract engaged attention in such online attention economies. Our paper offers practical insights to those seeking to attract attention and increase audience engagement online, as well as guidance to marketers and platform managers interested in taking advantage of this phenomenon.
Fischer, E. and Maciel, A. (2020), "Collaborative Market Driving: How Peer Firms Can Develop Markets Through Collective Action", Journal of Marketing, 84(5), 41-59 .Keywords
Firms often aim to develop markets as part of their long-term strategies. Conventionally, research in marketing has explained this complex process by stressing firms’ efforts to outdo their peers. While this emphasis is valuable, it overlooks the role of another major force in market evolution: collective action among peer firms. To address this oversight, this article conceptualizes “collaborative market driving,” defining it as the collective strategy in which peer firms consistently cooperate among themselves and with other actors to develop markets in ways that increase their overall competitiveness. This conceptualization includes the triggers that lead peer firms to mobilize for collective action and coalesce with other market actors; it also identifies how this coalition converts collective resources into market-driving power. These theoretical contributions, based on a multimethod analysis of the rise of U.S. craft breweries, offer an alternative course of action for firms interested in driving new markets when they lack adequate resources to do so individually.
Fischer, E., Lévesque, M., Liu, A. and Shantz, A.S. (2019), "Spoils from the Spoiled: Strategies for Entering Stigmatized Markets", Journal of Management Studies, 56(7), 1260-1286.Keywords
Stigmatized markets are those where either the products/services, or the consumers, or both, have been collectively, negatively stereotyped and devalued by one or more stakeholder audiences in ways that discredit the overall market. Many stigmatized markets exist, and many flourish, yet little systematic attention has focused on entry into such markets. Our article addresses this gap by conceptualizing various strategies for entering stigmatized markets. We further present propositions regarding the market‐level factors that can influence which of these strategies firms will choose to employ. The contributions include: conceptually clarifying the nature of stigmatized markets; identifying additional types of entry strategies relevant for entering stigmatized markets; theorizing the conditions under which firms would choose one entry strategy over another; and opening up for consideration the effects that market entry may have on stigmatized actors in targeted markets.
Fischer, E. (2019), "If Not Now, When? The Timeliness of Developing a Dialogue between Consumer Culture Theoretic and Macromarketing Perspectives", Journal of Macromarketing, 39(1), 103-105.
This paper advocates for doing more research at the intersction of consumer culture theoretic and macromarketing perspectives. It provides an example of a project ideally suited for analysis of this kind, a study that would address how the features and marketing practices of social media platforms may be contributing to political polarization at the societal level.
Fischer, E. and Giesler, M. (2018), "IoT Stories: The Good, the Bad and the Freaky", GfK Marketing Intelligence Review, 10(2), 25-30.
Consumers’ perceptions of technology are less matters of product attributes and concrete statistical evidence and more of captivating stories and myths. Managers of IoT can instill consumer trust when they tell highly emotional stories about the technologically empowered self, home, family or society. The key benefit of this approach is that storytelling-based IoT marketing allows consumers to forge strong and enduring emotional bonds with IoT and, in many cases, to develop loyalty beyond belief. However, stories aren’t always positive. Negative stories and meanings about a technology that are circulated in popular culture can be dangerous and harmful to a brand or a new technology. Regardless of its source, marketers need to understand the nature of the doppelgänger images that may be circulating for their technologies. They can be regarded as diagnostic tools to better understand how consumers think about and experience their IoT solutions. Also, doppelgänger narratives are valuable raw ingredients from which marketers can cull new, more captivating IoT stories that nurture consumer adoption.
Fischer, E., Gopaldas A. and Scaraboto, D. (2017), "Why Papers are Rejected and How to Get Yours Accepted: Advice on the Construction of Interpretive Consumer Research Articles", Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 20(1), 60-67.Keywords
Interpretive consumer researchers frequently devote months, if not years, to writing a new paper. Despite their best efforts, the vast majority of these papers are rejected by top academic journals. This paper aims to explain some of the key reasons that scholarly articles are rejected and illuminate how to reduce the likelihood of rejection.
Coviello, N., Fischer, E. and Reuber, A. (2016), "Deepening the Dialogue: New Directions for the Evolution of Effectuation Theory. (Dialogue essay)", Academy of Management Review, 41(3), 536-540.
Fischer, E. and Parmentier, M. (2015), "Things Fall Apart: The Dynamics of Brand Audience Dissipation", Journal of Consumer Research, 41, 1228-1251.
Much prior work illuminates how fans of a brand can contribute to the value enjoyed by other members of its audience, but little is known about any processes by which fans contribute to the dissipation of that audience. Using longitudinal data on America’s Next Top Model, a serial brand, and conceptualizing brands as assemblages of heterogeneous components, this article examines how fans can contribute to the destabilization of a brand’s identity and fuel the dissipation of audiences of which they have been members. This work suggests that explanations focusing on satiation, psychology, or semiotics are inadequate to account for dissipation in the audience for serial brands. Moreover, the perspective advanced here highlights how fans can create doppelgänger brand images and contribute to the co-destruction of serial brands they have avidly followed.
Fischer, E., Otnes, C. and Tuncay, L. (2015), "The Nature and Implications of Consumers’ Experiential Framings of Failure in High-Risk Service Contexts", Journal of Service Research, 18(3), 303-317.
Many services, particularly those related to health care, can be considered high-risk in that despite service providers’ best efforts, consumers may not attain the outcomes they hope to achieve. Recent research highlights how cultural models regarding service providers influence the ways consumers experience and respond to failure. What bears investigating is how these cultural models and consumers’ related framings of failure shape consumer experience in high-risk contexts. Analyzing data from informants engaged with various types of infertility services, we develop a typology of four consumer experiential framings of failure that explore their experiences across three dimensions. These are as follows: the implicit cultural model that shapes relationships with service providers, the implicit cultural model regarding goal pursuit, and consumers’ tacit understandings regarding their appropriate courses of action in response to failure. We link each distinct type of experiential framing to consumers’ distinct set of expectations related to service recovery. And we offer insights for service providers on how to manage their relationships with consumers and (in the tradition of transformative services research) how to enhance consumer well-being.
Fischer, E. and Pierre-Yann, D. (2015), "Re-Fashioning a Field? Connected Consumers and Institutional Dynamics in Aestheticized Markets", Journal of Consumer Research, 41(6), 1447-1468.
We investigate the participation of engaged consumers in the fashion market through the lens of institutional theory. We develop theoretical insights on the unintended market-level changes that ensue when consumers who are avidly interested in a field connect to share ideas with one another. We find that consumers take on some of the institutional work previously done primarily by paid actors and introduce new forms of institutional work supportive of the field. We show that engaged consumers can precipitate the formation of new categories of actors in the field and the contestation of boundaries between established and emergent actor categories. Further, we propose that new consumer-focused institutional logics gain momentum, even while consumers support and promote preexisting logics through their practices. We compare cases where discontented market actors have brought about market changes with our investigation of one where contented consumers unintentionally precipitated market-level dynamics, and we show that the accumulation of consumers’ micro-level practices can have pervasive and profound impacts.
Cumming, D., Fischer, E. and Peridis, T. (2015), "Publicly Funded Business Advisory Services and Entrepreneurial Internationalization", International Small Business Journal, 33(8), 824-839.
This article examines whether and how publicly sponsored advisory services can encourage small and medium-sized firms to increase their degree of internationalization. We argue that professional advisors have an impact upon the knowledge and skills firms develop to enhance internationalization. The data examined are drawn from a publicly funded organization providing advisory services to entrepreneurial firms; they show a significant relationship between receipt of advice and the development of internationalization-related knowledge and competences. Knowledge, competences, and advice are all significant predictors that firms will adopt strategies conducive to initiating or expanding internationalization. Moreover, the results suggest that various forms of advisory services should be explicitly considered in assessing the factors which contribute to dynamic capabilities. However, pertinent public policy initiatives should incorporate performance metrics that capture the impact of such advisory services in enhancing the internationalization capabilities of entrepreneurial firms.
Fischer, E. and Reuber, A. (2014), "Online Entrepreneurial Communication: Mitigating Uncertainty and Increasing Differentiation Via Twitter", Journal of Business Venturing, 29(4), 565-583.Keywords
Research shows that some narratives and symbolic actions produced by entrepreneurial firms can help to reduce audience uncertainty about their quality and differentiate them from rivals. But can communications via online social media channels – which we characterize as “communicative streams” – be used to reduce uncertainty and enhance differentiation? This seems debatable, given that such streams comprise multiple, brief messages (a) that encode signals lacking narrative cohesion; (b) are only fleetingly accessible; and (c) are minimally customized. We address this puzzle using qualitative methods to compare the communications enacted by eight firms that are using Twitter in order to pursue growth. Our theoretical contribution rests in positing links between specific types of communicative streams and audience responses that reflect reduced uncertainty or enhanced differentiation. Our analysis suggests that firms enacting a “Multi-dimensional” communicative stream (which entails a high volume of posts, a high proportion of which signal quality, relational orientation, distinctiveness, and positive affect) are most likely to elicit audience affirmation of firms’ quality and/or distinctiveness. Implications for theory, research methods and practice are discussed.
Fischer, E., Parmentier, M. and Reuber, A. (2013), "Positioning Person Brands in Established Organizational Fields", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(3), 373-387.
This paper inductively develops an extension to brand positioning theory to understand how individuals seeking work in established organizational fields can effectively position themselves. It does so by analyzing qualitative data on the practices of people in one job category (fashion models) in an established organizational field (fashion), examining them through the lens of concepts adapted from work by Pierre Bourdieu. Four brand positioning practices are identified as relevant for models vying for work in the fashion field: crafting a portfolio, cultivating and demonstrating upward affiliations, complying with occupation-specific behavioral expectations, and conveying field-conforming tastes. Drawing on Bourdieu, we argue more generally that person brand positioning within established organizational fields happens through processes that help to portray a person as having field-specific social and cultural capital that allows them to “stand out,” while acquiring the habitus that allows them to comply with field- and occupation-specific expectations in order to “fit in.” Standing out and fitting in have parallels with—but are not identical to—the processes of establishing and reinforcing points of differentiation and points of parity for product brands. Our study implies that scholars interested in person branding should further develop theories that illuminate variations in brand positioning practices between products and persons. It also suggests that people building person brands should be sensitized to the valued forms of capital and normative expectations in their field that enable them to stand out while fitting in.
Fischer, E. and Scaraboto, D. (2013), "Frustrated Fatshionistas: An Institutional Theory Perspective on Consumer Quests for Greater Choice in Mainstream Markets", Journal of Consumer Research, 6(1), 1234–1257.
Why and how do marginalized consumers mobilize to seek greater inclusion in and more choice from mainstream markets? We develop answers to these questions drawing on institutional theory and a qualitative investigation of Fatshionistas, plus-sized consumers who want more options from mainstream fashion marketers. Three triggers for mobilization are posited: development of a collective identity, identification of inspiring institutional entrepreneurs, and access to mobilizing institutional logics from adjacent fields. Several change strategies that reinforce institutional logics while unsettling specific institutionalized practices are identified. Our discussion highlights diverse market change dynamics that are likely when consumers are more versus less legitimate in the eyes of mainstream marketers and in instances where the changes consumers seek are more versus less consistent with prevailing institutions and logics.
Cumming, D. and Fischer, E. (2012), "Publicly Funded Business Advisory Services and Entrepreneurial Outcomes", Research Policy, 41, 467– 481.
Given the mixed evidence for the impact of various publicly funded initiatives that aim to foster entrepreneurial activity, this paper empirically examines the efficacy of publicly funded business advisory services in relation to entrepreneurial outcomes. Based on a sample of 228 early-stage firms, of which 101 used business advisory services focused on helping companies secure 1st rounds of financing and start generating revenues, we examine the firm-level impact such services can have on sales growth, innovation, finance and alliances. We find services are positively associated with firms’ sales growth, patents, finance and alliances. We assess statistical and economic significance, and assess robustness to controls for the non-randomness of the firm’s using business advisory service program, as well as endogeneity of advisors’ hours spent with firms. Other robustness checks are also included. We find significant robustness of hours spent on sales and finance, but sensitivity of the effect of hours on patents and alliances after controlling for endogeneity.
Fischer, E. and Parmentier, M. (2012), "How Athletes Build Their Brands", International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 11(1/2), 106-124.
This paper examines the dynamic processes of person branding by conducting an inductive analysis of two case studies of acclaimed athletes: David Beckham and Ryan Giggs. Although their careers have notable similarities and both athletes are regarded as outstanding soccer players, they have contrasting profiles as person brands. An analysis of their on- and off-field brand-building practices helps us understand how people in sporting professions build brand equity. We offer novel conceptual insights on two elements that characterise athletes’ brands: professional image and mainstream media persona. We provide insights into practices that yield a better professional image and a more valuable mainstream media persona, and posit connections between these constructs and person brand equity. Finally, we discuss implications for athletes and those managing their brands.
Chen, Y., Fischer, E. and Smith, A. (2012), "How Does Brand-Related User-Generated Content Differ Across YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter?", Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26, 102–113.Keywords
This study tests hypotheses regarding differences in brand-related user-generated content (UGC) between Twitter (a microblogging site), Facebook (a social network) and YouTube (a content community). It tests them using data from a content analysis of 600 UGC posts for two retail-apparel brands (Lululemon and American Apparel), which differ in the extent to which they manage social media proactively. Comparisons are drawn across six dimensions of UGC; the dimensions were drawn from a priori reading and an inductive analysis of brand-related UGC. This research provides a general framework for comparing brand-related UGC, and helps us to better understand how particular social media channels and marketing strategies may influence consumer-produced brand communications.
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleComplexity and market dynamics RoleCo-investigator Award Amount$180,940.00 Year Awarded2018-2022 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Insight Grant Project TitleUnderstanding the dynamics of opportunity creation processes: what are the causes and consequences of opportunity motility? RoleCo-investigator Award Amount$207,049.00 Year Awarded2015-2020 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Insight Grant Project TitleHybrid Organiza tions in Digital Markets: Building Brand Strength and Organizational Legitimacy RolePrinciple Investigator Award Amount$74,328.00 Year Awarded2013-2015 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Insight Development Grant Project TitleDesigning Brands in Aesthetic Market: An Investigation in the Field of Fashion (Principal researcher: Marie-Agnes Parmentier) RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$71,886.00 Year Awarded2012-2014 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Insight Development Grant Project TitleAn investigation of the benefits for young and small firms in Canada RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$76,565.00 Year Awarded2009-2012 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant Project TitleThe dynamics of reputation in young firms RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$70,200.00 Year Awarded2009-2012 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant Project TitleInternational Entrepreneurship Strategic Knowledge Cluster RoleCollaborator Award Amount$1,950,000.00 Year Awarded2008-2015 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Strategic Knowledge Cluster Grant- University of Waterloo Project TitleBusiness Advisory Hubs: What is their Role in Stimulating Innovation and Economic Development? RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$155,500.00 Year Awarded2008-2011 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant- Management, Business and Finance Project TitleThe development of reputation in young firms RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$168,173.00 Year Awarded2006-2009 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant Project Titlefrom UBC: ERA II: Government and Public Policy (Arena 2) RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$ Year Awarded2005 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant- University of British Columbia Project TitleEntrepreneurship Research Alliance Team RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$2,400,000.00 Year Awarded1999-2004 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Major Collaborative Research Initiative