Recent reinforcement learning studies extensively explore the interplay between cooperative and competitive behaviour in mixed environments. Unlike cooperative environments where agents strive towards a common goal, mixed environments are notorious for the conflicts of selfish and social interests. As a consequence, purely rational agents often struggle to maintain cooperation. A prevalent approach to induce cooperative behaviour is to assign additional rewards based on other agents' well-being. However, this approach suffers from the issue of multi-agent credit assignment, which can hinder performance. This issue is efficiently alleviated in cooperative setting with such state-of-the-art algorithms as QMIX and COMA. Still, when applied to mixed environments, these algorithms may result in unfair allocation of rewards. We propose BAROCCO, an extension of these algorithms capable to balance individual and social incentives. The mechanism behind BAROCCO is to train two distinct but interwoven components that jointly affect agents' decisions. We experimentally confirm the advantages of BAROCCO.
In this chapter, we present business opportunities emerging from the problems faced by the large number of the unbanked in the middle-income population of LAC. We continue by elaborating the challenges facing companies tackling these opportunities, and we provide a series of case studies presenting innovative solutions used by successful companies as solutions to these challenges. We complete the chapter by providing constructive conclusions and recommendations for practitioners, with emphasis on the opportunity in attending to the unbanked, who lack access to credit to make the purchases they aspire to and need but don’t have the means.
Context: Pricing is an essential element of software business strategy and tactics. Informed pricing decision-making requires the involvement of different stakeholders and comprehensive data analysis. Achieving both appears to be challenging, and pricing remains one of the most under-managed processes in the software business. Simultaneously, a coherent SaaS pricing body of knowledge and verified solutions to assist SaaS providers while designing and implementing pricing are missing.
Objective: There is a lack of integration among different research areas focused on SaaS pricing and, more importantly, between academia and industry. The primary aim of this paper is to clarify this misconception by classifying, thematically analyzing, and putting in correspondent academic state-of-the-art and industrial state-of-the-practice of SaaS pricing.
Method: A multivocal literature review (MLR) approach was used for the study, exploring both “white” literature as well as “grey” literature. The body of literature of 387 bibliography items was collected using a formal protocol. Of these, 57 were white literature items, and 330 were grey. A multistage content analysis process was implemented to classify the rich literature body across multiple dimensions with further mapping, synthesis, and reporting.
Results: A taxonomy of pricing-related concepts was created. It classifies SaaS pricing aspects, affecting factors, and challenges facing SaaS providers. The findings and interpretations are summarized to emphasize the major research themes and practical challenges of SaaS pricing practices’ transformation and provide further research guidelines in this area.
Conclusion: SaaS pricing is a maturing and prominent area of research that requires further investigation. The conducted MLR formed a clear picture of SaaS pricing research and practice and identified different SaaS pricing aspects and affecting factors. The study will enable both scholars and practitioners to assess the current state-of-the-art in research and practice.
This study examined challenges of employing university culture as a mechanism to increase commitment to the internationalization strategy among university internal stakeholders. Data were collected from a sample of 235 students, faculty, and staff from a top-ranked university in Russia. The study showed a misalignment between internal marketing and university internationalization strategy. The results suggest internal stakeholders do not accept the new business-like market culture driven by competition and measured by global indicators, which impacts their commitment to the university and hinders internationalization. The study found that internationalization leads to the dominance of this market culture in the university. To mitigate negative effects of organizational changes, university marketing should seek to increase stakeholder identification with the university. The study concludes with implications for university leaders about how to adjust internal stakeholder marketing to improve relationships with these stakeholders and gain their support.
The purpose of this study was to examine communication clarity in calls for papers issued by peer reviewed journals for special issues. I wanted to explore what could hinder and help guest editors to communicate their intent to potential contributors. I searched peer reviewed journals in the field of human resource management published by five leading publishers, including Emerald, Sage, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and Elsevier. Forty-seven journals were identified, and the sample included 33 calls for papers that I examined using content analysis. The results showed that many guest editors include a problem statement; purpose statement including explicative statements and specifications; and research questions, topics, or themes. Based on this result, I created a composite profile that describes how guest editors typically craft their calls, including the average number of sources, topics, and paragraphs. I also identified eight additional tools guest editors use to increase clarity of their calls. Additionally, my analysis indicated that guest editors vary greatly in their approaches to crafting calls for papers. I identified a number of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, omissions, and redundancies that could confuse or discourage potential contributors. Journal editors could use the results of this study to examine their editorial strategies and practices and revise and improve their guidelines and templates related to special issues and their calls. Special issue guest editors might use the study results to increase the chances of receiving quality submissions.
In social choice there often arises a conflict between the majority principle (the search for a candidate that is as good as possible for as many voters as possible), and the protection of minority rights (choosing a candidate that is not overly bad for particular individuals or groups). In a context where the latter is our main concern, veto-based rules -- giving individuals or groups the ability to strike off certain candidates from the list -- are a natural and effective way of ensuring that no minority is left with an outcome they find untenable. However, such rules often fail to be anonymous, or impose specific restrictions on the number of voters and candidates. These issues can be addressed by considering the proportional veto core -- the solution to a cooperative game where every coalition is given the power to veto a number of candidates proportional to its size. However, the naive algorithm for the veto core is exponential, and the only known rules for selecting from the veto core, with an arbitrary number of voters, violate either anonymity or neutrality. In this paper we present a polynomial time algorithm for computing the veto core and present a neutral and anonymous algorithm for selecting a candidate from it. We also show that a pessimist can manipulate the veto core in polynomial time.
This paper represents the results of a strategic SWOT analysis and its application to the Russian chain restaurant business market. It analyzes the innovative quantitative factors influencing the use of the SWOT model, identifies and classifies the strategic problems of chain restaurant business models, and studies regression and dispersion analyses of the data obtained during the survey to identify and solve problems of business process management. The paper focuses on the innovative quantitative model of SWOT analysis, taking into account the internal and external resources influencing the improvement of business processes and identifying problem areas for small- and medium-sized restaurants. The basis of the results is foreign and domestic research in the field of strategic management and represents the impact of internal and external resources on the management of a network enterprise. The empirical base of the study is survey data of Russian restaurant network representatives.
The pandemic COVID-19 created a special context for the organization of life, and the lockdown turned this context into a system of conditions that posed organizations with a difficult choice of the form of response to them. The meaningful field of choice affected the principles of corporate culture, which had to be re-approved or confirmed depending on the characteristics of a particular company. The proposed study shows that small businesses that did not give due importance to the formation of a sustainable corporate culture carried out a situational choice of principles of internal organizational interaction. Three types of organizational response to lockdown conditions related to corporate culture characteristics have been identified. An association was found between estimates of the characteristics of the company's organizational culture by employees before the pandemic began with the actions of the organization in relation to line workers during the lockdown period.
Do individuals consider bribery as an acceptable behavior? We use a newly-designed game to study if—and under which conditions—bystanders are willing to express disapproval for bribing behavior through costly punishment. We manipulate two key dimensions: the benefits accrued by corrupt actors and the externality imposed on idle victims. We show that on average bystanders were unresponsive nearly half of the time they witnessed bribery. We also find that context specificity matters, as bystanders were more willing to punish when bribing caused them a disadvantageous inequity with respect to corrupt actors, even if bribing enhanced overall welfare. In an additional experiment testing whether social norms play any role in punishment decisions, we find that norms did not align with the observed bystanders’ behavior. This further supports our main result that bystanders did not react to bribery due to a concern for the social norm, but rather for their own comparative disadvantage relative to corrupt actors.
This paper discusses the effect of conformism on the demand for products that differ in quality and studies its implications for firm selection, entry, average quality, and trade pat- terns. Demand for each variety is shown to fall when consumers have a lower degree of conformism or when the distribution of conformism becomes more concentrated. This in- duces firms facing lower demand and of lower quality to exit the market, which raises average quality and diminishes product diversity. In an international trade context, home consumption bias is amplified when there is a lower degree of conformism. Home con- sumption bias is mitigated by the presence of global conformism, in which individuals tend to conform to people across the world rather than within their own country.
Entrepreneurs employ various behavioral logics in the venture creation process, including effectuation and causation. Where prior studies suggest that both causal and effectual approaches are positively related to firm performance, the extant literature has not examined how the institutional context influences this relationship. This study explores how country-level institutions moderate the link between causal and effectual behaviors and firm performance. Using survey data collected from a large crosssectional sample of new ventures from 24 countries, the findings indicate that the effectiveness of causation and effectuation logics is influenced by the level of development of regulatory, normative, and cultural-cognitive institutions. The theoretical benefits of better understanding the context of entrepreneurial decision-making are highlighted.
We consider the problem of electing a committee of k candidates, subject to constraints as to which committees are admissible for constitutional, conventional, or practical reasons. In our framework, the candidates are given labels as an abstraction of a politician’s religion, a film’s genre, a song’s language, or other attribute, and the election outcome is constrained by interval constraints (constraints of the form “Between 3 and 5 candidates with label X”) and dominance constraints (“At least as many candidates with label X as with label Y”). The goal is to select a committee that is as good as possible among those that satisfy the constraints. The difficulty is that in the standard social choice framework we do not have a quantifiable notion of “goodness”, only a voting rule that tells us which committee is the best. In this paper we argue how the logic underlying separable and best-k rules can be extended into an ordering of committees from best to worst, and study the question of how to select the best valid committee with respect to this order. The problem is NP-hard, but we show the existence of a polynomial time solution in the case of tree-like constraints, and a fixed-parameter tractable algorithm for the general case.
In this chapter, we dissect a series of case studies of MNCs who developed innovative business models overcoming geographical, infrastructural and social-cultural challenges and exploiting the opportunity reflected in the social-commercial connectedness of the middle-income customers and the largest and most lucrative retail channel in the LAC emerging market – the traditional one. With our analysis we display how innovators incorporate previously ill-collaborating players, such as financial institutions, technology companies, (none)-governmental and (none)-profitorganizations,in their models producing benefits primarily for the MoPcustomers and retailers as crucial partners.Their models expand company´s value chains to the traditional retailers increasing their productivity gains through the provision of technology and modern retail practices, yielding a powerful impact on them and their communities. They employ and train locals with deep knowledge about the needs and aspirations of local communities, as well as access to rural, lower-income consumersout of reach of modern retailers, contributing tojob creation and MoP member´s income and improved quality of life. Innovative enterprises, thus, master multiple distribution schemes to bring an optimal range of products and services to those communities efficiently achieving distribution and overall business excellence as well as social impact.
This study aims to analyse the tenure of head coaches in college women’s soccer in the United States and puts the focus on the influence of race and gender. The analysis includes individual characteristics of coaches (educational and professional background), team performance, institutional characteristics, and geographical differences (at the state level) from 1977 until 2015. The main results show that African American coaches and women have a significantly shorter tenure in these college institutions. Other factors related to the background of coaches and the characteristics of institutions also play a significant role. The findings are relevant for coaches from minority groups and athletic departments, who are interested in equity in sport. Future research may use an alternative approach to investigate the causes of tenure disparity in college women’s soccer.
In early 2020 the world was struck by the epidemic of novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like many others, German government has introduced severe contact restrictions to limit the spread of infection. This paper analyses effects of weather on the spread of the disease under the described circumstances. We demonstrate that regions reported lower growth rates of the number of the infection cases after days with higher temperatures, no rain and low humidity. We argue that this effect is channelled through human behaviour. The evidence suggests that “good” weather attracts individuals to outdoor (safer) environments, thus, deterring people from indoor (less safe) environments. Understanding this relationship is important for improving the measures aiming at combating the spread of the virus.
This article studies housing rents in St. Petersburg from 1880 throuhg 1917, covering an eventful period of Russian and world history. Digitizing over 5,000 rental advertisements, we construct a state-of-the-art index — the first pre-war and pre-Soviet market data index for any Russian city. In 1915, a rent control and tenant protection policy was introduced in response to soaring prices following the outbreak of WWI. We document official compliance, rising tenure duration, and strongly increased affordability for workers. While the immediate prelude to the October Revolution was indeed characterized by economic turmoil, rent affordability did not dominate.
Pricing is one of the business and product strategy elements to achieve both financial performance and competitive advantage. The transition towards the Software-as-a-Service model has unlocked new opportunities for pricing software products. Conflicting recommendations from existing studies and industry experts make it challenging for SaaS providers to design and implement the pricing of their services. SaaS providers have come a long way in adapting their pricing practices to the new paradigm that assumes the offering of service instead of selling software as a product. This paper explores how SaaS providers package and price their products by reviewing the pricing information of 220 SaaS providers. The study reveals that SaaS companies are relatively heterogeneous in the way they price their products and the pricing practices of SaaS providers within the same size and product type could differ sufficiently.
This case invites students to put themselves in the shoes of Delia, the company HR specialist responsible for the implementation of mystery shopping at Salsa, a chain restaurant. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the negative impact of this new performance appraisal system on employee morale. Salsa, located in the state of Florida, USA, decided to improve the quality of its customer service by implementing mystery shopping. Six months after this practice was implemented, the quality of customer service has slightly increased. At the same time, employees have grown increasingly unhappy with the practice. First, employees feel the company implemented mystery shopping to spy on them, so their trust in the restaurant management and corporate leadership has decreased. Second, employees of three service areas, kitchen, cashiers, and dining, do not like being evaluated as one big team and thought the old system that used separate criteria for each service area was fair. Third, the company did not provide a formal process for employees to appeal the results, ask questions, or provide suggestions related to the new practice. Observing the situation from Delia’s perspective, students will search for possible solutions to improve this situation.
The transformation of emerging markets in recent decades has generated a new, growing, and very large middle class market, also known as the middle of the pyramid. This market segment, which is middle by the standards of emerging markets yet low by the standards of advanced economies, is extremely attractive for firms, but still understood and underserved. This volume presents detailed analyses of exemplary firms that have innovated products, services, and business models to fulfil the needs and desires of these new middle classes. It provides useful insights for managers, consultants, researchers, and students interested in emerging economies, and actionable lessons on how to innovate for a new and expanding market segment.
Purpose: Scholarly interest in interorganizational learning (IOL) has spiked in the past decade because of its potential to absorb, transfer and create valuable knowledge for enhanced innovative performance and sustained competitive advantage. However, only a handful of review studies exists on the topic. The evolution of IOL has not been studied explicitly and there is a lack of understanding of the field trends. To fill this gap, this paper aims to comprehensively review the literature on IOL and map its evolution and trends using bibliometric techniques. In particular, the authors use visualization of science mapping freeware to systematize the findings and interpret the results.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors synthesize the findings using “evaluative bibliometric techniques” to identify the quality and quantity indicators of the IOL research and use “relational bibliometric techniques” to determine the structural indicators of the IOL field such as the intellectual foundations and emerging research themes of IOL research.
Findings: Through an analysis of 208 journal publications obtained from the Scopus database, the authors determine the leading authors, countries, highly cited papers and their contributions to the IOL literature. By identifying the key hotspots, intellectual foundations and emerging trends of IOL, the authors provide promising avenues in IOL research.
Originality/value: To the best of the knowledge, this study is the first to systematically review the IOL literature and provide future research directions.