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Fox Faculty Explores Green Living Decision-Making

August 10, 2016 //

With an increased focus on climate change and sustainability efforts throughout the world, many people incorporate environmentally friendly behavior in their day-to-day lives. Marketers have taken notice and embraced green initiatives in their products, services, and brands. However, consumers have the power to decide whether they want to engage and invest in the green effort. Dr. Crystal Reeck examines their decision-making with her recent grant from the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Without the support of this grant we wouldn’t be able to undertake the scope of the research that we are currently facilitating,” said Reeck, an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “We all experience emotions and influences that guide our decisions in lots of ways. Whether it’s the kinds of products to buy or whether you choose green energy over standard production energy, it is exciting to study how these decisions impact a host of real-world issues that customers and industries face.”

This is Reeck’s first grant that focuses heavily on clinical applications and targets the basic science of decision-making. “So often, we focus on how our research influences other academics, but this proposal in particular has at its core an issue that is critical for consumers,” said Reeck, who also serves as an Assistant Director of Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making (CNDM).

While various studies have explored behavioral responses to defaults and society’s attitude toward the environment, Reeck’s dynamic study incorporates that which shapes people’s decisions about energy plans and how they decide to respond. “One of the main goals of this research,” she said, “is to illuminate the underlying psychological processes, and by understanding those better, can we form regulations to try to help people make decisions that will match not only their own needs but some of the goals society has.”

Reeck said her study could offer more than simply decision-making tactics within the green initiative. And her role with Temple’s CNDM, which brings together interdisciplinary researchers who investigate the outcomes of various decision-making factors, will further support her research initiatives.

“This is an area that I think is ripe for a lot of research, and it doesn’t have just marketing implications,” Reeck said. “It has implications for other policies and regulations. It also has implications for communication and the right way to explain these risks.

“Having the kind of collaborative research environment we have at the Center for Neural Decision Making is valuable for bringing different methods and theories to the table. I’m fortunate to work in a great business school environment that exposes me to a multitude of interdisciplinary opportunities.”