Faculty & Research

AKSOB Research Papers Highlight - March 2020

This report aims at underlining our faculty’s constant success in the world of academic papers.

By Chirine El-Mchantaf

Falling directly in line with the school’s vision to support valuable research initiatives and analysis of business trends across all industries, AKSOB’s faculty is continuously contributing to the world of academia through research published in the best international journals in each field. In this context, the below report aims at underlining our faculty’s constant success in the world of academic papers through highlighting some of their latest publications.

Noting that the papers are listed starting with the most recent and per department.

Department of Management Studies

Dr. Jamal Maalouf - Assistant Professor, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship

Maalouf, J., Combs, J., Gillis, W., and Perryman, A. Replicate or Adapt? Franchising and Organizational Routines, Journal of Knowledge Management. (A, Q1)

March 2020


Purpose – To introduce strategy as a factor that explains when franchisors – through the franchisees they select – seek to replicate routines exactly versus allow local adaptation of routines.

Design/methodology/approach – Combined archival and survey data from 248 U.S. and Canadian franchisors actively seeking franchisees were used to test hypotheses via structural equation modeling. The robustness of results was comprehensively explored.

Findings – As hypothesized, results suggest that franchisors pursuing plural form strategies select franchisees with traits that foster replication, such as prior managerial experience and the desire to become multi-outlet franchisees. Those franchisors pursuing turnkey strategies seek franchisees who exhibit a willingness to experiment and adapt. In contrast to expectations, plural form franchisors were more likely to seek franchisees with local market knowledge.

Originality/value – Strategy influences whether franchisors select franchisees who will replicate versus adapt organizational routines. We introduce strategy as a factor affecting the extent to which routines are replicated exactly versus adapted locally. For franchising research, we challenge prior theory by explaining why franchisors invest in franchisee selection rather than waiting for the best franchisees to self-select into franchising.

Keywords Franchising, Knowledge transmission, Organizational routines; Strategy; Structural equation modeling.


Department of Finance and Accounting

Dr. Mostafa Harakeh - Assistant Professor of Accounting & Finance

Dividend Policy and Corporate Investment under Information Shocks, Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money. (A, Q1)

February 2020


This study exploits the mandatory adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as an exogenous shock to the corporate information environment to examine how the constraining effect of dividend policy on corporate investment changes under lower levels of information asymmetry. To identify the treatment effect of the information shock, I employ a difference-in-differences research design using an international sample of 25 countries that spans the period 2000–2010. I first show that the information shock mitigates information asymmetry. Then, I find that the constraining effect of dividends on investments declines following the information shock, especially among firms with higher levels of information asymmetry ex-ante. Finally, I show that less constrained investments contribute to maximizing firm value. Overall, I show how reducing information asymmetry mitigates agency conflicts over dividend policy and thereby decreases the probability of forgoing valuable investments to pay dividends, which is found to maximize shareholders’ wealth.


Department of Management Studies

Dr. Moustafa Haj Youssef – Assistant Professor of Management

Moustafa Salman Haj Youssef, (Lebanese American University), Hiba Maher Hussein (American University of Beirut) & Hoda Awada (American University of Beirut). The More you Value, the Less you Practice: A Study on Culture and Managerial Discretion, Cross Cultural & Strategic Management. (Q1)

January 2020


We examine cross-cultural differences in managerial discretion and the extent to which variations and interaction of cultural practices and values affect the degree of freedom in decision making that is accorded to executives. We offer a holistic approach to investigating culture in addition to acknowledging its paradoxical nature. Using a panel of prominent management consultants to rate discretion across 18 countries, we further develop the national-level construct of managerial discretion by empirically investigating the influence of cultural practices and values on CEOs’ discretion.

The study reveals that cultural values moderate the relationship between cultural practices and managerial discretion for three cultural dimensions: individualism, uncertainty tolerance and power distance (PD). By adopting the logic of marginal utility, we also show that the more a society values individualism, uncertainty tolerance and PD, the weaker the effect of their practices on managerial discretion. We propose new theoretical insights and practical implications, overall contributing to the field of cross-cultural and strategic management. Finally, this will offer CEO’s a new perspective of leveraging culture as a tool, enhancing their decision-making capabilities in the aim of improving organizational performance.


Department of Marketing

Dr. Omar Itani - Assistant Professor of Marketing

Itani, Omar S., Goad, E., & Jaramillo, F. (2019). Building Customer Relationships While Achieving Sales Performance Results: Is Listening the Holy Grail of Sales? Journal of Business Research, 102, 120-130. (A, Q1)

September 2019


Despite its importance in sales, listening is an overlooked concept in research with limited empirical studies examining the construct since the work conducted by Castleberry and Shepherd (1993) and Ramsey and Sohi (1997). Knowledge of the role listening plays in sales and the processes involved in explaining listening in relationship performance is limited with many discrepancies identified between studies. Using meta-analytical techniques, this study summarizes approximately 20 years of research on salesperson listening. The study developed a meta-analytical model based on the marketing and psychology literature to build an underlying framework for listening theory, advance research in listening, and provide theoretical and managerial implications. The obtained results show that customer-oriented salespeople express their care toward customers through listening, which helps them adapt their selling behaviors to fit customers’ demands. Salesperson relational and sales outcomes are driven by listening through direct and mediated mechanisms.


Itani, Omar S., Kassar, A.N., & Loureiro, S. (2019). Value get, value give: The relationships among perceived value, relationship quality, customer engagement, and value consciousness, International Journal of Hospitality Management, 80, 78-90. (A*, Q1 Shanghai List)

July 2019


In today’s market, firms expect customers to not only consume their offerings, but also to market these offerings indirectly through different engagement behaviors. This study is conducted to examine factors that may drive customers to engage with restaurants. The research builds on the theory of engagement and relationship marketing literature to propose that customer perceived value (CPV) and relationship quality (RQ) are antecedents of CE. In addition, a mediated relationship between CPV and CE through RQ is examined to better understand the effects of CPV on CE. Customer value consciousness (CVC) is incorporated into the model as a boundary condition of the hypothesized positive impacts of CPV on CE and RQ. Findings demonstrate support to the relationships hypothesized. Further, the study develops the ‘value get, value’ framework to extend research on customer relationship and engagement. Findings are discussed in detail with implications for theory and practice.


Itani, Omar S., Jaramillo, F., & Chonko, L. (2019). Achieving Top Performance While Building Collegiality in Sales: It All Starts with Ethics, Journal of Business Ethics, 156(2), 417-438. (A, Q1 Financial Times List)

May 2019


While previous literature provides evidence of the positive relationship between ethical climate and job satisfaction, the possible mechanisms of this relationship are still underexplored. This study aims to enhance scholars’ and practitioners’ understanding of the ethical climate–job satisfaction relationship by identifying and testing two of the possible mechanisms. More specifically, this study fills an existing research gap by examining social and interpersonal mechanisms, referred to in this study as workplace isolation of colleagues and salesperson’s teamwork, of the ethical climate–job satisfaction relationship. This is vital for the selling profession because job satisfaction is known to drive higher levels of salespeople’s performance. The arguments for such mechanisms are built on the foundations of social/psychological contract theory and ethical climate literature. Empirical testing using a large sample of salespeople shows higher levels of ethical climate to decrease workplace isolation and increase teamwork. Findings support hypothesized model where ethical climate positively relates to job satisfaction as partially mediated by workplace isolation and teamwork. Ethical climate is negatively related to workplace isolation and positively to teamwork. Further, findings indicate negative effect of workplace isolation on teamwork and sales performance. Job satisfaction is found to be key factor in driving performance of salespeople.


Department of Marketing

Dr. Zahy Ramadan - Assistant Professor of Marketing

Brand–brand Relational Moments, Journal of Brand Management. (A, Q2)

March 2019


Marketing has evolved from being mainly transactional based to relationship driven. As social media platforms facilitated a two-way communication channel between brands and consumers, they also made it possible for brands to have their own conversations. In fact, such brand-brand conversations are found on Twitter and are increasingly going viral as followers become intrigued and excited around such creative brand exchanges. Interestingly enough, when non-human brands engage in relational moments, they forge even further their brand personalities and become highly anthropomorphized by their followers. These relational moments present high risks and opportunities for companies and are still under-researched. Through a qualitative approach using an inductive thematic analysis to analyze a total of 17,136 comments from brand followers on Twitter, the research studies brand-brand conversations leading to the typology of such relational moments. The findings map 6 brand-brand relational moments alongside the different inherent strategies, objectives, and desired outcomes from such conversations. This research is among the first to establish the grounds for a brand-brand relationship alongside a typology for such relational moments. While most of the literature focus on relational building between brands and consumers, this research shows that brand-brand relationship moments could be an influencing factor on consumers’ brand perceptions.