Monday, 29 June 2015

Launching the “Writing Dissertations & Theses” e-book

Writing Dissertations & Theses ” is now published!


“Writing Dissertations & Theses” is an e-book aimed at students (mainly Undergraduate and Masters but also Doctoral) that covers aspects that are little explored in other books about the topic. Thus, the book works as a complement rather than a replacement to existing books.

Adopting often a ‘reverse engineering’ strategy, the e-book identifies good and not-so-good practice and uses it to explain the principles behind a well written dissertation. These principles are set out in the form of simple yet effective ‘Tips & Tools’. The ‘Tips & Tools’ are explained in relation to the “6 C’s of Academic Writing Excellence’, which is a useful template for students to self-evaluate their dissertation. The e-book is written is a very student friendly way (students who have seen it say so!), with examples from past dissertations given throughout the book.

Major content areas include:
  • The 6 C’s of Academic Writing Excellence;
  • The three pillars of research which is a framework that helps students to design their research topic and maintain focus throughout their work;
  • A number of tips & tools related to some of the most important characteristics of good academic writing, including language and vocabulary, argumentation and writing assumptions;
  • A number of tips & tools about each of the sections of the dissertation or thesis: the introduction, literature review, methodology, results and discussion/conclusion.

What students say:

"I found the e-book to be very helpful. Using examples, particularly from other students, made it easier to not only understand how good it was what I was writing but also to find ways of improving it. The 6 C’s were also useful as a mental check after writing a point or paragraph. I think other students will find the e-book as helpful as I did."
Katherine, Undergraduate student

"I found the e-book very useful and really helped me to improve my dissertation. I was able to improve many of my sections, for example literature review and quantitative data analysis. The chapter about the literature review was particular useful as it highlights what is expected from us and how it should be written and structured."
Sebastian, Undergraduate student

“Writing Dissertations & Theses” can be purchased at 

Purchasers of the e-book will have access to the latest available version as well as access to updates in content: new tips & tools, examples and activities that will be added frequently. The e-book costs $7.99, though the buyer can pay as low as $5.99 - the buyer decides the exact price (s)he is willing pay as long as it is above $5.99. VAT applies to those living in the European Union.” 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) in Events & Festivals

I've seen great festival aftermovies and when a colleague from Brazil posted one on her Facebook page, I started thinking about the impact these videos have on consumer behaviour. Although I am not fanatic about electronic music, one cannot avoid being affected by the energy and happiness that is conveyed by the movie (shown below). One natural reaction is "those lucky buggers" or "I wish I could have been there" or even "That's it! I am going next time". So, what mechanism are we talking about? FoMO - ‘Fear of Missing Out’.

As the events industry continues to grow, it is imperative that event organisers are aware and up to date of the motivations that drive consumers to attend events. The ‘Fear of Missing Out’, is a relatively new concept, but more ‘attuned’ marketers are now starting to capitalise on FoMO appeals, if anything because social media has heightened the sensation that everyone is having fun but us and therefore people are more sensitive to FoMO appeals. Besides more subtle strategies such as aftermovies, I have noticed that companies are using FoMO explicitly (e.g. The Croatia Summer Salsa Festival​ was using it last year).

This year I had the opportunity to review a paper on this topic and also to supervise a dissertation on FoMO. The issue of FoMO also came up in some research about prestige in events that I am currently writing about. The student who has recently finished her dissertation on the topic (Ellie Taylor) recognised that at present little is understood about the ‘FoMo’ as a concept. She then sought to investigate the mechanisms associated to the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ and to establish a connection between the ‘FoMo’ and an individual’s motivation to attend an event. She did a qualitative study involving eight ‘Generation Y’ participants.

A key finding identified the specific ‘negative feelings’ experienced by individuals which causes them to experience the ‘FoMo’. Specific emotions included (with sample quotes to illustrate each emotion):
  • Jealousy/Envy – e.g. “I’m jealous of them all getting together and having loads of fun without me” // “I feel jealous; when they all talk about it I don’t wanna hear about it…”.
  • Anxiety -  e.g. “…I get anxious about the thought of that night because I know exactly what I’ll be feeling if I don’t go...”.
  • Anger/Frustration – e.g. “[I felt]… Kind of angry because it was frustrating that they could go and I couldn’t”.
  • Annoyed/Upset – e.g. “Upset, yeah really, really upset…” // “When like I saw the pictures from Bournemouth sevens and I was just sat at work bored I guess I just found it really annoying”
  • Excluded -  “I just remember feeling really left out…”  // “…I just didn’t feel like part of the friendship group anymore…I just felt like I wasn’t part of something like I didn’t belong with them as a friendship group”
  • Regret – e.g. “I don’t wanna miss them because I know I will regret it once Uni is over and I look back at my time”.
  • Guilt – e.g. “…even though it was out of my control I felt I had to justify why I wasn’t going to the girls and I dunno [pause]… I just felt as though they thought I was just bailing on them but it really wasn’t that at all”.

As humans we don’t like to feel negative emotions and therefore we develop strategies to avoid feeling them. These avoidance emotions are powerful triggers of behaviour and a second significant key finding discovered in the study relates to the fact once an individual has experienced the ‘FoMo’, they can react in four different ways:
  • Attend the next event – e.g. “Well, it just kind of motivated me more to make sure I would go to Bestival this year” // “…so I just made sure that this year I definitely booked it off, even if I didn’t decide to go this year I just wanted to have the option of going and the freedom to choose to go”.
  • Look on social media – e.g. “…I couldn’t stop myself from looking, like in a weird way you want to see what you’re missing out” // “…looking without looking if that makes sense, like they would come up on my news feed but I would try not to look at them but still I wanted to see what everyone was wearing [...] if they looked as though they were having a good time”
  • Post on social media - “…because I knew I was missing out on a night out, I started to take loads of pictures to make it look as though I was having a really good time at work, when actually I was really bored [laughs]” // “I think I do that a lot with pictures and stuff like you just want to show off when you look nice and make out that your life is so fun [laughs]”
  • Arrange another event – e.g. “…after ascot, I wrote to all the girls in our whatsapp group and arranged another night, we just had like a dinner round mine and it was really nice”.

By establishing a clear connection between the ‘FoMo’ and event motivation, Ellie’s dissertation made a very good contribution to knowledge (Who says we don’t learn anything from students?). I think that her dissertation is helping to develop this exciting area of marketing that is emerging. Based on her results, the area definitely warrants further research and I hope more students (and researchers) end up looking at this topic.

PS: if you want to cite the results of the dissertation, cite as:
Taylor, Ellie (2015), An investigation into the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ as a motivation to attend events, Unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, UK

Friday, 5 June 2015

Presentation at ICE Conference with undergraduate student accepted

One of my favourite parts of being an academic at BU is the opportunity to supervise student dissertations (notably undergraduate). Although the dissertation is done in the final year, we prepare students since day one as many of the skills we ask them to develop and employ in other assignments are then very useful for the dissertation. In the past I've had very good dissertations, some of which have resulted in journal articles. Not only they are well designed studies, but many are quite innovative in terms of both the topic and methodology. Many times I found myself thinking "I wouldn't do better" or "I wouldn't write this better" such is the maturity and quality of the work.

This year once again I've had the pleasure of supervising a number of brilliant students and I can see three or four ending up publishedSince I am attending ICE - International Conference on Events in Macau, China, in September, I challenged one this year's students to submit an abstract to the conference. The abstract was accepted with no changes, with the following comment made by the reviewer:

"This is definitely one very interesting piece of submission to the conference I'm sure. It makes a lot of sense to use expectation management to frame the current research"

This is abstract of the paper written by the student and edited by me (very little). 

Strategies employed by wedding planners to manage clients’ unrealistic, fuzzy and implicit expectations

Kate Adams & Miguel Moital 
Department of Events & Leisure
Faculty of Management
Bournemouth University, UK

Expectations are widely regarded as the main reference point used by consumers to measure satisfaction and evaluate the performance of a service. Understanding what a consumer expects is considered one of the most vital steps in providing quality services and a manager’s ability to successfully manage client expectations has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Although expectation management has been studied in a professional service context, it has not been applied to events. This research aims to examine the techniques employed by managers when facing three different types of expectation; unrealistic, fuzzy and implicit.  These types of expectations can become extreme and create problems if they aren’t dealt with effectively. The study focuses specifically on wedding planners and their clients’ expectations. The higher the level of customer involvement in a service, the more intense and extreme expectations can become, and so the ability to manage wedding clients expectations effectively is vital for a wedding planner. 

A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews was used, interviewing eight wedding planners at several different UK venues. The process focused on the critical incident technique, which allowed the researcher to explore specific incidents in which managers faced extreme instances of unrealistic, fuzzy or implicit expectations, the behaviours they adopted and the outcomes. Coding was based on critical behaviours identified in the transcription process, and a list of techniques used by managers with each type of expectation was produced.

Findings stressed the importance of constant, clear communication and a strong relationship between client and manager in order to influence and manage expectations when planning a wedding. It was found that wedding coordinators adopt different expectation management techniques throughout all stages of the planning process; preventative strategies, reactive strategies and recovery strategies. The purpose of the strategies is to prevent unrealistic, fuzzy or implicit strategies from developing, to influence them to become realistic, focused or explicit if they become apparent, and to minimise the damage caused by them if they are not met by the wedding service offered. 

This research fills a gap in the existing knowledge of expectation management, particularly in the events industry. It offers a clear framework of management techniques based on the real life experiences of wedding planners. As unrealistic, fuzzy and implicit expectations can occur in any service, the findings can provide a useful tool to all managers, not just those in the wedding industry, to understand how to effectively manage client expectations and ensure that customer satisfaction is being achieved.