Logistics, Business & Public Policy Theses and Dissertations

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    Platform Design Strategies and Implications for User Behaviors
    (2023) Mudambi, Maya; Viswanathan, Siva; Business and Management: Logistics, Business & Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This work examines how the design, features, and moderation policies of online platforms impact user behavior in myriad ways and have significant externalities on society at large. The first two studies examine the effectiveness of different content moderation policies adopted by user-generated content platforms to address issues related to misinformation and verbal aggression, respectively. The third study examines how the design of financial incentive structures affects the behaviors of users on a crowdsourcing platform. The studies produce theoretical implications regarding human behavior on online platforms, from the spreading of misinformation to interpersonal verbal aggression, to the behavioral response to monetary rewards. I additionally make recommendations for practitioners regarding optimal platform design and policies.
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    Modeling the Determinants of Satisfaction and Commitment in Buyer-Seller Relationships in the Less-Than-Truckload Segment of the Motor Carrier Industry
    (1992) Jarrell, Judith L.; Corsi, Thomas M.; Transportation, Business and Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Buyer-seller relationships in the U.S. are changing with the advent of closer, longer-term alliances. In establishing and maintaining these alliances, firms need to understand those factors which determine satisfaction and commitment in relationships. Drawing on theoretical and conceptual work based on Resource Dependence Theory and Social Exchange Theory, this dissertation focused on the buyer-seller dyad in the less-than-truckload segment of the motor carrier industry. The buyer-seller dyads in this segment are particularly interesting since deregulation has necessitated dramatic changes in these relationships. A system of structural equations modeled the determinants of shipper's satisfaction and commitment in these dyads using a correlation input matrix. The network of influencing factors included: carrier's power, shipper's power, comparison level given an alternative and trust. The analysis allowed an in-depth discussion of the relative importance of each of these constructs and found both shipper's power and comparison level given an alternative to have a great influence on satisfaction; satisfaction and trust significantly affect commitment, with satisfaction being more important, relatively speaking. The managerial implications of this research focused on understanding those factors which are most important in creating satisfaction and commitment in buyer-seller relationships. Carrier's need to dedicate personnel to key accounts in order to display initiative in problem solving and responsiveness to inquiries in order to enhance shipper's satisfaction and willingness to commit to a long-term relationship. Other suggested programs include offering customer-oriented programs such as 1-800 numbers, increased flexibility in pick-up and delivery times, and a willingness to forego some accessorial charges.
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    (2022) PARK, HYOSOO Kevin; Dresner, Martin; Pan, Xiaodan; Business and Management: Logistics, Business & Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Over the past decade, direct-to-consumer retail deliveries have increased significantly, bolstered by the development of dedicated restaurant and retailer delivery platforms. This dissertation, composed of three essays, examines topics related to the performance of delivery platforms and their retail partners.The first essay compares the impact of delivery partnerships and in-house delivery capabilities on the direct channel sales of restaurant chains. Furthermore, the moderating effects of containment and health measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic are examined. I find that delivery platform partnerships and in-house deliveries both positively impact restaurant sales. However, as containment and health measures increase, impacts from delivery platforms wane. Conversely, in-house delivery becomes more beneficial at impacting restaurant sales as containment and health measures increase. In the second essay, I analyze how delivery platform partnerships affect the sales of both grocery retailers and delivery platforms. Two distinct partnerships stages are assessed: 1) platform access, where a grocery retailer’s same-day delivery is only offered through a partner platform’s website, and 2) usage integration, where the platform’s same-day delivery services are integrated into the retailer’s website. I find that platform access provides positive impacts for online sales of both the retailer and the delivery platform. However, usage integration, the second level of the partnership integration, provides benefits to the retailer’s online channel but not to the platform channel. The third essay analyzes how delivery platform partnerships impact retailer and delivery platform sales and how vertical integration between the two partners moderates these relationships. I find that delivery platform partnerships have a positive effect on both retailer and delivery platform sales. However, these positive impacts depend on whether the two partners are vertically integrated. Without a common ownership structure, delivery platform sales crowd out retailer store sales. Likewise, retailer sales crowd out delivery platform sales without vertical integration.
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    The Competition on Online Marketplaces
    (2022) Su, Hao; Dresner, Martin E.; Business and Management: Logistics, Business & Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines competition in online marketplaces using data from the largest online marketplace in the U.S., Amazon.com. The first essay studies direct sales competition between a marketplace operator and third parties that sell their products on the marketplace and examines factors that third-party sellers may use to avoid direct competition with the marketplace operator. I find that third-party sellers can best avoid competing directly with Amazon by selling unbranded products and by marketing products that are fulfilled by Amazon. The second essay investigates competitive results between the marketplace operator and third-party sellers. I find that despite inherent competitive disadvantages, third-party sellers may increase their likelihood of winning the sales competition against the marketplace operator when they offer a lower price than the marketplace operator and when they use the marketplace operator’s fulfillment services. In addition, a third-party seller using direct fulfillment is less likely to outcompete a seller using operator-managed fulfillment services, but it can be more competitive when it offers lower prices and when it sells low-priced products. The third essay investigates how employment of the marketplace’s store banner impacts sales performance for both private label products and non-private label products on an online marketplace. I find that directly branding private labels and using store banners on non-private label products are both associated with greater sales performance. In addition, lower-priced products and non-private label products may achieve greater benefits from store banners. The findings contribute to the online marketplace literature by empirically testing the impact of direct sales, fulfillment services, and store banner use on competition between a marketplace operator and third-party sellers. The findings also contribute to important antitrust considerations.
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    Competition, Firm Financial Pressure, and Location Strategy: 3 Essays on Firm Domestic and International Expansion
    (2022) Jaffe, Roxanne L; Chung, Wilbur; Business and Management: Logistics, Business & Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines the relationship between firm capabilities, including firm financial condition, and expansion strategy in a competitive environment. In Essay 1, I build a formal model of firm geographical expansion and entry timing based on Cournot competition that is driven by heterogeneity in firm, location, and competition traits. Using Monte-Carlo simulation, I identify firm best responses and Nash Equilibrium which serve as predictions for empirical inquiry in Essay 2 and Essay 3. Variation in firm traits and location traits lead to different expansion outcomes including whether firms expand at all, whether firms enter a market early or later, and which geographical location firms choose. While similar firms choose similar expansion behavior, as firms’ relative capabilities and revenue pressure differ, staggered entry becomes more appealing, resulting in differential firm profits. Additionally, expansion strategy becomes more nuanced when considering the interaction between firm, competitor, and location traits, both domestically and internationally. I focus on two key mechanisms of interest and test these empirically: revenue pressure in Essay 2, and liability of foreignness in Essay 3. I focus on a subset of propositions that map to my empirical setting: expansion into cities by firms in the micro-mobility industry (scooter, bike, and moped share companies). In Essay 2, the empirical results for US expansion activity support model predictions that more capable firms expand before less capable firms, but that revenue pressure pushes firms to expand earlier than they would prefer. Extending the model to capture international expansion in Essay 3, I find that liability foreignness helps explain the entry timing of firms at the country level, as well as a subset of entry decisions at the city level. This final essay highlights the nuances of various measures of liability of foreignness, as well as the importance of separating out different levels of analysis (e.g., at the city and country level) when examining firm entry decisions.