I am originally from the Southside of Chicago, which contrary to what some may believe, is a place where community is very important. It is also a place where one sees firsthand how deeply ingrained our societal challenges can be. I’m also the oldest of three children! So, for most of my life I’ve had to balance my needs while also considering those of others (my younger brothers!). So, I guess my interests in the societal aspects of marketing stem from my personal experiences.
As an MBA student at Providence College, I had the opportunity to research the economic effects of mobile payment adoption on micro-entrepreneurs in East Africa. That research project provided me with a blueprint on how I could investigate the intersection of business and society. Coming to Tech as a PhD student, I wanted to continue to explore these types of issues. Corporate social responsibility/sustainability was just a natural fit. A lot of the prior research on sustainability and firms show that there is a mismatch between consumers’ stated sustainability beliefs and their purchase of sustainable products.
So my first year paper, on which I worked with Omar Rodriguez-Vila (Assistant Professor Marketing), examined the effects of sustainability on consumer attitudes towards brands. One day, while working on this project I noticed a Tesla – a luxury electric vehicle. From there, I began to wonder how luxury brands, fashion brands in particular, were addressing sustainability. I brought this idea to Sara Dommer (Assistant Professor Marketing) and the project was born. I would say that my personal interests and my natural curiosity led me to this and all of the projects that I work on, which is one of the great perks of academia!
Dionne Nickerson is a Doctoral candidate in Marketing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.