Business and Management INK

Stakeholder Interests & Natural Gas

June 1, 2011 639

Jeffrey E. Lewin, David Strutton, and Audhesh K. Paswan, all of University of North Texas, published “Conflicting Stakeholder Interests and Natural Gas: A Macromarketing Perspective” in Online First in Journal of Macromarketing.

They kindly provided additional information regarding the recent article in their answers to the questions below.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The primary target audience for this article is business academics interested in issues related to the sustainability of the species, the environment, and the planet. Secondarily, the target audience includes academics from the psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology disciplines. Public sector practitioners, especially those involved in projects where the stakeholders face significant decision making dilemmas involving personal versus societal interests (e.g., alternative energy projects in and around urban areas), should consider these findings useful. Finally, private sector practitioners like managers involved in alternative energy projects (e.g., natural gas, wind turbines, solar energy, etc.) could find value in the topic and related study findings.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We did some preliminary investigation at the request of local area (Dallas-Fort Worth) stakeholders to gauge how best to manage the exploration and production of the natural gas embedded in the Barnett Shale Geologic Formation. Our take away from this preliminary investigation was that the interrelationships between natural gas companies and local properties owners was poorly understood; based primarily on anecdotal information and reports published in the popular press.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

We were surprised by the apparent dilemma property owners felt between deciding what was best for them as individuals and deciding what was best for the local community at large. While the underlying theoretical bases for our study suggested this would be the case, in reality we expected the results to weigh more heavily in favor of what was best for individual property owners, with much less influence being attributed to what was best for the community at large.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope other researchers will replicate or augment our findings by conducting similar investigations in (1) other urban geographic areas where shale embedded natural gas has been discovered and/or extracted and/or (2) in urban areas situated in close proximity to wind turbine and/or solar panel farms.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

This is a new area of research for us. However, we currently have two projects underway. The first examines the short- and longer-term impact of the Great Recession in terms of future economic outlook, adjustments to personal spending and saving, and changes in consumption behavior. The second project examines consumers’ current beliefs, attitudes, and subsequent behaviors related to environmental conservation and sustainability issues (e.g., recycling, conscientious consumption purchasing, daily conservation activities, etc.).

How did your paper change during the review process?

Substantially! The JMM review process for this paper was very rigorous. For example, one anonymous reviewer required that we take a broader look/discussion at the topic area in terms of both potentially short- and longer-term solutions to the energy consumption/environmental degradation topic (e.g., emphasizing that alternative energy sources such as natural gas only slows environmental degradation, rather than halting or reversing it). Another anonymous reviewer made us aware that many people are poorly informed regarding how the process works for property owners who find themselves in these sorts of decision making situations, and required that we accommodate this circumstance in subsequent revisions of the original submission.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

In our view, a single study can only make an incremental contribution to a given topic area. Nonetheless, this study was developed and executed in a careful, rigorous, and complete manner. But obviously, collecting data from other stakeholder groups (e.g., natural gas companies, public administrators) might have provided a more complete ‘picture’. Collecting longitudinal data could also demonstrate how property owners’ beliefs, attitudes, and opinions might change over time. On the other hand, extending the current work to include these other aspects might prove counter-productive in terms of timeliness of reporting, potential confounds and biases associated with overaggressive data collection efforts and empirical analyses.

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