The third session of BizTalks Spring Series was organized by HKUST Business School on April 20. The talk delved into the intriguing theme of "How Do People Make References?" and featured two esteemed speakers who shared their latest research findings.

Associate Professor WANG Jing (Department of Information Systems, Business Statistics and Operations Management), presented an insightful study on the impact of firms’ participation in platform-endorsed review solicitation programs on consumers' online review generation. The study "The Pitfalls of Review Solicitation: Evidence from a Natural Experiment on TripAdvisor" uncovered some fascinating insights. It found that hotels' participation in the review solicitation program resulted in a 34.3% surge in review volume and a 0.151 increase in review rating. However, it also revealed a 16.9% decrease in review length, which is a significant drop. Additionally, review solicitation had a negative spillover effect on the volume of organic reviews, which fell by 15.5%. The study highlighted the motivational crowding-out effect as the driving force behind this negative spillover. Further analyses showed that the effects of review solicitation varied among hotels of different types and consumers with different demographic and behavioral characteristics.

The other speaker Assistant Professor TANG Rui (Department of Economics) presented a fascinating study on "Path Dependency in Physician Decisions" in an emergency department setting. The study revealed that physicians' treatment decisions for current and previous patients are positively correlated. The positive autocorrelation was higher when the current patient was of greater medical uncertainty or more similar to the previous patient in terms of observed characteristics. It was also higher when the physician was less experienced or more fatigued. The study supported the importance of memory and attention in physician decision-making.

The event was a resounding success, and the audience was left with a deeper understanding of how people make references and the factors that influence their decision-making processes.