CBA Professor Speaks Big Data Ethics In Boston


Should a fitness band manufacturer be able to sell a person’s exercise and sleep habit information? Is it a grocery chain’s responsibility to protect reward card purchase data? Cal Poly Pomona professor Kristen Schiele has performed extensive research on the issues.

“In technology, the innovation curve is moving much faster than the regulation curve,” the College of Business Administration marketing faculty member says. “Companies have all this information and they don’t know what to do with it, but even if they did, many don’t know how to keep it private. How do we ethically use it and protect it?”

Schiele co-authored a paper titled, “Big Data, Big Problems: The Challenges of Big Data Ethics and Digital Privacy,” with Jack McAlplin of DZ Solutions that analyzes the current state of privacy in Big Data. She was chosen to present her findings at the Direct/Interactive Marketing Research Summit in Boston, Mass. Oct. 3-4.

The annual conference gives academics and practitioners an opportunity to learn from each other and exchange ideas on digital, social media, database and direct/interactive marketing topics. Presenters were chosen based on the quality of their research and ability to bring new knowledge into the field.

“Going to these conferences, I’m able to get feedback on my research from academics and make connections with companies that can get our students jobs or partner with us on projects,” Schiele says. “Creating partnerships both academic and with other people in the industry is really important and one of the big reasons I traveled to Boston.”

Entering her first year as an assistant marketing professor, Schiele was recruited by the international business and marketing department to help improve the digital marketing curriculum. She has a Ph.D. in marketing from University of California, Irvine and has industry experience with giants like The Irvine Company.

“Digital marketing is such a specialized area and not a lot of universities have it,” Schiele says. “The fact that we’re building this within our department is going to help make us stand out so it’s nice to be a part of it and get the name out there more and more.”

Considering the scholars following Schiele’s 30-minute presentation on big data were from Northeastern and Carnegie Mellon University and there were editors from the nation’s largest marketing journals in the crowd, she accomplished the goal of putting the Cal Poly Pomona name in front of an influential audience.

For good measure, Schiele also sent the panel a second piece she co-authored with Copenhagen Business School’s Pernille Ryden on managers’ use of online reviews that was accepted to the conference.

Through in-depth interviews with managers in the United States and Europe, the paper uncovers how managers emotionally and cognitively relate to online review systems like Yelp, learn what these technologies mean to them, what is deemed important or unimportant to their businesses, and how the way they sense and seize the technology influences their business practices.

“There has been prior research in the area, but it has focused on the consumer side of utilizing review sites,” Schiele says. “Managers aren’t using the free market research and we’re trying to figure out why that is.”

For more information on Dr. Kristen Schiele, please visit her faculty and staff page.