All posts by grigoriadisioannis

The Creation of Social Value: Can an Online Health Community Reduce Rural-Urban Health Disparities?

Online communities are growing in numbers, interactivity and therefore, significance. Online social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, undeniably affect our lives more and more every day. However, not always the creation of such an online community serves commercial purposes.

The aim of the article by Goh, Guodong (Gordon) Gao & Agarwal 2016 is to examine the creation of social value by the participation in an online community, created solely for patients of specific health diseases. The specific purpose of the authors is to examine whether the exchange of information on the platform can lead to a reduction of health disparities between urban and rural areas.

According to the literature, rural areas face greater health adversity issues because of asymmetrical access to information and health resources. What deteriorates the situation even further, is the fact that residents of rural areas do not have easy access to support groups. The above-mentioned facts lead patients to a limited number of interactions with healthcare professionals and peer patients, which in turn is the cause of their low health literacy. Therefore, the authors advocate that the participation on an online community will help alleviate those differences.

The main strengths of this study are its dataset, the model used, and the robustness checks that the authors performed. The dataset is focused on patients of a specific disease which according to the authors is the ideal for the purpose of this study. There reasons are, that the disease could be improved by the exchange of information, but at the same time it is relatively rare which makes the exchange of information between patients considerably difficult. The choice of an ERGM model is considered appropriate, since it has been proven to perform better on network data compared to a regression analysis, for instance. Lastly, the robustness checks, such as the elimination of top contributors in the network, improve the reader’s confidence in the results.

The article concludes that there is a net surplus of information transfer from urban to rural areas. Thus, participation of rural areas in online communities improves rural patients’ health capabilities. In turn, these enhanced capabilities lead to a reduction in health disparities which constitutes the creation of social value.

It could be argued, that the biggest weakness of the article lies in its conclusion. This study merely proves that there is a positive flow of information from urban to rural patients within the network. There is no evidence that this flow of information actually leads to a reduction of health disparities between the two areas. The authors base their conclusion on the assumption that improved health capabilities lead to a reduction of health disparities. However, the paper’s aspiration was to prove the creation of social value. In order for patients’ health to improve, the mere exchange of information is not considered enough. There must be a robust check on the quality of the information exchanged on the platform and most importantly on the results on patients’ health. It is only then, that we could come to a safe conclusion that the communication through this online community created significant social value.


Ready for a Recharge? Instantly book and only pay for the time you need!


Trying to find a place to relax briefly between your meetings? Do you need to work for a couple of hours on your project but you consider Starbucks a noisy place to go to? Did you just have a run and need to have a shower before you get back to the office, but your house is quite far? No matter what your situation might be, Recharge is the mobile app that can provide you with all of the above facilities!

What is Recharge?

Recharge is a pay-as-you-go or short-term hotel booking app. As many other newly born apps or platforms, such as Uber and Airbnb, it puts some of our spare resources in great use while at the same time creating profits and value for its participants.

How does it work?

By opening the app, you are provided with a map 57517f51dd0895370a8b4890-720showing the nearest hotels with available rooms. You select the room of your preference and press “Book now”. After your booking, you are given 30 minutes to arrive at the hotel before Recharge starts charging you for your stay. Your only transaction with reception would be to pick up your key and return it there since, checking-in & out as well as payment, are facilitated through the app. No advance bookings are allowed since Recharge is an on-demand service. Hotels have the freedom to update their inventory real-time according to their own needs and plans, thus maintaining full control over their assets.

How much does it cost?

The payment structure is either by minute or by the hour and indicatively could cost $0.66 / minute or $40-50 / hour for a stay at a 4-star hotel.


What about efficiency criteria?

The business model of Recharge is relatively new but has already been proven to bring joint profitability for all stakeholders (Carson et al. 1999). As far as the customers are concerned, it maximizes their utility by serving an unmet or under-served need. Taking hotels’ side into account, Recharge is providing them with increased occupancy of their assets which in turns brings 250K – 1M annually in additional revenue, depending upon hotel size and inventory allocation.

Examining the investment and effort that the hotels and customers must exert in order to enjoy that service, Recharge seems to be dealing effectively with keeping both at a minimal level. The customer only need 2 clicks to submit their bookings. Furthermore, hotel managers report, according to Recharge’s website, that they find Recharge’s dashboard very easy to use.

Recharge has also taken into account the institutional arrangements really seriously. In order to protect hotels from unwanted visitors and the app from negative publicity, Recharge is providing hotels the possibility to rate visitors. Much like drivers rating passengers at Uber, this feature provides the functionality needed to keep unwanted customers out of the ecosystem and ensure a positive experience for all the parties involved.

What are its future plans?

The services provided by the app are currently available in San Francisco and New York for iPhone users only. Additional locations such as, Los Angeles and London are going to become available in the near future though. Moreover, an application for Android users will be available in the spring.



Carson, S.J., Devinney, T.M., Dowling, G.R. and John, G., 1999. Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems. The Journal of Marketing, pp.115-130.

Managing Consumer Privacy Concerns in Personalization: A Strategic Analysis of Privacy Protection

In the digital age that we are living, one of the major concerns is the protection of our privacy. Research shows that 90% of all online consumers either do not disclose any personal information to companies at all or choose to disclose only to the ones committed to fully protecting their privacy (Taylor, 2003). On the other hand, companies need as much data regarding their customers as possible, in order to be able to provide them with effective personalized product recommendations.

The study of Lee, Ahn et al. delves into this topic by following a very interesting method of research. By implementing game theory, the authors studied the impact of autonomous privacy protection decisions, by firms, on competition, pricing and social welfare. Additionally, this research sheds light on the impact of a regulated environment, regarding privacy protection implementation, on social welfare.

The three main findings:

  1. Asymmetric protection mitigates competition. In simple words, when there are differences between the privacy protection measures that firms implement in any given market, the firm with the strongest privacy protection policy is able to increase its profitability by getting access to a wider pool of consumer data. This simply happens because this firm inspires customers to feel confident to share their personal data with it.
  2. The strategies that firms implement regarding privacy protection should be based on two criteria:
  • Investment cost of protection. This factor introduces the notion that firms in order to implement a privacy protection policy incur some costs such as, infrastructure, personnel and training costs.
  • Size of the personalization scope. This perception regards the pool of the customers for which companies possess personal information and thus are in a position of offering them personalized products or services.
  1. Regulation is socially desirable. According to the research, this holds true since, although the autonomous decisions of firms improve social welfare in general, they redistribute the benefits between firms and customers with firms enjoying the benefits and customers becoming worse-off.

As it can become easily understood, there are many stakeholders when it comes to privacy protection decisions. This research provides a robust foundation regarding the factors that managers should take into account while making decisions concerning their firm’s privacy protection policy. As far as academia is concerned, it connects privacy, in a personalization setting, with equilibria points regarding competition in a market setting. Finally, regulators have one additional source of guarantee that the introduction of privacy protection legislation will be beneficial for society.

In order for all the interested parties to be able to evaluate the findings of this study, it should be underlined, that the authors, in order to calculate the equilibrium in the market, used the notion of firm and customer privacy calculus. This notion advocates that both consumers and firms are perfectly capable of calculating the profits and costs of disclosure of their personal information and the decision of the implementation of a protection strategy respectively. However, this might not always be the case since a lot of biases take place in these processes, as research has already proven.



Sutanto, J, Palme, E, Chuan-Hoo, T, & Chee Wei, P 2013, ‘ADDRESSING THE PERSONALIZATION-PRIVACY PARADOX: AN EMPIRICAL ASSESSMENT FROM A FIELD EXPERIMENT ON SMARTPHONE USERS’, MIS Quarterly, 37, 4, pp. 1141-A5, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 February 2017.

Taylor, H. 2003. “Most People Are ‘Privacy Pragmatists’ Who, While Concerned about Privacy, Will Sometimes Trade it Off for Other Benefits,” The Harris Poll #17, Harris Interactive, New York, March 19 (available at http://www.harrisinteractive. com/harris_poll/index.asp? pid=365)