Ryan Buell

4 Results


Creating Reciprocal Value Through Operational Transparency

Our labor is a part of a constant social process in which we work reciprocally on each other's behalf. Yet despite this interconnectivity, labor is becoming less and less interactive. We rarely observe the beneficiaries of our own efforts, nor do we observe and appreciate the people and processes that create the products and services we enjoy. In this paper, the authors argue and demonstrate through experiments that operational transparency between customers and employees essentially positions both parties as actor and observer, each with the potential to benefit from the other, and in ways that create perceived and objective value. The gains in performance can also be economically meaningful. The results therefore cast transparency as one additional lever that service managers may consider to improve the efficiency of their processes and the quality of outcomes they deliver. Furthermore, by making operational processes transparent, the authors suggest that companies can imbue the processes with substantive meaning for customers and employees alike, in ways that could potentially benefit the company. Read More

How Government Can Restore the Faith of Citizens

Would we like government more if we could see what it was doing to help citizens? Research by Michael Norton and Ryan Buell. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Surfacing the Submerged State with Operational Transparency in Government Services

Research shows that Americans' trust in government is near historic lows and frustration with government performance is approaching record highs. While debates rage about how effective government is in providing basic services, one explanation for these trends in public opinion is that, independent of effectiveness, many voters may simply be unaware that government provides any services at all. Previous research by the authors reveals that seeing the labor in which firms engage improves customer satisfaction. In this paper, the authors design and test an intervention targeted toward increasing citizens' awareness of the services provided by government. Specifically, they present the results of an experiment in which Boston-area residents interacted with a website that visualized the service requests submitted by members of the public and the City's efforts to address those requests. Does seeing the work of government—fixing potholes, repairing streetlamps, removing graffiti, collecting garbage—lead citizens to express more positive attitudes toward government and increase their support for maintaining and expanding the scale of government programs? The study shows that providing greater operational transparency into government's efforts to address citizens' needs can improve attitudes toward government. Read More

Studying How Income Inequality Shapes Behavior

Professor David A. Moss is studying how growing income disparity affects our decision-making on everything from risk-taking to voting. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.