Persistence drives Distinguished Scholar’s research

Kai-Yu Wang is proof that persistence is key to being a successful researcher.

During his early years at the Goodman School of Business, Wang worked in earnest to get his research published with no luck.

Today, the Chair of Marketing, International Business and Strategy has a long list of publications to his name and has been named Distinguished Scholar of the Year by the School for his prolific research in digital marketing.

Wang is one of two Goodman professors to be recognized for his work. Eugene Kaciak, Professor of Operations Management, also received the award this year.

“It’s truly an honour to me and, of course, it’s very encouraging to me because when I reflect on my past 15 years at Brock, I wasn’t publishing papers in the first two years,” Wang recalls. “I just continued working despite the rejection I received. I just kept pushing forward. Then I started to get papers published, and to be named Distinguished Scholar, it’s quite a journey.”

These days, Wang counts the Journal of Business Research, Computers in Human Behaviour and the International Journal of Information Management among the many that have published his work in three areas: Consumer response to marketing applications of artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the metaverse; social media and psychological well-being, particularly during the pandemic; and strategies for responding to customer complaints on social media.

Distinguished Scholar of the Year is one of many awards Wang has received during his time at Goodman. He’s also earned Faculty and University-wide recognition for teaching excellence and awards for best conference papers, departmental researcher of the year and innovation in business education.

In addition to persistence, curiosity has been essential to Wang’s research.

“I just want to explore things,” he says. “In the business world, there are lots of fascinating things to explore.”

Considering the relative newness of his areas of focus, there are many questions Wang has and hopes to answer. He wants his work to benefit existing practitioners, but as someone who teaches digital marketing, he knows his research is also helping to shape the future of the industry. So, it’s imperative Wang stay current and fill any gaps in knowledge in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

“Similar to science, business has lots of areas to do research and lots of need for research. No matter which area is your focus, learning how to do research is essential,” Wang says. “With research, that will help me help students understand what they’re facing. Everything we’re seeing in a textbook happened five years ago, so doing research and sharing my findings helps my students keep up to date with knowledge in marketing.”

The other secret to Wang’s success? A pure love for what he does.

“Even without this award, I’d still do my research. I love research and the work, but this award makes me feel that my hard work to publish all those papers is valued and shows the research culture at Goodman School of Business, which is important,” he says. “Doing research – the whole process from start to finish – is very rewarding for me.”

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