Cameron School of Business

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Newsletter for Cameron School of Business Alumni

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Update for CSB Alumni

In This Issue (June 2021):


Business Week 2021

When the pandemic struck in March of 2020, Cameron School of Business faculty and UNCW pivoted quickly to on-line delivery of classes. Business Week, an event that links CSB alumni and our business community to current students, was unfortunately, canceled. This event welcomes hundreds of people to campus for three days of lectures, networking events, and presentations. Fast forward to 2021. As we all delt with the effects of the Pandemic, out of an abundance of caution for our students/faculty and the community at large, Business Week 2021 went totally virtual. In the 39-year history of the CSB premier event, this was the first time we strayed from tradition.
This year, hundreds of students attended our three keynote addresses as well as numerous individual sessions coordinated by individual departments each day on Zoom and Canvas, a virtual educational platform. Dr. Burt Folsom, Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College and Professor Emeritus and author of Myth of the Robber Barons, presented for the Cameron School of Business’ BB&T Lecture series economic history and how the United States became a leading powerhouse. CSB Alumni, Darion Jeralds – Strategic Sourcing & Materials Leader, Chief Diversity Officer, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy – spoke about the key features of what makes an effective leader. CSB Alumna, Melissa Phillippi – CEO and President of Performance Culture – closed the virtual event with a presentation on entrepreneurship.

In hosting a scaled back version of a widely attended event, the Business Week committee learned important new lessons on how to deliver our premier event to a diverse population without the need of face-to-face interaction. While we intend to return to our traditional networking events soon, these lessons will be used to continue to improve future Business Weeks as we move forward.

Thank you to all that attended the virtual events and to those that provided cutting edge education that CSB is known for delivering. We look forward to being back in person for Business Week in 2022.

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NeumeyerThumbnail.pngCSB Present GEARS Research at TEMSCON 2021

Students and Dr. Xaver Neumeyer from the Cameron School of Business had research presented at the prestigious 2021 IEEE Technology & Engineering Management Conference in Europe this May.

Dr. Neumeyer is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship for the Cameron School of Business and a faculty mentor for the Global Training Initiative’s GEARS program. This program blends cultural exchange and research programs for top students in North Carolina.

The team co-authored two papers, Towards a Holistic View of Technology Commercialization and On the Relationship between Digitalization and Managerial Competencies, both of which were accepted to TEMSCON 2021.

Read about Dr. Neumeyer’s experience as a GEARS mentor here.

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Are Companies Really Learning From Failure?


Dr. Alex Vestal, assistant professor of management at the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington recently had research highlighted by the AACSB. Vestal and co-author Dr. Erwin Danneels, associate professor of management at the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida, argued that while companies are moving to embrace failure for the sake of learning, this new workplace culture may not have the desired outcome if recovery discussions are not properly structured. “Even though tolerance for failure has been touted as beneficial for innovation by academics and journalists alike, surprisingly there has been no systematic empirical study to support this belief,” Vestal and Danneels state.

Their research suggests that companies should consider conjoining failure tolerance with structured conversations that steer employees in a direction of productivity rather than embarrassment or resentment by peers.

They have concluded that “because analyzing failure involves expressing controversial and challenging opinions, people are generally reluctant to discuss failures or do so only in superficial ways...Organization members need to make explicit efforts to learn from failure, and do so in a climate where people feel safe to talk about the tough issues.”

Read the full write up by the AACSB BizEd here.

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CustomerDelightThumbnail.png Customer Delight During a Crisis: Understanding Delight through a Different Lens

Donald C. Barnes, Jessica Mesmer-Magnus, Lisa L. Scribner, Alexandra Krallman, Rebecca M. Guidice*

All of our lives were in some way disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Accordingly, a team of researchers in the Cameron School of Business decided to pivot one of their research projects in the area of Customer Delight.

As firms were struggling to keep their businesses afloat during the early stages of the pandemic, it was unclear whether it was even possible for customers to overcome their newfound Covid-related anxieties to experience positive emotions in service encounters. Firms needed customers now more than ever, yet many faced never-before-seen and debilitating restrictions. Was it possible for companies to make customers happy when everything else seemed so negative?

To answer this question, researchers surveyed customers to find instances in which the respondents experienced customer delight during the pandemic. The research on customer delight up until the time of the pandemic had been primarily studied in inherently positive contexts, such as at theme parks or live sporting events, not during crisis situations.

Is Customer Delight Possible?

The customer delight concept arose from the satisfaction literature’s inability to lead to some extremely powerful business outcomes (e.g., loyalty, positive word-of-mouth communication). It is understood to be a positive emotional outcome for a customer when a firm exceeds the customer’s expectations to a surprising degree. At its most basic level, delight deals with promoting customer well-being by fulfilling human needs. Researchers from the Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight in the CSB recently found that nearly 95% of the customer delight research reported positive outcomes, such as more commitment, increased positive word-of-mouth and willingness to pay more. Hence, customer delight has great potential to positively affect a firm’s bottom line.

To help us better understand customer delight in a less-than-positive context, we incorporated a noted psychologist’s, Susan Fiske, model of five core human social needs: trusting, self-enhancing, belonging, understanding and controlling.  These needs can be grouped into three categories: affective needs (trust and self-enhancing), interpersonal needs (sense of belonging), and cognitive needs (understanding and control).  If these needs are fulfilled, the individual can experience two different types of well-being: hedonic (based on pleasure) and eudaimonic (based on meaning and purpose). Most prior customer delight research could be classified as hedonic in nature, but during a crisis this type of consumption may be less possible.  On the contrary, when customers are in a crisis situation, firms should be aware of alternate paths to create delight based on eudaimonic well-being.

This research study indicated that experienced well-being is a result of need fulfillment and understanding which needs are salient depends on the context. In times of crisis, fulfilling eudaimonic needs is a function of the extent to which a service encounter meets the needs of the customer and thus yields well-being and delight.

Implications for Firms

The good news is that firms can actually delight their customers and have been doing so during this pandemic! By focusing on understanding specific needs of the customer, firms can adapt service encounters and marketing messages.  For example, if a customer needs to be able to trust, the firm can focus on safety issues such as providing contact-less delivery.  For self-enhancing needs, a firm can encourage employees to talk with customers and find ways to make them feel special. To meet customers’ belonging needs, a firm can coach employees to have conversations that will make customers feel a sense of normalcy, that they “belong” in this place. In order to fulfill customers’ understanding needs, focus can be put on informing the customers about new procedures in order to help them make sense of events. Finally, to help customers with their need for control, firms can provide ways for customers to co-produce the product/service, allowing them a sense of competence and even positive impact on others.

In closing, it is essential to understand customers’ needs in order to be able to delight them, which will lead to multiple positive outcomes.  Global pandemics are not the only crises that our customers will face. Other crises (e.g., job loss, family illness, natural disasters) can emerge and have similar or even different impacts on customers, causing their needs to shift.  The good news is that even if customers are experiencing a crisis, if firms address eudaimonic needs, their customers can experience delight.

Excerpts come from “Customer Delight During a Crisis: Understanding Delight through the Lens of Transformative Service Research” in the Journal of Service Management. This research is made possible through the support of the Center for Sales Excellence & Customer Delight. 

*All researchers are faculty at the Cameron School of Business:
Donald C. Barnes, Associate Professor of Marketing
Jessica Mesmer-Magnus, Professor of Management
Lisa L. Scribner, Associate Professor of Marketing and Chair of Department of Marketing
Alexandra Krallman, Assistant Professor of Marketing
Rebecca M. Guidice, Professor of Management

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ConstructionThumbnail.png Cameron School of Business Construction Updates

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The Cameron School of Business has experienced some terrific growth, especially with the addition of  graduate online programs. When COVID-19 sent all of us home to work remotely, it opened a door for a new opportunity, construction and renovation. Limited staff and faculty on campus, plus remote students, proved to be ideal conditions for construction teams to complete their many projects. Here are a few of the Cameron School’s new spaces:

Our proudest improvement to Congdon Hall is the addition of a beautiful outdoor portico! You’ll have to make sure to come back for one of CSB’s popular annual events such as Business Week or WITX (Wilmington Information Technology eXchange). Check out these views!


Cameron Graduate and International Programs expanded into this newly-renovated space in Congdon Hall, previously occupied by the Swain Center. The construction crew worked to match the existing finish and create an appealing curved look for the entrance this spaceRight next door is a brand new LED stock tickerwhich displays current stock and index information, economic data, as well as the top news headlines of the day.


And just for students, a study cubby was also added in Congdon Hall, just outside the auditorium.


A study area was added just outside the Elwood and Mary Walker Lecture Hall in Cameron Hall, funded by a generous gift from Elwood and Mary Walker.


There are lots of other construction projects all over campus. Come visit and take a tour! We’d love to see you, fellow Seahawks.

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