ASU Gammage named Impact Business of the Year by Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

May 12, 2017

ASU Gammage was named the 2017 Impact Business of the Year in addition to being awarded the 2017 Economic Driver Award in the Small-to-Medium Business categories.

“For more than 50 years, ASU Gammage has strived to be the heart of the arts in our Valley, and winning this award is such an incredible honor,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Gammage and ASU vice president for cultural affairs.  Impact Awards Victor Hamburger (left), ASU Gammage senior director of marketing and communications, accepts the 2017 Impact Business of the Year Award after also receiving the 2017 Economic Driver Award for ASU Gammage. Hamburger celebrates with Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and Ann Becker, vice president and chief procurement officer for Arizona Public Service Company. Download Full Image

The award honored ASU Gammage for its positive influence on the Valley’s business community, culture and economy, as part of the 2017 Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s (GPCC) Impact Awards.

“ASU Gammage welcomes people from all walks of life and we strive to create an inclusive home for the arts and assume the fundamental responsibilities for economic, social and cultural health of the communities we serve,” said Victor Hamburger, ASU Gammage senior director of marketing and communications after accepting the award. “There is an art to business and we like to prove there is a business to the arts. Like Irving Berlin said ‘There’s no business, like show business’.”

“We have an amazing and dedicated team that is driven by our mission of Connecting Communities and this honor is a testament to their hard work,” Jennings-Roggensack said.

Southwest Airlines won the 2017 IMPACT Business of the Year award in the Large Business category.

The awardees were honored at the 30th annual GPCC IMPACT Awards luncheon, May 10, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.

In addition to showing the arts performances in multiple disciplines, from Broadway and around the globe, ASU Gammage also drives the Valley’s economy by attracting patrons from across the state whose business helps local organizations flourish as well. 

Although part of the university, ASU Gammage operates as a self-sustaining business. The majority of its funding comes from its Broadway series and the rest comes from philanthropy. This business model, driven by private support and ticket sales with no funding from the university or the state, runs like a business, but with the heart of a nonprofit.

The luncheon honored all eight IMPACT Award winners including the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, Crisis Response Network, Inc., ASU Gammage, Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Southwest Airlines, EPCOR Water USA and Sonora Quest Laboratories.

“This year’s IMPACT Awards recipients are a testament to the success that can be achieved through dedication to leadership, innovation and community,” said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Sanders. “These businesses and organizations will continue to drive the growth of the Greater Phoenix region for years to come.”

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage


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ASU research proves link between peer pressure, immoral behavior

So-called bonding hormone plays role in engaging in immoral behavior.
May 12, 2017

Study from post-doctoral researcher Goekhan Aydogan finds that oxytocin enhances conformity

Hope you were nice to your mom on Mother’s Day, because it turns out she was right all along: Hanging out with the wrong crowd can lead you to make bad decisions, and for the first time an ASU researcher has proved it and provided a theory to explain why.

A new study from post-doctoral researcher Goekhan Aydogan published in Psychological Science, found that conformity is enhanced by oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone, and that the enhancement has a detrimental effect on honesty and moral values in a competitive environment.

Aydogan’s study builds on previous research, which also found that oxytocin increased conformity. He took a step further by proving that it leads to an increase in immoral behavior.

“This is the first study to show that peer pressure has a detrimental effect on moral values,” he explained.

Oxytocin is released into the brain and the bloodstream as a result of various social stimuli, such as a baby crying or a friendly face, and it has a variety of effects, not all of which are known or understood.

In women who have just given birth, it is believed oxytocin is released to enhance bonding between her and the baby, prompting some to refer to it as the “cuddle” hormone, or the “love” hormone.

But that doesn’t paint the whole picture, Aydogan points out, given its connection to conforming behavior.

“You can think of oxytocin like a mechanism that bonds group members together,” he said.

With that in mind, Aydogan and his team designed an experiment in which 60 participants were given a dose of oxytocin via nasal spray, and 60 participants were given a placebo via nasal spray. They were then asked to privately flip a coin and report whether it landed on heads or tails — heads resulted in a monetary reward.

Because the participants were the only ones who saw the result of the coin flip, they could lie without detection in order to receive the monetary reward. By comparing the reported outcomes of all the participants with their statistical chance implied by a fair coin, researchers were able to assess honesty on an aggregate level. However, researchers did not find a significant difference in lying about the results between the participants who had received oxytocin and the participants who had received a placebo.

Participants then performed the coin-tossing task again, this time with the opportunity to receive a greater monetary reward if they performed better than a competitor. In this case, researchers found that participants who had received oxytocin lied more about the coin flip results than those who had not.

Aydogan provides athletes as real-world examples. Despite the serious consequences, many cheat by doping because they believe that close peers and rivals do, too.

If, as Aydogan presumes, athletes release oxytocin — the group bonding hormone — as a result of interacting with those peers in a competitive environment, they will become more likely to engage in conforming behavior, even if it would otherwise be considered immoral.

“If you assume everyone else is using performance enhancing drugs, then you … might perceive this as not immoral anymore because everyone else is doing it,” Aydogan said. “So a kind of new norm is created where everyone is using performance enhancing drugs.”

The results of the study have implications for policymakers and those in position of power, Aydogan said.

“It’s extremely important to communicate that if you observe fraudulent behavior — like doping or tax evasion — that it is not common practice,” he said.

But it’s also important to prevent the situation in the first place: “At the same time, what you want to do is appeal to the moral code of people. Appeal to their personal responsibility. Like in elementary school, if someone jumps out of window, would you jump as well? This is basically the idea: Don’t do it just because everyone does it.”