Dr Ai-Ling Lai

Ai-Ling LaiLecturer in Marketing

Room 525, Level 5, Ken Edwards Building

Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 5646

Email: al231@le.ac.uk

Personal details

Prior to joining the School of Management in September 2009, I had previously been appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire and Bournemouth University Media School.

During my appointment at Bournemouth University, I was involved in managing a range of research projects for business clients including Bournemouth International Airport and Bournemouth West Hampshire Water Company.

I also worked for Comag Magazine Marketing, a third party distribution company responsible for the marketing and retailing of a range of titles including Cosmopolitan, Vogue, GQ and Men’s Health.

Awards and other activities

  • Invited Guest Speaker (2015) on BBC Radio 4, Thinking Allowed on ‘Being Single – Modern Romance’. A recording of the show is available online
  • Invited Guest Speaker (2014), 'The Living Corpse: Exploring Potential Donors’ Perceptions of Body-in-Death and Ambivalence in Organ Donation', University of Aberdeen, March 2014
  • Organiser of the Spectacularisation Workshop (2013): I host and organise an interdisciplinary workshop in conjunction with Bournemouth Media School exploring the work of Guy Debord, University of Leicester in September 2013
  • Invited Workshop (2012), 'Body Parts as Public Goods: Problematizing Gift Relations within the Context of Organ Donation', What Price Creativity: Valuing Social/Public Goods, University of St. Andrew, December 2012
  • Best Paper Award (2010) sponsored by The Journal of Social Marketing, in Transformational Marketing Track at Academy of Marketing Conference: A Hermeneutic Reading of the Gift-of-Life Organ Donation Advertising Campaign, University of Coventry
  • Innovation Partnership (2010) funded by European Regional Development Fund for £7,500 with local charity in the area of B2B market research and development (co-managed with Matthew Higgins and Nick Ellis)
  • Invited Workshop (2010), 'Narratives of the Heart: Exploring Ambivalence in Organ Donation', Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Ethics and Economics of a Medical Crisis, University of St. Andrew, July 2010
  • Invited Workshop (2004), 'Narratives of the Heart: Exploring Ambivalence in Organ Donation', Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Ethics and Economics of a Medical Crisis, University of St. Andrew, July 2010
  • Reviewer for:
    • Marketing Theory
    • Macromarketing
    • Journal of Marketing Management
    • Advances in Consumer Research
    • International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion

Grant and innovation partnership activities

Eartheat (April 2011 – February 2012)

In collaboration with Dr. Matthew Higgins, Dr. Nick Ellis and Dr. Robert Cluley), we have successfully completed a £7,000 Innovation Partnership Project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF). This project provides knowledge transfer of marketing theories, which entails facilitating the marketing development for Eartheat, a local company specialising in designing and installing heat pump.

This project brings together our expertise in marketing, specifically in the area of business-to-business marketing, greener marketing and marketing communications. As a result, Eartheat is able to redefine its product and service offerings. They have also redesigned their website as a result of this collaboration, resulting in a significant increase in visitor traffic and enquiries.

Giving World Online/Konnect9 (2010)

In collaboration with Dr. Matthew Higgins and Dr. Nick Ellis, I have successfully completed a £7500 Innovation Partnership project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF).

This project has successfully facilitated knowledge transfer, where our expertise in marketing has assisted in the market development of a local charity, Giving World Online/Konnect9 (GWO). Qualitative research was conducted with potential donors of GWO culminating into an in-depth report on donor behavior, barrier for donation and B2B marketing strategy.

Teaching

Office hours: See the timetable on my office door

  • BA (Hon) Management: Module Leader for Consumer Culture, International Marketing Communications and Consumer Research
  • MSc Marketing: Module Leader for Marketing Research
  • MSc Marketing and Diploma in Marketing (Distance Learning): Module Leader for Marketing Research, Consumption, Society and Culture, Marketing Management and Marketing Project. I am responsible for facilitating online learning environment through Blackboard, setting assignment questions and outlining the marking guidelines for module tutors.

As a personal tutor, I provide pastoral support and academic guidance for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Faculty visits: I provide lectures and academic support for distance learning students on faculty visits to partner institutions. To date, I have participated in faculty visits to

  • Hong Kong (May 2011)
  • Dubai (September 2011)
  • Thailand (January, 2013)
  • Uganda (November 2011 and November 2013)

Summer School: I provided lectures on Research Methods for distance learning students during Summer School, an annual residential event held at the School of Management.

Administrative responsibilities

Programme Leader for MSc Marketing (2013–present)

  • I oversaw the day-to-day management of the MSc Marketing programme
  • I supported the running of student induction
  • I monitored and facilitating student evaluation of the programme
  • I coordinated staff resources for dissertation supervision and personal tutorship
  • I ensured the course cohere academically to programme specifications
  • I produced course information such as programme handbook and dissertation handbook

British Council Education Fair and Alumni Network, Thailand (January 2013)

  • I assisted in the recruitment of oversea students at the British Council Education Fair in Bangkok, Thailand
  • I engendered a continuous relationship with former ULSM students at the alumni evening dinner in Bangkok, Thailand

Undergraduate Admission Tutor (2011-2012)

  • I oversaw and monitored the admission of undergraduate applications
  • I assisted in the running of open days
  • I liaised with various departments within the university such as the International Office and the International Study Centre (ISC) to review and monitor current schemes aiming to recruit international students onto the undergraduate programmes

Publications

Hill, B. and Lai, A-L (forthcoming), Class Talk: Habitus and Class in Parental Narratives of School Choice, Journal of Marketing Management.

Lai, A-L. (2015), The Mortal Coil and the Political Economy of Death: A Critical Engagement with Baudrillard, in S. Dobscha (ed.) Death in Consumer Culture, Routledge Interpretive Marketing Research, Taylor & Francis

Lai, A-L., Lim, M. and Higgins, M. (2015) ‘The Abject Single: Exploring Gendered Experience of Singleness in Britain,’ Journal of Marketing Management, Special Issue on ‘Theorising Gender and Gendering Theory in Marketing and Consumer Research, Vol.31 (15/16), 1559-1582. Article is accessible here.

Lai, A-L., Lim, M. and Higgins, M. (2014), “Spinsters and Bachelors: Negotiating the ‘Single’ Identity in a Couple-Orientated Marketplace”, in G. Cornelissen, E. Reutskaja and A. Valenzuela (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, Barcelona, Association for Consumer Research.

Lai, A-L., (2014), “Conceptualising Mortality: Existential Anxiety of Death in Organ Donation”, in G. Cornelissen, E. Reutskaja and A. Valenzuela (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, Barcelona, Association for Consumer Research.

Lai, A-L (2013), “Cyborg as Commodity: Exploring Conceptions of Self-Identity, Body and Citizenship within the Context of Emerging Transplant Technology”, in Z. Gurhan-Canli, C. Otnes and J.R. Zhu (Eds.). Advances in Consumer Research, Vancouver, Association for Consumer Research.

Lai, A-L. (2011), “The Love Muscle: Commodification of the Heart as the Gift-Of-Life” in A. Bradshaw, C. Hackley & P. Maclaran (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, London, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 9.

Lai, A-L. (2011), “A Hermeneutic Appreciation of the Performative Role of Language in Consumer Research” in A. Bradshaw, C. Hackley & P. Maclaran (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, London, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 9.

Lai, A.L. & Dermody, J. (2009). Cannibal or Commodity Fetish: Body Parts As Material Interaction, in A.L. McGill & S. Shavitt (Eds.). Advances in Consumer Research, San Francisco, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 36: 339-347.

Lai, A.L. & Dermody, J. (2009). The ‘Living Dead’: An Exploration of the Social Biographies of Donor-Cadavers as Intentional Objects, in A.L. McGill & S. Shavitt (Eds.). Advances in Consumer Research, San Francisco, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 36: 177-180.

Lai, A.L., Dermody, J., & Hanmer-Lloyd, S. (2008). An Existential Analysis of Consumers as “Incarnated Beings”: A Merleau-Pontyian Perspective, in S. Borghini, M. A. Mcgrath & C. Otnes (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, Milan, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 8: 381-389.

Lai, A.L., Dermody, J., & Hanmer-Lloyd, S. (2007). Exploring Cadaveric Organ Donation: A 'Mortal Embodiment' Perspective. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 23(5-6): 557-585.

Lai, A.L., Dermody, J., and Hanmer-Lloyd, S. (2007). Shedding the Cocoon: A ‘Mortal Embodiment’ Perspective of Organ Donation in Supporting and Enhancing Life, in G. Fitzsimons & V. Morwitz (Eds.). Advances in Consumer Research, Orlando, Florida, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 34: 167-174.

Lai, A.L., Dermody, J., and Hanmer-Lloyd, S. (2006). Embodying Mortality: Exploring Women’s Perceptions of Mortal Embodiment in Shaping Ambivalence towards Cadaveric Organ Donation, in K. M. Ekstrom & H. Brembeck (Eds.). European Advances in Consumer Research, Goteborg, Sweden, Association for Consumer Research, Vol. 7: 360-366.

Conference proceedings

Lai, A-L. (2010), “Uncovering (Dis)embodied Meanings in the Gift-of-Life Organ Donation Advertising Campaign: A Hermeneutic Reading”, Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Conference, University of Coventry, 6-8 July.

Lai, A.L. (2009). Exorcising the Cartesian Ghost: Embracing an Embodied Epistemology in Interpretive Consumer Research, in A. Caru, B. Cova and A. Shankar (Eds.). The 5th Workshop on Interpretive Consumer Research, Milan.

Research

I'm interested in interpretive consumer research, which draws on socio-cultural theories and existential philosophy to explore heterodox concepts within the discipline. In particular, my research draws on theories of embodiment, posthumanism, mortality/death, self-identity and materiality.

Methodologically, I work within the interpretive tradition, particularly in hermeneutics research as well as discourse analysis. My research aims to draw theoretical as well as practical insights for marketing practices, consumer culture and marketing communications.

Project 1: Single Identity and the Marketplace (with Matthew Higgins and Ming Lim)

In collaboration with Dr. Ming Lim and Dr. Matthew Higgins, this research aims to:

  • Explore the narratives of single adults and their experience of the marketplace
  • Explore the neglected and often ‘unspoken’ area of ‘singleness’ in consumer research, which according to Budgeon (2008) mirrors broader marginalisation of ‘singleness’ as a troubled category.
  • Demonstrate how the experience of singleness is constantly being negotiated within the marketplace, which continues to reproduce practices that privilege heterosexual coupledom and parenthood
  • Provide insights into how marketing practices are experienced and accommodated by single people
  • Contribute to debates surrounding public policy, particularly in the area of taxation and housing

Project 2: Understanding Perception of Emerging Transplant Technology and Organ Donation: Marketing Implications

This research:

  • Adopts an existential-phenomenological perspective to explore potential donors’ ambivalent perceptions towards cadaveric organ donation and emerging transplant technology
  • Seeks to explore how the British public perceives and reflects on the ethical as well as moral dilemma posed by advances in transplant technology.
  • Aims to engage the British public in debating the social and cultural issues raised by emerging transplant technologies in four principal areas (ie xenotransplantation, organ cloning, artificial organs and face transplantation).
  • Has significant implications informing the marketing of organ donation, most notably the ‘Gift-of-Life’ promotional campaign
  • Offers interview accounts from potential organ donors, who as members of the public articulate and contest politically, ethically and socially significant questions pertaining to the role of medical technology in society
  • Opens up lay debate that may have implications on acceptance of public policy and marketing practices surrounding organ transplantation

Supervision

I undertake dissertation supervision for a range of marketing-related topics on both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

PhD student

Mr. Akponah Orhie Precious (2013 – present): The Social Life of Rubbish: An Ethnographic Research in Lagos, Nigeria (with Dr. Matthew Higgins)

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Contact Details

School of Business
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH

ulsb@le.ac.uk

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