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  • Owusu, Richard A. (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2003)
    Despite thirty years of research in interorganizational networks and project business within the industrial networks approach and relationship marketing, collective capability of networks of business and other interorganizational actors has not been explicitly conceptualized and studied within the above-named approaches. This is despite the fact that the two approaches maintain that networking is one of the core strategies for the long-term survival of market actors. Recently, many scholars within the above-named approaches have emphasized that the survival of market actors is based on the strength of their networks and that inter-firm competition is being replaced by inter-network competition. Furthermore, project business is characterized by the building of goal-oriented, temporary networks whose aims, structures, and procedures are clarified and that are governed by processes of interaction as well as recurrent contracts. This study develops frameworks for studying and analysing collective network capability, i.e. collective capability created for the network of firms. The concept is first justified and positioned within the industrial networks, project business, and relationship marketing schools. An eclectic source of conceptual input is based on four major approaches to interorganizational business relationships. The study uses qualitative research and analysis, and the case report analyses the empirical phenomenon using a large number of qualitative techniques: tables, diagrams, network models, matrices etc. The study shows the high level of uniqueness and complexity of international project business. While perceived psychic distance between the parties may be small due to previous project experiences and the benefit of existing relationships, a varied number of critical events develop due to the economic and local context of the recipient country as well as the coordination demands of the large number of involved actors. The study shows that the successful creation of collective network capability led to the success of the network for the studied project. The processes and structures for creating collective network capability are encapsulated in a model of governance factors for interorganizational networks. The theoretical and management implications are summarized in seven propositions. The core implication is that project business success in unique and complex environments is achieved by accessing the capabilities of a network of actors, and project management in such environments should be built on both contractual and cooperative procedures with local recipient country parties.
  • Kauppinen, Hannele (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2005)
    Colour is an essential aspect of our daily life, and still, it is a neglected issue within marketing research. The main reason for studying colours is to understand the impact of colours on consumer behaviour, and thus, colours should be studied when it comes to branding, advertising, packages, interiors, and the clothes of the employees, for example. This was an exploratory study about the impact of colours on packages. The focus was on low-involvement purchasing, where the consumer puts limited effort into the decision-making. The basis was a scenario in which the consumer faces an unpredictable problem needing immediate action. The consumer may be in hurry, which indicate time pressure. The consumer may lack brand preferences, or the preferred brand may be out of stock. The issue is that the choice is to be made at the point of purchase. Further, the purchasing involves product classes where the core products behind the brands are indistinguishable from each other. Three research questions were posed. Two questions were answered by conjoint analysis, i.e. if colours have an impact on decision-making and if a possible impact is related to the product class. 16 hypothetical packages were designed in two product classes within the healthcare, i.e. painkillers and medicine against sore throats. The last research question aimed at detecting how an analysis could be carried out in order to understand the impact of colours. This question was answered by conducting interviews that were analysed by applying laddering method and a semiotics approach. The study found that colours do indeed have an impact on consumer behaviour, this being related to the context, such as product class. The role of colours on packages was found to be threefold: attention, aesthetics, and communication. The study focused on colours as a means of communication, and it proposes that colours convey product, brand, and product class meanings, these meanings having an impact on consumers’ decision-making at the point of purchase. In addition, the study demonstrates how design elements such as colours can be understood by regarding them as non-verbal signs. The study also presents an empirical design, involving quantitative and qualitative techniques that can be used to gain in depth understanding of the impact of design elements on consumer behaviour. Hannele Kauppinen is associated with CERS, the Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management of the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration
  • Li, Hongzhu (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    A better understanding of stock price changes is important in guiding many economic activities. Since prices often do not change without good reasons, searching for related explanatory variables has involved many enthusiasts. This book seeks answers from prices per se by relating price changes to their conditional moments. This is based on the belief that prices are the products of a complex psychological and economic process and their conditional moments derive ultimately from these psychological and economic shocks. Utilizing information about conditional moments hence makes it an attractive alternative to using other selective financial variables in explaining price changes. The first paper examines the relation between the conditional mean and the conditional variance using information about moments in three types of conditional distributions; it finds that the significance of the estimated mean and variance ratio can be affected by the assumed distributions and the time variations in skewness. The second paper decomposes the conditional industry volatility into a concurrent market component and an industry specific component; it finds that market volatility is on average responsible for a rather small share of total industry volatility — 6 to 9 percent in UK and 2 to 3 percent in Germany. The third paper looks at the heteroskedasticity in stock returns through an ARCH process supplemented with a set of conditioning information variables; it finds that the heteroskedasticity in stock returns allows for several forms of heteroskedasticity that include deterministic changes in variances due to seasonal factors, random adjustments in variances due to market and macro factors, and ARCH processes with past information. The fourth paper examines the role of higher moments — especially skewness and kurtosis — in determining the expected returns; it finds that total skewness and total kurtosis are more relevant non-beta risk measures and that they are costly to be diversified due either to the possible eliminations of their desirable parts or to the unsustainability of diversification strategies based on them.
  • Tidström, Annika (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006)
    Most of the existing research within the business network approach is based on companies that are operating on different levels within the same value chain, as a buyer and a supplier. Intercompetitor cooperation, i.e. cooperation between companies occupying the same level within different value chains, has not been studied to the same extent. Moreover scholars within the business network approach have usually described industrial relationships as long term, consisting of mutual commitment and trust. Industrial relationships are not static, but dynamic, and they contain situations of both harmony and conflict. There is consequently a need for more research both concerning intercompetitor cooperation and conflicts. The purpose of this study is to develop our theoretical and empirical understanding of the nature of conflicts in intercompetitor cooperation from a business network perspective. The focus of the study lies on issue and intensity of conflict. The issue of a conflict can be divided into cause and topic, while the intensity comprises the importance and outcome of a conflict. The empirical part of the study is based on two case studies of groups of cooperating competitors from two different industries. The applied research method is interviews. According to the findings of this study causes of conflicts in intercompetitor cooperation can be divided into three groups: focus, awareness and capacity. Topics of conflict can be related to domain, delivery, advertising or cooperation. Moreover the findings show that conflict situations may be grouped into not important, important or very important. Some conflicts may also be of varying importance, meaning that the importance varies from one point of time to another. Based on the findings of the study the outcome or status of a conflict can be analyzed both on a concrete and general level. The findings also indicate that several conflicts are partly hidden, which means that only one or some of the involved actors perceive the conflict. Furthermore several conflict situations can be related to external network actors.
  • Vaillancourt, Alain (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015)
    Major disasters, conflicts and poverty afflict many millions of people around the world. To address the needs of these people, humanitarian organizations deploy a vast array of resources supported by material, financial and information flows. Some of these resources need efficient logistics support to achieve their goals and through vertical or horizontal coordination, humanitarian organisations can improve the way to respond to a situation. A specific approach to coordination is consolidation which this thesis explores in depth. The thesis and its articles aim to understand the competence and underlying resources for consolidation of materials in supply chains. This thesis covers material consolidation concepts and humanitarian logistics activities such as warehousing consolidation, procurement consolidation and transportation consolidation. The research presented in the thesis is composed of three individually authored articles, the first one is a conceptual paper based on a literature review entitled “A Theoretical Framework for Consolidation in Humanitarian Logistics”. The second article is entitled “Procurement Consolidation in Global Humanitarian Supply Chains” and the third article is entitled “Kit Management in Humanitarian Supply Chains”; both these two articles are based on empirical case studies. This thesis further contributes to dynamic capabilities as it identifies a result that can be expected from the lower supply chain competition and interest in coordination and cooperation by humanitarian organizations: facilitating access to competencies in between organizations through specific consolidation activities. Humanitarian organizations do not seek profit neither do they compete through their supply chains and instead sometimes cooperate and coordinate to improve aid delivery.
  • Sääksjärvi, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    Hybrid innovations, or new products that combine two existing product categories into one, are increasingly popular in today’s marketplace. Despite this proliferation, few studies address them. The purpose of this thesis is to examine consumer evaluation of hybrid innovations by focusing on consumer categorization of such innovations and on factors contributing positively and negatively to their evaluation. This issue is examined by means of three studies. The first study addresses the proportion of consumers categorizing hybrid products as single- versus dual-purpose, what contributes to such a categorization, what differences can be found between the two groups, and if categorization can and should be included in models of innovation adoption. The second study expands on the scope by including motivation as a predictor of consumer evaluation and examines two cognitive and affective factors and their differential impact on innovation evaluation. Finally, the third study examines the product comparisons single- versus dual-purpose categorization induce. These three essays together build up a broader understanding of hybrid innovation evaluation. The thesis uses theories from both psychology and marketing to examine the issues at hand. Conceptual combination and analogical learning theories from psychology are used to comprehend categorization and knowledge transfer. From marketing, consumer behavior and innovation adoption studies are addressed to better understand the link between categorization and product evaluation and the factors contributing to product evaluation. The main results of the current thesis are that (1) most consumers categorize hybrid products as single- and not as dual-purpose products, (2) consumers that categorize them as dual-purpose find them more attractive (3) motivation has a significant effect on consumer evaluation of innovations; cognitive factors promote an emphasis on product net benefits, whereas affective factors induce consumers to consider product meaning in the form of categorization and perceived product complexity, (4) categorization constrains subsequent product evaluation, and (5) categorization can and should be included to models of innovation adoption. Maria Sääksjärvi is associated with CERS, the Center for Relationship Marketing and Service Management at the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration
  • Kovács, Gyöngyi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006)
    Research on corporate responsibility has traditionally focused on the responsibilities of companies within their corporate boundaries only. Yet this view is challenged today as more and more companies face the situation in which the environmental and social performance of their suppliers, distributors, industry or other associated partners impacts on their sales performance and brand equity. Simultaneously, policy-makers have taken up the discussion on corporate responsibility from the perspective of globalisation, in particular of global supply chains. The category of selecting and evaluating suppliers has also entered the field of environmental reporting. Companies thus need to tackle their responsibility in collaboration with different partners. The aim of the thesis is to further the understanding of collaboration and corporate environmental responsibility beyond corporate boundaries. Drawing on the fields of supply chain management and industrial ecology, the thesis sets out to investigate inter-firm collaboration on three different levels, between the company and its stakeholders, in the supply chain, and in the demand network of a company. The thesis is comprised of four papers: Paper A discusses the use of different research approaches in logistics and supply chain management. Paper B introduces the study on collaboration and corporate environmental responsibility from a focal company perspective, looking at the collaboration of companies with their stakeholders, and the salience of these stakeholders. Paper C widens this perspective to an analysis on the supply chain level. The focus here is not only beyond corporate boundaries, but also beyond direct supplier and customer interfaces in the supply chain. Paper D then extends the analysis to the demand network level, taking into account the input-output, competitive and regulatory environments, in which a company operates. The results of the study broaden the view of corporate responsibility. By applying this broader view, different types of inter-firm collaboration can be highlighted. Results also show how environmental demand is extended in the supply chain regardless of the industry background of the company.
  • Rokkanen, Nikolas (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    The integrated European debt capital market has undoubtedly broadened the possibilities for companies to access funding from the public and challenged investors to cope with an ever increasing complexity of its market participants. Well into the Euro-era, it is clear that the unified market has created potential for all involved parties, where investment opportunities are able to meet a supply of funds from a broad geographical area now summoned under a single currency. Europe’s traditionally heavy dependency on bank lending as a source of debt capital has thus been easing as corporate residents are able to tap into a deep and liquid capital market to satisfy their funding needs. As national barriers eroded with the inauguration of the Euro and interest rates for the EMU-members converged towards over-all lower yields, a new source of debt capital emerged to the vast majority of corporate residents under the new currency and gave an alternative to the traditionally more maturity-restricted bank debt. With increased sophistication came also an improved knowledge and understanding of the market and its participants. Further, investors became more willing to bear credit risk, which opened the market for firms of ever lower creditworthiness. In the process, the market as a whole saw a change in the profile of issuers, as non-financial firms increasingly sought their funding directly from the bond market. This thesis consists of three separate empirical studies on how corporates fund themselves on the European debt capital markets. The analysis focuses on a firm’s access to and behaviour on the capital market, subsequent the decision to raise capital through the issuance of arm’s length debt on the bond market. The specific areas considered are contributing to our knowledge in the fields of corporate finance and financial markets by considering explicitly firms’ primary market activities within the new market area. The first essay explores how reputation of an issuer affects its debt issuance. Essay two examines the choice of interest rate exposure on newly issued debt and the third and final essay explores pricing anomalies on corporate debt issues.
  • Gang, Ji (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006)
    The negative relationship between economic growth and stock market return is not an anomaly according to evidence documented in many economies. It is argued that future economic growth is largely irrelevant for predicting future equity returns, since long-run equity returns depend mainly on dividend yields and the growth of per share dividends. The economic growth does result in a higher standard of living for consumers, but does not necessarily translate into higher returns for owners of the capital. The divergence in performance between the real sector and stock markets appears to support the above argument. However, this thesis strives to offer an alternative explanation to the apparent divergence within the framework of corporate governance. It argues that weak corporate governance standards in Chinese listed firms exacerbated by poor inventor protection results into a marginalized capital market. Each of the three essays in the thesis addresses one particular aspect of corporate governance on the Chinese stock market in a sequential way through gathering empirical evidence on three distinctive stock market activities. The first essay questions whether significant agency conflicts do exist by building a game on rights issues. It documents significant divergence in interests among shareholders holding different classes of shares. The second essay investigates the level of agency costs by examining value of control through constructing a sample of block transactions. It finds that block transactions that transfer ultimate control entail higher premiums. The third essay looks into possible avenues through which corporate governance standards could be improved by investigating the economic consequences of cross-listing on the Chinese stock market. It finds that, by adopting a higher disclosure standard through cross-listings, firms voluntarily commit themselves to reducing information asymmetry, and consequently command higher valuation than their counterparts.
  • Westman, Hanna (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009)
    Banks are important as they have a central role in the financial system, where funds are channelled either through financial intermediaries, such as banks, or through financial markets, hence promoting growth in any economy. Recently, we have been reminded of the drawbacks of the central role of banks. The current financial crisis, which started out as a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US, has become a global financial crisis with substantial impact on the real economy in many countries. Some of the roots to the current financial crisis can be sought in the changing role of banks and in bank corporate governance. Moreover, the substantial revitalising measures taken have been justified by the central role of banks. Not only are banks important, they are also very special. The fact that banks are regulated in conjunction with greater opacity, make bank corporate governance different from corporate governance in non-bank companies. Surprisingly little is, however, known about bank corporate governance, in particularly, in a European setting. Hence, the objective of this doctoral thesis is to provide new insights in this research area by examining banks from 37 different European countries. Each of the three essays included in the doctoral thesis examines a particular aspect of bank corporate governance. In the first essay the interaction between the regulatory environment a bank operates in and its ownership structure is explored. Indicators of the severity of the moral hazard problem induced by the deposit insurance system and implicit too-big-to-fail government guarantee, particular features of deposit insurance systems as well as legal protection of shareholders, legal origin of a country and level of integration to the European community are used in the analysis. The empirical findings confirm previous findings on the link between legal protection of shareholders and ownership structure. Moreover, they show that differences in deposit insurance system features can explain some of the differences in ownership structure across European banks. In the second essay the impact of management and board ownership on the profitability of banks with different strategy is examined. The empirical findings suggest that the efficiency of these two particular corporate governance mechanisms varies with the characteristics of the agency problem faced by the bank. More specifically, management ownership is important in opaque non-traditional banks, whereas board ownership is important in traditional banks, where deposit insurance reduces the monitoring incentives of outsiders. The higher profitability does, however, go together with higher risk. In the third essay the profitability and risk of commercial, savings and cooperative banks are compared. The empirical findings suggest that distinct operational and ownership characteristics rather than only the mere fact that a bank is a commercial, savings or cooperative bank explain the profitability and risk differences. The main insight from the three essays is that a number of different aspects should be addressed simultaneously in order to give the complexity of bank corporate governance justice.
  • Holttinen, Heli (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013)
    This thesis investigates consumer value creation as an everyday sociocultural and situational phenomenon. The first objective was to understand and conceptualize how cultural ideals and practices inform consumer everyday value creation. I examined empirically how consumers enact cultural ideals in mundane consumption in the empirical context of a weekday dinner practice among Finnish households. The second objective was to contextualize a value proposition concept in customers’ practices. The approach consisted of a theoretical investigation of how consumers experience and evaluate value propositions in their practices in order to draw theoretical implications. Integrating complementing knowledge from S-D logic, Consumer Culture Theory, and Practice Theory provided me insightful theoretical lenses for the examinations. The findings highlight the primacy of cultural ideals and practices in consumer everyday value creation and value co-creation. They inform the consumers regarding which value propositions are desirable and thereby guide resource integration and thus purchasing decisions. This thesis portrays consumers as pragmatic, flexible and fragmented value-creating agents. It demonstrates how the consumers enact and compromise cultural ideals and identity projects in relation to practices. They compromise identity projects and cultural ideals in some practice(s) but not across practices. As the practices serve different ends for the consumers at different times, the meaning of the practices is constantly re-created by consumers. As resource integrators the consumers accept and use value propositions in the practices in their own ways irrespective of firms’ intentions, in order to enact cultural ideals. Value becomes co-created only when the consumers (as customers) can enact cultural ideals by integrating firms’ offerings with their other resources - and as a result experience value. While this thesis illuminates the interplay among cultural ideals, practices, value propositions, and consumer action, it offers a cultural and practice-theoretical conceptualization of how consumers, material objects and a sociocultural environment interact and co-create each other at a certain time in history and in the consumers’ lives. The findings represent the value of an offering as a dynamic, context-dependent, intersubjective and subjective notion that is constantly co-created and re-created by customers. This thesis introduces firms a sociocultural and practice-theoretical approach for the new offering development process. It means perceiving and investigating customers’ lives and value-creating activities as a mosaic of practices in which the customers try to enact cultural ideals by integrating value propositions with their other resources. By contextualizing the value propositions in the customers’ practices, the thesis helps firms to improve the effectiveness of the new offering development process. Effectiveness here refers to the ability of the firms to create offerings that are both culturally and practically desirable for the customers. By addressing the cultural ideals and the practical realities of everyday life, effective offerings make it possible for the customers to enact the cultural ideals in their everyday lives.
  • Mickelsson, Jakob (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    Due to changes in technology, customers are increasingly empowered in their interactions with companies. Information is readily available, and customers can choose, learn and contribute in ways previously unimaginable. Even though marketers have acknowledged the importance of understanding the customer as an active participant in service, there have been few efforts to systematically understand and illustrate the customer’s structures of activity. Customer activity has within marketing traditionally been viewed as a response to inputs from the provider. Advertising, for example, is seen as having a persuasive function: It should result in the customer’s activity of buying. Similarly, in service research, the customer’s activities are considered to be either directed by service design or as inputs into an interaction process. This thesis presents an alternative view on customer activity: It is a perspective on service use. In contrast to earlier perspectives, the customer activity perspective incorporates service as an enabling or supporting element in the customer’s activities. The thesis defines ‘customer activity’ as a discrete sequence of behaviour that through its outcomes aims at creating or supporting some type of value in the customer’s life or business. This definition enables new types of analysis. By identifying many separate customer activities, service providers can uncover interlinked systems of activity. Customer activities are connected to each other through, for example, frequency links, functional links, resource links, temporal links, cognitive links or geographical links. The role of service is to enable customer activity and serve as an ingredient in the customer’s interlinked systems of activity. Consequently, the thesis takes a customer-dominant stance on service. Customers are seen as controlling and combining the services of different providers with each other to serve their own ends. Customer activity is presented as a focal concept for understanding this process. Moreover, customer activity is viewed as more than simply interactions with a service provider or inputs into realizing a particular service. Rather, activities are elements that customers use to organize their own lives. The thesis contains empirical examinations of the relationship between customer activity and service. These show that customers maintain different types of activity systems, and that the same service can play different roles in the life of the customer. Service providers can use this information as input for service design, communication and customer segmentation.
  • Nenonen, Suvi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009)
    Suvi Nenonen Customer asset management in action: using customer portfolios for allocating resources across business-to-business relationships for improved shareholder value Customers are crucial assets to all firms as customers are the ultimate source of all cash flows. Regardless this financial importance of customer relationships, for decades there has been a lack of suitable frameworks explaining how customer relationships contribute to the firm financial performance and how this contribution can be actively managed. In order to facilitate a better understanding of the customer asset, contemporary marketing has investigated the use of financial theories and asset management practices in the customer relationship context. Building on this, marketing academics have promoted the customer lifetime value concept as a solution for valuating and managing customer relationships for optimal financial outcomes. However, the empirical investigation of customer asset management lags behind the conceptual development steps taken. Additionally, the practitioners have not embraced the use of customer lifetime value in guiding managerial decisions - especially in the business-to-business context. The thesis points out that there are fundamental differences between customer relationships and investment instruments as investment targets, effectively eliminating the possibility to use financial theories in a customer relationships context or to optimize the customer base as a single investment portfolio. As an alternative, the thesis proposes the use of customer portfolio approach for allocating resources across the customer base for improved shareholder value. In the customer portfolio approach, the customer base of a firm is divided into multiple portfolios based on customer relationships’ potential to contribute to the shareholder value creation. After this, customer management concepts are tailored to each customer portfolio, designed to improve the shareholder value in their own respect. Therefore, effective customer asset management with the customer portfolio approach necessitates that firms are able to manage multiple parallel customer management concepts, or business models, simultaneously. The thesis is one of the first empirical studies on customer asset management, bringing empirical evidence from multiple business-to-business case studies on how customer portfolio models can be formed, how customer portfolios can be managed, and how customer asset management has contributed to the firm financial performance.
  • Nenonen, Suvi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009)
    Suvi Nenonen Customer asset management in action: using customer portfolios for allocating resources across business-to-business relationships for improved shareholder value Customers are crucial assets to all firms as customers are the ultimate source of all cash flows. Regardless this financial importance of customer relationships, for decades there has been a lack of suitable frameworks explaining how customer relationships contribute to the firm financial performance and how this contribution can be actively managed. In order to facilitate a better understanding of the customer asset, contemporary marketing has investigated the use of financial theories and asset management practices in the customer relationship context. Building on this, marketing academics have promoted the customer lifetime value concept as a solution for valuating and managing customer relationships for optimal financial outcomes. However, the empirical investigation of customer asset management lags behind the conceptual development steps taken. Additionally, the practitioners have not embraced the use of customer lifetime value in guiding managerial decisions - especially in the business-to-business context. The thesis points out that there are fundamental differences between customer relationships and investment instruments as investment targets, effectively eliminating the possibility to use financial theories in a customer relationships context or to optimize the customer base as a single investment portfolio. As an alternative, the thesis proposes the use of customer portfolio approach for allocating resources across the customer base for improved shareholder value. In the customer portfolio approach, the customer base of a firm is divided into multiple portfolios based on customer relationships’ potential to contribute to the shareholder value creation. After this, customer management concepts are tailored to each customer portfolio, designed to improve the shareholder value in their own respect. Therefore, effective customer asset management with the customer portfolio approach necessitates that firms are able to manage multiple parallel customer management concepts, or business models, simultaneously. The thesis is one of the first empirical studies on customer asset management, bringing empirical evidence from multiple business-to-business case studies on how customer portfolio models can be formed, how customer portfolios can be managed, and how customer asset management has contributed to the firm financial performance.
  • Korkman, Oskar (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006)
    This thesis introduces a practice-theoretical approach to understanding customer value formation to be used in the field of service marketing and management. In contrast to current studies trying to understand value formation by analysing customers as independent actors and thinkers, it is in this work suggested that customer value formation can be better understood by analysing how value is formed in the practices and contexts of the customers. The theoretical approach developed in this thesis is applied in an empirical study of family cruises. The theoretical analysis in this thesis results in a new approach for understanding customer value formation. Customer value is, according to this new approach, something that is formed in practice, meaning that value is formed in constellations of the customer and contextual elements like tools, physical spaces and contextually embedded images and know-how. This view is different from the current views that tend to see value as subjectively created, co-created, perceived or experienced by the customer. The new approach has implications on how we view customer value, but also on the methods and techniques we can use to understand customer value in empirical studies. It is also suggested that services could in fact be reconceptualised as practices. According to the stance presented in this thesis the empirical analysis of customer value should not focus on individual customers, but should instead take the contextual entity of practices as its unit of analysis. Therefore, ethnography is chosen as a method for exploring how customer value is formed in practice in the case of family cruises on a specific cruise vessel. The researcher has studied six families, as well as the context of the cruise vessel with various techniques including non-participant observation, participant observation and interviews in order to create an ethnographic understanding of the practices carried out on board. Twenty-one different practices are reported and discussed in order to provide necessary insight to customer value formation that can be used as input for service development.
  • Gummerus, Johanna (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2011)
    Customer value has been identified as “the reason” for customers to patronize a firm, and as one of the fundamental blocks that market exchanges build upon. Despite the importance of customer value, it is often poorly defined, or seems to refer to different phenomena. This dissertation contributes to current marketing literature by subjecting the value concept to a critical investigation, and by clarifying its conceptual foundation. Based on the literature review, it is proposed that customer value can be divided into two separate, but interrelated aspects: value creation processes, and value outcome determination. This means that on one hand, it is possible to examine those activities through which value is created, and on the other hand, investigate how customers determine the value outcomes they receive. The results further show that customers may determine value in four different ways: value as a benefit/sacrifice ratio, as experience outcomes, as means-end chains, and value as phenomenological. In value as benefit/sacrifice ratio, customers are expected to calculate the ratio between service benefits (e.g. ease of use) and sacrifices (e.g. price). In value as experience outcomes, customers are suggested to experience multiple value components, such as functional, emotional, or social value. Customer value as means-ends chains in turn models value in terms of the relationships between service characteristics, use value, and desirable ends (e.g. social acceptance). Finally, value as phenomenological proposes that value emerges from lived, holistic experiences. The empirical papers investigate customer value in e-services, including online health care and mobile services, and show how value in e-service stems from the process and content quality, use context, and the service combination that a customer uses. In conclusion, marketers should understand that different value definitions generate different types of understanding of customer value. In addition, it is clear that studying value from several perspectives is useful, as it enables a richer understanding of value for the different actors. Finally, the interconnectedness between value creation and determination is surprisingly little researched, and this dissertation proposes initial steps towards understanding the relationship between the two.
  • Golik Klanac, Natasa (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    During past years, we have witnessed the widespread use of websites in communication in business-to-business relationships. If developed appropriately, such communication can result in numerous positive implications for business relationships, amplifying the importance of designing website communication that meet customer needs. In doing that, an understanding of value of website communication for customers is crucial. The study develops a theoretical framework of customer value of website communication in business-to-business relationships. Theoretically, the study builds on the interaction approach to industrial marketing, different approaches to customer value and inter-organisational communication theory. The empirical part involves a case study with a seller and nine different customer companies in the elevator industry. The data collection encompasses interviews and observations of representatives from the customer companies, interviews with the seller and an analysis of various reports of the seller. The continuous iteration between the theory and the case study resulted in the integrated approach to customer value and in the holistic theoretical framework of customer value of website communication in business-to-business relationships. The framework incorporates and elicits meanings of different components of customer value: website communication characteristics that act as drivers of customer value, customer consequences – both benefits and sacrifices, customer end-states as the final goals that lead customer actions, and different types of linkages between these components. Compared to extant research on customer value, the study offers a more holistic framework of customer value that depicts its complexity and richness. In addition, it portrays customer value in the neglected context of website communication. The findings of the study can be used as tools in any analysis of customer value. They are also of relevance in designing appropriate website communication as well as in developing effective website communication strategies. Nataša Golik Klanac is associated with the Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management (CERS) at Hanken.
  • Suokannas, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    Marknadsföringen till äldre konsumenter har länge varit en grå zon. Konsumtionsvilja och penningstyrka är två sätt att beskriva dagens äldre konsument, och i avhandlingen bildar dessa omdömen och många andra beskrivningar fem diskurser som har benämnts senior, radikal, förlängd ungdom, hedonist och lyx och själfull och erfaren. Diskurserna baserar sig på analysen av intervjuer med reklambyråer och tidskrifter riktade till marknadsförare. Diskurserna är exempel på hur man bygger upp en identitet för den äldre konsumenten i marknadsföringens värld. Identiteterna erbjuder möjligheter till ett mångsidigare åldrande men de kan också skapa nya stereotyper. Resultaten i avhandlingen visar hur vår språkanvändning och vårt sätt att avbilda människor påverkar kategoriseringen och stereotypiseringen av dem. Avhandlingen erbjuder ett sätt att lära sig bemöta den äldre konsumenten, och egentligen vilken konsument som helst, med en så dynamisk uppfattning om denna som möjligt. Tidigare har marknadsförare främst utgått från konsumentens kronologiska ålder och diskussionen har kretsat kring när någon kan klassas som en äldre konsument. Att försöka bestämma när någon är gammal eller äldre utesluter det faktum att ålder skapas och återskapas i vårt sätt att tala om den. I denna skapelseprocess spelar marknadsförarens handlingar en viktig roll. Om ålder enbart ses som ett slags åldersgräns påtvingas vi färdiga kategorier och stereotyper som både stämplar och begränsar. Avhandlingen inför begreppet kulturell ålder där kulturens olika processer som skapar en åldersidentitet för konsumenten poängteras. Åldrande är en pågående, självuppfyllande process som ständigt omformas, definieras och förstärks av de bilder som finns runt omkring oss och sättet att tala om det (språk och representation). När vi känner till de ideologiska skiftningarna kan vi skapa en mera dynamisk kommunikation med konsumenten. Vi förstår också bättre vår roll vid uppkomsten av stereotyper och andra rigida konstruktioner. Avhandlingen har utnyttjat diskursanalytiska begrepp i kombination med ett kultursynsätt. Kombinationen kan utnyttjas då man analyserar sättet att konstruera identiteten hos olika konsumentgrupper i marknadernas olika dialoger. Därför borde man inte fråga ”Hur gammal är den äldre konsumenten?” utan ”Hur åldras konsumenten?”.
  • Mukminov, Rinat (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015)
    In the period from 2007 to 2009 the world experienced the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The world economy was in the most severe recession since the Second World War. The financial crisis was followed by a debt crisis in the euro area, which is still far from being resolved. The world economy is yet to recover from the crisis. The financial crises are recurring phenomena. The financial crisis of 2007-2009 is in many ways similar to the previous crises. It has been argued that banks’ poor screening incentives at the peak of the business cycle are one of the main causes of the recurring crises. Bank screening literature argues that in boom times, when the majority of loan applications are good, the price competition between the banks intensifies, leading to lower returns from screening loan applicants. As a consequence, screening standards decline and many bad loans end up on the bank balance sheets. Defaults of the bad loans lead to a deterioration of the banks’ loan portfolios, which causes credit crunches and bank crises. There is also an emerging finance literature arguing that a lower cost of funds, such as a lower cost of deposits, cheaper credit in the interbank market, a lower discount rate, encourages the banks to take excessive risks. Excessive risk-taking by the banks can also lead to a bank crisis. These two approaches explain excessive bank risk-taking from two different points of view: the former one from the point of view of bank revenues, while the latter approach explains excessive risk-taking from the point of view of bank costs. The aim of this dissertation is to build a bridge between these two approaches. This dissertation contributes to the screening literature by explicitly introducing the cost of funds into a bank screening model. This is novel, as most previous bank screening literature has assumed the deposit market to be fully competitive with zero interest rate, thus ignoring the impact of the deposit interest rate on bank screening incentives. This dissertation also extends the literature, which explores the effects of costs of funds on the bank risk-taking, by explicitly modelling the banks’ investment in screening of potential loan applicants.
  • Solitander, Nikodemus (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2011)
    The thesis focuses on one of the most dominant articulations of the relation between geographical place and development, clusters - internationally competing place-bound economic system of production in related industries. The dominant articulation of cluster discourse represents the subnational region as a system of production, and as a means for competitiveness for Western countries. Its reproduction in theories has become one of the most prolific exports of economic geography to other disciplines and for policymaking. By analysing cluster discourse the thesis traces how the languages and processes of globalization have over time altered the understandings of the relation between geographical place and the economy. It shows how in its latest incarnation of the cluster discourse, the language of mainstream economics is combined with ‘softer’ elements (e.g. community, learning, creativity) in the economic geographic discourse. This is typical for the idea of soft capitalism, wherein it is assumed that economic success emanates from soft characteristics, such as knowledge, learning and creativity, rather than straightforward technological or cost advantages. A reoccurring critique against the dominant understanding of the relationship between competitiveness and regions, as articulated in cluster discourse, has pinpointed the perspective’s inability to reconcile the respective and reciprocal roles of local standard of living with firm competitiveness. The thesis traces how such critique is increasingly appropriated through the fusion of the economic, social and cultural landscape into the language of capitalism. It shows how cluster discourse has appropriated its critique, by focusing on creativity, with its strong associations to arts, individual artists and the cultural sphere in general, while predominantly creating its meaning in relation to competitiveness. The thesis consists of six essays that each outlines the development of the cluster discourse. The essays show how meaning systems and strategies are created, accepted and naturalized in cluster discourse, how this affects individuals, the economic landscape and society at large, as well as showing which understandings are marginalized in the process. The thesis argues that clusters are a) inseparable from ideology and politics and b) they are the result of purposeful social practice. It calls for increased reflexivity within corporate and economic geographic research on clusters, and underlines the importance of placing issues of power at the centre of analysis.