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  • 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?”.
  • Kiehelä, Hanna (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    Consumers’ product assessments are largely based on colour, and a product’s colour can increase consumer satisfaction, awareness and loyalty. However, existing colour research is fragmented and calls for theoretically-enhanced understandings of the role of colour in consumer product perception. The existing colour research mainly focuses on consumers’ immediate reactions when exposed to colours although studies show that consumers evaluate products differently in purchase and in use. Therefore, to fully understand how consumers are affected by colour, it is insufficient to study instant reactions. Existing colour studies often explore colour in general, without a product context, although the influence of colour on consumers needs an interpretative significance. Thus, colour perception cannot be examined independently of the determined object. This thesis analysed how consumers perceive the value of colour in relation to products. This has not been extensively examined before although consumers have been found to relate colour to the perceived value of products. Studying the perceived value of product colour allowed this thesis to widen the time scope from consumers’ immediate reactions to using products in everyday life. Two studies were conducted on how consumers perceived the value of product colour by empirically studying the objects of cars and mobile phones. The first study, based on 39 interviews, resulted in an inductive conceptualisation of how consumers perceived the value of colour in relation to products. This study has several important findings: Consumers perceive the value of product colour on three value dimensions – experiential, symbolic and functional; In each dimension, there is a consumer perceived colour preference scale which consists of desirable, tolerable and unacceptable colours; The colour preference scales of the three value dimensions may sometimes clash when consumers prefer different colours in each value dimension, which leads them to make trade-offs between the dimensions; Additionally, an unacceptable colour in any dimension may lead consumers to decide against making a purchase. The second study – an online study with 655 respondents – corroborated this conceptualisation. This thesis contributes to existing research on perceived value and colour by demonstrating that product colour is an important but neglected aspect of perceived value, by illustrating the dimensionality of the perceived value of product colour and by proposing trade-offs between the value dimensions – a currently understudied area. The recommendation is for companies to acknowledge the dimensionality of the perceived value of product colour. This would enable manufacturers to better evaluate how consumers perceive new product colours, and retailers to provide customers with better service expertise and assistance, thus likely increasing purchase intentions and customer satisfaction.
  • Huotari, Kai (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    In his dissertation, Kai Huotari studied how customer-to-customer (C2C) communication becomes a part of service experience. Using grounded theory, Huotari investigated TV live-tweeting – i.e., people reading and writing Twitter messages about a TV program while viewing it. He interviewed 45 live-tweeters and analyzed more than 4,000 tweets in the U.S. during 2011–12. The study identified four distinct groups of users live-tweeting about TV programs (fanatic TV live-tweeters, systematic TV live-tweeters, sporadic TV live-tweeters, and active Twitter users) and four main categories of TV live-tweets (courtesy tweets, outlet tweets, selection tweets, and analysis tweets); described several TV live-tweeting practices, from preparation practices to reading and writing live-tweets and including certain use of Twitter functions; and revealed that a TV live-tweeter is an empowered TV viewer who can, by experientializing live-tweeting into his or her TV viewing, personalize and control his or her TV viewing experience better than before, can express him- or herself more fully, and can reach a large enough audience and acceptance for his or her ideas. Experientializing is the core concept that emerged from the study. It refers to the consumer integrating two activities with each other in a way that leads to new practices of consumption and to a transformed and empowering experience. The study develops a substantive theory of experientializing live-tweeting into the TV viewing experience. Huotari suggests that the concept can, however, be used also in other contexts and presents two abstractions of the theory: experientializing C2C communication into a consumption experience and experientializing a customer activity into a service experience. The associated tentative models can be used to explain, for example, museum visitors’ willingness to go to museums in groups or how reading on public transportation changes the experience of commuting. The study brings new insight to television studies, especially for the ongoing discussion of the so-called “second screen.” The study repositions the research on C2C communication: it investigates C2C communication as a part of consumption experience instead of considering it only as communication about consumption experience. In addition, the study suggests new ways to categorize C2C communication. For marketing in general, it introduces the concept of experientializing as a customer driven process wherein service providers have only limited visibility. The media industry can take advantage of the empirical part of the study. At the same time, the theoretical contributions of the study have broader applicability and, accordingly, can be made use of in various industries.
  • Åkerlund, Helena (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    This dissertation is based on the assumption that fading customer relationships are important phenomena to understand in order for companies to prevent a future relationship termination, manage a desired relationship termination, or manage the situation where the relationship strength temporarily or permanently has weakened but where the customer still stays with the same service provider. It is assumed that fading could take different forms and develop through a range of different processes. The purpose of the thesis is therefore to define and describe fading, reveal different types of fading relationship processes, and discuss the dynamics of these processes. In services literature there is a lack of research focusing on the weakening of customer relationships. Fading therefore represents a new approach to understanding issues related to the ending of customer relationships. A fading relationship process could precede a relationship ending, but could also represent a temporal weakening of the relationship without leading to termination. It thus distinguishes the concept from other concepts within ending research which focus solely on relationships that have been terminated, taking a larger aspect of the relationship into account (as a relationship could build on constant changes). A pilot study created an understanding of difficulties related to understanding and detecting fading customer relationship, which led to a follow-up study incorporating qualitative interviews in relationship dyads characterised as fading with both private banking customers and their respective financial advisor. The focus remained on the understanding of the fading process resulting in a model for analysing different types of fading processes. Four types of fading processes were also revealed; the crash landing process, the altitude drop process, the fizzle out process and the try out process. The dissertation contributes to a broadened understanding of different types of fading processes within the research area of ending relationships emphasising the dynamic aspects of the phenomenon. Managerial implications include the management of different types of fading processes and also the understanding of the financial advisor’s role in influencing the development of these processes. Helena Åkerlund is associated with CERS, the Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management at Hanken, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsinki
  • Skåtar, Kim (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    Den klassiska situationen där konsumentinformationen på ett ensidigt sätt tidigare har levererats av företagen får ge vika för en ny situation där dagens konsument aktivt sprider information för att påverka andra konsumenters köpbeslut genom att prata med andra om köpupplevelser och specifika tjänsteleverantörer t ex genom diskussionsgrupper på Internet. För företagen är situationen kritisk då de håller på att mista sina maktmonopol på informationen. Innehållet i pratet är mycket viktigt för mottagarna av pratet eftersom de flesta kunder om de inte själva har upplevt företaget, skapar sina åsikter och förväntningar om företaget samt om dess varor och tjänster på basen av vad andra berättar om saken. Man kan då säga att pratet har fått en viktigare roll vid formandet av konsumtionsbeslutet. Syftet med denna studie är att skapa förståelse för vilka faktorer som initierar och påverkar prat hos kunder i långsiktiga relationer. På basis av de olika resultaten konstruerades en modell som förklarar sambandet mellan faktorerna. Modellens första del visar att prat initieras på basis av långvariga upplevelser i relationer mellan tjänsteleverantör och kund. Modellens andra del visar att pratet påverkas av kundens personliga karaktäristika och relationsrelaterade faktorer som upplevt engagemang i tjänstekategorin och i tjänsteleverantören samt i relationslängden. Modellens tredje del visar att kundernas prat varierar i aktivitet och omfång beroende på valensen av upplevelserna och beroende på om prataren har starka eller svaga band till pratmottagaren. Det är viktigt och mycket aktuellt att öka förståelsen för kunders kommunikationsbeteende ur ett relationsperspektiv. Ur företagsledningssynvinkel är det viktigt att förstå hur kunders prat påverkar utvecklingen av verksamhetsmiljön. Ur praktiskt tillämpningsperspektiv kan en ökad kunskap om pratet vidare hjälpa företaget att fokusera på vad kunderna anser vara viktigt i en relation. Genom att veta vad kunderna pratar om kan företaget förbättra svagheter i verksamheten, och därigenom minska på andelen negativt prat eller uppmuntra kunder att prata om fördelar som relationen med företaget ger åt kunden.
  • Arantola-Hattab, Johanna (Hanken School of Economics, 2013)
    During the past decade value co-creation has been eagerly discussed in service marketing research. Despite the vigorous interest, the discussion has largely stayed on the theoretical level and perhaps led more to confusion than evolution. In business-to-consumer marketing the focus on investigating value has mainly been on the dyad of provider and customer; however the customer has remained an undefined unit in the interactions. This study argues a deeper investigation on co-creation is needed to clarify the value co-creation concept. The purpose of this research is to explore how a family as a customer experiences co-created service value. This study widens the investigation on co-creation beyond the visible interactions between the provider and a single person to cover often for the provider invisible interactions of different family members. The underpinning framework is the Nordic School’s customer-dominant logic (CDL). This study uses qualitative methodology as the approach to study the research topic. The research method applies ethnography to gain knowledge regarding how a specific group of people interacts with the environment. The empirical study consists of interviews and observations of working mothers who interpret their daily lives, responsibilities, and activities. Based on this background, they discuss their experiences and opinions about their banking service. The empirical study illustrates how mothers discuss their individual and family needs with a bank. Thus, this study widens the scope of a single person being a customer and presents the idea of a family as a customer unit. This study contributes to the current theoretical discussion on value co-creation by presenting a categorisation model for investigating different entities of service value co-creation. The model illustrates how experienced service value is a consequence of co-creation covering both visible and invisible interactions of a family. The study illustrates how service value is experienced by a family as a consequence of value co-creation not only in a dyadic interaction between the provider and an individual, but also in the multiple interactions within a family. The managerial contributions give guidance to companies regarding how to extend their understanding of a customer’s experienced service value and how to become better embedded in their customers’ everyday lives. An increased understanding of different entities of co-creation generates new knowledge regarding how companies can sustain valuable relationships with their customers. The findings illustrate it is essential for a bank as a service provider to shift the focus from dyadic interactions to cover also the multiple interactions within a family as a customer unit.
  • Kedzior, Richard (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    Changes in consumption related to digital technologies, digitization and the emergence of new media have been topics of great interest to both academics and managers. The backbone of all these changes, the Internet has penetrated consumers’ daily lives and changed the way they work, shop and socialize. The new digital spaces (e.g., social networking sites, massively multiplayer online games, or online virtual worlds) have become important conduits for sociality and consumption as evidenced by the time and money consumers spend online. Yet, frequently the social, cultural and economic significance of digital worlds has been dismissed due to their “immaterial” character. The evidence discussed in this volume demonstrates that consumers experience digital worlds as material, yet materiality in this instance transcends the conventional notions of tangibility and physicality. Thus, this study introduces the concept of digital materiality to more accurately describe the phenomenon of materiality in digital environments, and focuses on the ways in which it emerges in digital worlds. To this end, presented here conceptual framework maps out five distinct processes through which digital worlds become material to their consumers. Each of these processes is driven by a set of consumer motivations which correspond to consumer perceptions of digital materiality. Apart from the theoretical and conceptual contributions to academic literature, this research offers a number of managerial implications which can benefit professionals working with digital media. The ideas discussed here may be especially valuable for public policy makers and product managers struggling with the inherent instability of digital materiality. Some of the insights can also cast light on ways in which businesses could expand their market offering by complementing existing product lines with either digital or physical components. This interdisciplinary work is positioned within Consumer Culture Theory and Digital Consumption Studies, and draws on the extant literature in consumer research, cultural studies, anthropology, and human-computer interaction. Richard Kedzior is an Assistant Professor of Markets, Innovation and Design at the School of Management, Bucknell University. He is a consumer researcher who studies phenomena at the intersection of technology and culture.
  • Finne, Åke (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    Den här avhandlingen erbjuder ett nytt perspektiv på marknadskommunikation. Det nya är ett starkt kundfokus, där kunden är en aktiv medpart i kommunikationsprocessen. I det traditionella kommunikationsperspektivet har man sett kunden som ett objekt som blir utsatt för företagets olika åtgärder. Där har det varit företaget som stått för integreringen av de olika budskapen. I det här arbetet står kunden för integrationen och har därmed möjligheten att lägga till budskap eller lämna bort någonting väsentligt. I och med perspektivskiftet kan man upptäcka nya fenomen i kommunikation som inte tidigare beaktats i tillräcklig utsträckning. Eftersom det är kunden som står för den aktiva konstruktionen av budskap, kan kundens uppfattning vara en annan än den som företagen avsett. Kundens uppfattning kan beskrivas med hjälp av begreppen tydlig, otydlig och tyst kommunikation. Inom ramen för tyst kommunikation utvecklas ett nytt begrepp – passiv kommunikation – som kan öppna möjligheter för företag att minska på den aktiva kommunikationen med sina kunder. Även källorna till den här kommunikationen kan variera. Dylika källor kan lokaliseras till relation, händelse eller konsekvens. Dessa fenomen har sammanställts i en modell som kallas relationskommunikationsarenan. Kundernas uppfattningar varierar beroende på om det är fråga om relationskommunikation eller annan kommunikation. Dessa uppfattningar är strukturerade i två olika dimensioner: en tids- och en kontextdimension. Tidsdimensionen består av historiska och framtidsrelaterade faktorer och kontextdimensionen är en situationsdimension som består av interna, personliga faktorer och av externa faktorer i omgivningen. I relations-kommunikation förekommer faktorer från alla dimensioner. Modellen för denna struktur kallas den dynamiska kommunikationsmodellen. I avhandlingen utvecklas även en metod – kommunikationstopografi – med vars hjälp olika uppfattningar kan visualiseras på ett åskådligt sätt. Med topografierna kan olika budskap som annonser analyseras och tydliga, otydliga samt tysta budskap separeras. På motsvarande sätt kan även olika grupper av personer som uppfattar budskap på ett visst sätt särskiljas. Både budskap och personer analyseras här. Förekomsten av relationskommunikation kan i en del fall påvisas. Med kommunikationstopografi kan man visa hur den aktiva kunden konstruerar, lägger till eller lämnar bort budskap.
  • Ravald, Annika (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    Värdeforskningen inom marknadsföringen har traditionellt fokuserat på utbyten och det upplevda värdet av företagets produkter. Den gängse synen på värde har därför också utmärkts av en produktions- och transaktionsorienterad syn där värde anses produceras i företagets processer och sedan överlåts till kunden i samband med ett utbyte. I den här studien betraktas värde i stället ur ett kund- och relationsbaserat perspektiv. Utgångspunkten är att värde för kunden är något som företaget vare sig kan producera eller leverera. Kunden betraktas i den här studien därför som subjekt i sin egen värdeskapande process, medan varor, tjänster och kundens relationer till olika företag betraktas som resurser eller objekt i kundens egna värdeskapande aktiviteter. Tyngdpunkten flyttas från företaget som värdeskapare till kunden som värdeskapare vilket innebär en omarbetad logik för värdeskapande. Det relationsbaserade perspektivet på värde vidgar ytterligare synen på hur värde uppkommer för kunden. Studien visar att kundens värdeskapande kontext omfattar mer än enbart produkten och den värdebedömning som görs i en köpsituation. Detta påtalar behovet av att man analyserar hur värde uppkommer för kunden över tiden och ur ett helhetsperspektiv. Studiens syfte är att analysera hur värde uppkommer för kunden – i vilka aktiviteter och med vilka resurser. Målet är att finna en balans i synen på relationen mellan kund och företag och att lära om hur företagets marknadsföringsprocesser kan utvecklas genom att kundens egna värdeskapande aktiviteter analyseras. Studien är inriktad på konsumentmarknaden och den empiriska miljön utgörs av bilägare som intervjuats med en longitudinell ansats. Avhandlingen utmynnar i en teoretisk referensram om hur värde uppkommer för kunden. Olika dimensioner av värdebegreppet identifieras och analyseras och en kund- och relationsbaserad värdeterminologi utvecklas. I stället för att analysera det upplevda värdet av företagets produkt uppmanas marknadsföraren här att analysera hur värde uppkommer för kunden som individ över tiden. Detta uppnås genom att företaget lär känna kundens värdeskapande kontext i syfte att förstå var (i vilka aktiviteter) och hur (under vilka premisser) värde uppkommer för kunden. På basis av denna information kan företaget ta ställning till sin roll i kundens värdeskapande process och även visionera om vilken roll företaget kunde ha.
  • Rindell, Anne (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    Images and brands have been topics of great interest in both academia and practice for a long time. The company’s image, which in this study is considered equivalent to the actual corporate brand, has become a strategic issue and one of the company’s most valuable assets. In contrast to mainstream corporate branding research focusing on consumerimages as steered and managed by the company, in the present study a genuine consumer-focus is taken. The question is asked: how do consumers perceive the company, and especially, how are their experiences of the company over time reflected in the corporate image? The findings indicate that consumers’ corporate images can be seen as being constructed through dynamic relational processes based on a multifaceted network of earlier images from multiple sources over time. The essential finding is that corporate images have a heritage. In the thesis, the concept of image heritage is introduced, which stands for the consumer’s earlier company-related experiences from multiple sources over time. In other words, consumers construct their images of the company based on earlier recalled images, perhaps dating back many years in time. Therefore, corporate images have roots - an image heritage – on which the images are constructed in the present. For companies, image heritage is a key for understanding consumers, and thereby also a key for consumer-focused branding strategies and activities. As image heritage is the consumer’s interpretation base and context for image constructions here and now, branding strategies and activities that meet this consumer-reality has a potential to become more effective. This thesis is positioned in the tradition of The Nordic School of Marketing Thought and introduces a relational dynamic perspective into branding through consumers’ image heritage. Anne Rindell is associated to CERS, the Center for Relationship Marketing and Service Management at the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Berndtson, Mikael (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2007)
    Det är helt naturligt att konsumenterna sprider marknadsinformation genom att sinsemellan prata om sina konsumtionserfarenheter. Även om man i marknadsföringslitteraturen betonar den konsumentdominerade informella marknadskommunikationens genuina karaktär jämfört med den företagsdominerade formella marknadskommunikationen, så har man rätt dåliga kunskaper om företagets möjligheter att systematiskt utnyttja denna typ av marknadskommunikation. Min analys tyder på att den beteendevetenskapliga och den företagsekonomiska word-of-mouth-forskningen anlägger olika perspektiv som inte möter varandra. Den beteendevetenskapliga word-of-mouth-forskningen har tydligare satt fokus på själva företeelsen informell marknadskommunikation, men perspektivet har inte varit speciellt företagsorienterat. Den företagsekonomiska word-of-mouth-forskningen har i sin tur varit betydligt tydligare fokuserad på möjligheterna att använda informell marknadskommunikation, men däremot har man inte fäst speciellt mycket uppmärksamhet vid själva företeelsen informell marknadskommunikation. Min kontribution till den vetenskapliga diskussionen om företagens möjligheter att systematisera utnyttjandet av informell marknadskommunikation består i att överbrygga denna dualism inom word-of-mouth-forskningen genom att anlägga ett företagsperspektiv på den sociala dynamiken för informell marknadskommunikation. Denna ansats har sin teoretiska förankring hos de s.k. moderna men bortglömda pionjärerna, med vilka jag avser Johan Arndt, Donald Cox och Ernest Dichters kontribution till den företagsorienterade word-of-mouth-forskningen redan i slutet av 1960-talet. Efter det har deras synpunkter och insikter varken förts vidare eller vidareutvecklats, vilket jag betraktar som ett bakslag för den företagsorienterade word-of-mouth-forskningen. Föreliggande studie har bidragit till word-of-mouth-forskningen på tre olika sätt: genom 1) bidrag baserat på litteraturanalys, 2) bidrag baserat på empirianalys och 3) bidrag baserat på begreppsligande av informell marknadskommunikation. Min litteraturanalys framställer word-of-mouth-forskningens uppkomst och utveckling i ny dager. Min empirianalys har genererat empiriska begrepp, dels för att beskriva informell marknadskommunikation som företeelse, dels för att beskriva företagens förfarande för att systematisera utnyttjandet av sådan marknadskommunikation. Den begreppsliga kontributionen accentueras i informell marknadskommunikation som ett samlingsbegrepp för olika typer av interkonsumentkommunikation.
  • Virtanen, Henrik (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015)
    Att samarbeta med en konkurrent i den internationella verksamheten kan vara ett alternativ för små- och medelstora företag. Parterna stöter på hinder i den internationella verksamheten, vilket ger motiv till samarbete. Det finns olika typer av samarbete mellan konkurrenter. Fokus i denna avhandling är att skilja på vilken eller vilka funktioner i företaget samarbetet omfattar. Parterna kan samarbeta kring gemensamma funktioner (integrerat samarbete) eller kring delade funktioner (sekventiellt samarbete). Förekomsten av olika typer av samarbete, indikerar att man kan anta att samarbetet styrs av den strategiska situation parterna befinner sig i. I samarbetet råder det en spänning mellan samarbete och konkurrens. Man samarbetar för att skapa värde, medan man konkurrerar för att utnyttja värdet. Ett samarbete kan medföra konkurrensfördelar, men samtidigt kan spänningen mellan samarbete och konkurrens skapa problem och risker. Forskningen kring samarbetande konkurrenter har varit mindre omfattande. En kunskapsutveckling är önskvärd. Syftet med denna avhandling är att analysera samarbeten mellan konkurrerande små- och medelstora företag, med avsikten att utveckla den teoretiska och empiriska förståelsen av samarbeten, samt samarbetsmotiven och -förutsättningarna i en internationell kontext. En målsättning är att besvara frågan varför parterna väljer att samarbeta antingen integrerat eller sekventiellt. Ytterligare är målsättningen att klargöra hur parterna hanterar spänningen mellan samarbete och konkurrens, samt utreda vilka problem och risker som finns i samarbetet. Den empiriska delen av avhandlingen utgörs av en kvantitativ kartläggning samt fyra fallstudier. Resultaten visar att indelningen av samarbetstyper inte är helt klar. Man kan identifiera rena integrerade samarbeten, man kan identifiera rena sekventiella samarbeten, samt man kan identifiera hybrider av dessa två, där det finns både integrerade och sekventiella funktioner i samarbetet. En funktion i företagets produktionskedja består av olika aktiviteter som kräver olika insats av resurser och kompetenser. Trots att man samarbetar inom samma funktion (per definition integrerat samarbete), kan man dela aktiviteterna mellan parterna i funktionen (sekventiell logik). Eftersom tanken att dela in samarbeten i två typer är oklar, är det även problematiskt att normativt kunna påvisa klara skillnader mellan dessa vad gäller t.ex. motiv och risker. Varje samarbete är unikt. Ett sätt att mildra spänningen mellan samarbete och konkurrens och riskerna parterna upplever i samarbetet är att separera samarbets- och konkurrensfunktionerna från varandra. I intensiva och betydande samarbeten tenderar parterna, speciellt om det är frågan om små- och medelstora företag, att avveckla den direkta konkurrensen genom att t.ex. specialisera sig på olika kunder och nischer (produkter) eller fokusera på olika marknader. Parterna kan definiera när man har rollen som konkurrent och när som samarbetspartner. Personliga relationer, förtroende, gemensamma normer och förfaringssätt förmildrar spänningen och motverkar parternas intentioner att handla opportunistiskt.
  • Holmqvist, Jonas (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, 2009)
    A defining characteristic of most service encounters is that they are strongly influenced by interactions in which both the consumer and the service personnel are playing integral roles. Such is the importance of this interaction that it has even been argued that for the consumer, these encounters are in fact the service. Given this, it is not surprising that interactions involving communication and customer participation in the service encounters have received considerable attention within the field of services marketing. Much of the research on interactions and communication in services, however, appear to have assumed that the consumer and the service personnel by definition are perfectly able to interact and communicate effortlessly with each other. Such communication would require a common language, and in order to be able to take this for granted the market would need to be fairly homogenous. The homogenous country, however, and with it the homogenous market, would appear to be gone. It is estimated that more than half the consumers in the world are already speaking more than one language. For a company entering a new market, language can be a major barrier that firms may underestimate, and understanding language influence across different markets is important for international companies. The service literature has taken a common language between companies and consumers for granted but this is not matched by the realities on the ground in many markets. Owing to the communicational and interaction-oriented nature of services, the lack of a common language between the consumer and the service provider is a situation that could cause problems. A gap exists in the service theory, consisting of a lack of knowledge concerning how language influences consumers in service encounters. By addressing this gap, the thesis contributes to an increased understanding of service theory and provides a better practical understanding for service companies of the importance of native language use for consumers. The thesis consists of four essays. Essay one is conceptual and addresses how sociolinguistic research can be beneficial for understanding consumer language preferences. Essay two empirically shows how the influence of language varies depending on the nature of the service, essay three shows that there is a significant difference in language preferences between female and male consumers while essay four empirically compares consumer language preferences in Canada and Finland, finding strong similarities but also indications of difference in the motives for preferring native language use. The introduction of the thesis outlines the existence of a research gap within the service literature, a gap consisting of the lack of research into how native language use may influence consumers in service encounters. In addition, it is described why this gap is of importance to services and why its importance is growing. Building on this situation, the purpose of the thesis is to establish the existence of language influence in service encounters and to extend the knowledge of how language influences consumers on multilingual markets.
  • Díaz Ruiz, Carlos A (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    From street activists to corporate managers, a rising debate is questioning whether markets can be reimagined to meet environmental, social and corporate goals. However, one problem to advance the debate is that markets are often evoked but not investigated; in other words, pundits rely on representations of what a market is and how it works often lacking correspondence with actual markets. Subsequently, the dynamics in the correspondence between representation and markets constitute an important and topical gap of knowledge whose investigation can be fruitful to restructure how markets and society interact. At the core of this dissertation is the concept of market representations where complex social reality is simplified into coherent, yet incomplete views of how markets work either now or in the future. Market representations are important because of their capacity to enable and constrain a repertoire of actions for acting in markets. As such, market representations are conceptualized to be “in action” - following the performativity turn in marketing literature – by investigating how the world of ideas has effects in the real world. Therefore, by providing conceptual foundations and empirical evidence, this dissertation demonstrates that representational practices are part and parcel of acting in markets. The dissertation is composed by four essays spanning a wide range of methods: literature review, a qualitative in-depth analysis, quantitative testing and content analysis. Essay one focuses on the assumptions mobilized about markets in literature originating in marketing and economic sociology. Findings reveal that commonly held beliefs about markets- such as competition, profit maximization, the centrality of exchange and the existence of supply and demand - are assumptions that are not featured in every market. Essay two mobilizes in-depth methods to investigate how commercial market researchers put together representations for their clients. The study tracks how market researchers select and privilege representational objects to create unique representations for their clients to act. Essay three presents quantitative evidence suggesting that market representations can constrain and enable a repertoire of managerial actions. In the context of business marketing, the study demonstrates that the form how the market is understood can have an effect on the actions that managers find relevant and appropriate. Essay four investigates how market research reports are assembled. By analyzing how market representations are assembled, the study explains how market researchers move back and forth between a concern to be accurate and a concern to be actionable. Overall, this dissertation contributes to the subfields of market studies and consumer culture theory in marketing by providing the conceptual foundations and empirical evidence for representations. The debate on the interaction of markets and society is enriched by understanding how assumptions about markets correspond to repertoires of actions.
  • Steinby, Camilla (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009)
    In the markets-as-networks approach business networks are conceived as dynamic actor structures, giving focus to exchange relationships and actors’ capabilities to control and co-ordinate activities and resources. Researchers have shared an understanding that actors’ actions are crucial for the development of business networks and for network dynamics. However, researchers have mainly studied firms as business actors and excluded individuals, although both firms and individuals can be seen as business actors. This focus on firms as business actors has resulted in a paucity of research on human action and the exchange of intangible resources in business networks, e.g. social exchange between individuals in social networks. Consequently, the current conception of business networks fails to appreciate the richness of business actors, the human character of business action and the import of social action in business networks. The central assumption in this study is that business actors are multidimensional and that their specific constitution in any given situation is determined by human interaction in social networks. Multidimensionality is presented as a concept for exploring how business actors act in different situations and how actors simultaneously manage multiple identities: individual, organisational, professional, business and network identities. The study presents a model that describes the multidimensionality of actors in business networks and conceptualises the connection between social exchange and human action in business networks. Empirically the study explores the change that has taken place in pharmaceutical retailing in Finland during recent years. The phenomenon of emerging pharmacy networks is highly contemporary in the Nordic countries, where the traditional license-based pharmacy business is changing. The study analyses the development of two Finnish pharmacy chains, one integrated and one voluntary chain, and the network structures and dynamics in them. Social Network Analysis is applied to explore the social structures within the pharmacy networks. The study shows that emerging pharmacy networks are multifaceted phenomena where political, economic, social, cultural, and historical elements together contribute to the observed changes. Individuals have always been strongly present in the pharmacy business and the development of pharmacy networks provides an interesting example of human actors’ influence in the development of business networks. The dynamics or forces driving the network development can be linked to actors’ own economic and social motives for developing the business. The study highlights the central role of individuals and social networks in the development of the two studied pharmacy networks. The relation between individuals and social networks is reciprocal. The social context of every individual enables multidimensional business actors. The mix of various identities, both individual and collective identities, is an important part of network dynamics. Social networks in pharmacy networks create a platform for exchange and social action, and social networks enable and support business network development.
  • Kokko, Teemu (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2005)
    The present study concentrates on a small – but important – area of marketing: offering development within the service sector, more exactly the restaurant sector. The empirical part of the study has been carried out in the Helsinki metropolitan area using six successful restaurants. First, a conceptual offering development model is developed based on how the management perceives the offering development processes. Second, customer perceptions of offerings and management beliefs about how the customers perceive the offerings are analysed. Finally, an extended offering development model is created based on the management perceptions (the first model) as well as on observed gaps between customer perceptions of offerings and management beliefs about the customer perceptions. The study reveals that customer perceptions and management beliefs are rather similar but also that some differences exist. These differences are taken into account in the extended offering development model (the second model). The empirical data was collected through interviews and surveys. All together 393 customers and 14 managers participated in the study. The study suggests that successful offering development has to be closely connected with the general strategy of the company. A shared vision within the company in combination with a systematic strategic offering development process create a sound basis for the practical development work. The main contribution of the study is the extended offering development model forming a framework for further studies within the area.
  • Pihlström, Minna (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2008)
    The thesis is positioned in the services marketing field. Previous mobile service research has identified perceived value or relative advantage as a stable predictor of use of services. However, a more detailed view of what customers value in mobile services is needed for marketing diverse types of mobile content and attracting committed customers. The direct relationships between multidimensional value and loyalty constructs have received limited attention in the previous literature, although a multidimensional view is needed for differentiating services. This thesis studies how perceived value of mobile service use affects customer commitment, repurchase intentions, word-of-mouth and willingness to pay. The doctoral thesis consists of three journal articles and one working paper. The four papers have different sub-aims and comprise individual empirical studies. Mixed methods including both personal interviews and survey data collected from end-users of different types of mobile content services are used. The conceptual mobile perceived value model that results from the first explorative empirical study supports a six- dimensional value view. The six dimensions are further categorized into two higher order constructs: content-related perceived value (emotional, social, convenience and monetary value) and context-related (epistemic and conditional value) perceived value. Structural equation modeling is used in the other three studies to validate this framework by analyzing the relationships between context- and content-related value, and how the individual perceived value dimensions affect commitment and behavioral outcomes. Analyzing the direct relationships revealed differences in the effect of perceived value dimensions between information and entertainment mobile service user groups, between effects on commitment, repurchase intentions and word-of-mouth intentions, as well as between effects on commitment to the provider and to the mobile channel as such. This thesis contributes to earlier perceived value literature by structuring the value dimensions into two groups. Most importantly, the thesis contributes to the value and loyalty literature by increasing understanding of how the different dimensions of perceived value directly affect commitment and post-purchase intentions. The results have implications for further theory development in the electronic services field using multidimensional latent constructs, and practical implications for enhancing commitment to content provider and for differentiated marketing strategies in the mobile field. The general conclusion of this thesis is that differentiated value-based marketing of mobile services is essential for attracting committed customers who will use the same providers’ content also in the future. Minna Pihlström is associated with the Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management (CERS) at Hanken.
  • Polsa, Pia (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2002)
    The aim of the current study is to examine the influence of the channel external environment on power, and the effect of power on the distribution network structure within the People’s Republic of China. Throughout the study a dual research process was applied. The theory was constructed by elaborating the main theoretical premises of the study, the channel power theories, the political economy framework and the distribution network structure, but these marketing channel concepts were expanded with other perspectives from other disciplines. The main method applied was a survey conducted among 164 Chinese retailers, complemented by interviews, photographs, observations and census data from the field. This multi-method approach enabled not only to validate and triangulate the quantitative results, but to uncover serendipitous findings as well. The theoretical contribution of the current study to the theory of marketing channels power is the different view it takes on power. First, earlier power studies have taken the producer perspective, whereas the current study also includes a distributor perspective to the discussion. Second, many power studies have dealt with strongly dependent relationships, whereas the current study examines loosely dependent relationships. Power is dependent on unequal distribution of resources rather than based on high dependency. The benefit of this view is in realising that power resources and power strategies are separate concepts. The empirical material of the current study confirmed that at least some resources were significantly related to power strategies. The study showed that the dimension resources composed of technology, know-how and knowledge, managerial freedom and reputation was significantly related to non-coercive power. Third, the notion of different outcomes of power is a contribution of this study to the channels power theory even though not confirmed by the empirical results. Fourth, it was proposed that channel external environment other than the resources would also contribute to the channel power. These propositions were partially supported thus providing only partial contribution to the channel power theory. Finally, power was equally distributed among the different types of actors. The findings from the qualitative data suggest that different types of retailers can be classified according to the meaning the actors put into their business. Some are more business oriented, for others retailing is the only way to earn a living. The findings also suggest that in some actors both retailing and wholesaling functions emerge, and this has implications for the marketing channels structure.