Browsing by Title

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-20 of 46
  • Hellén, Katarina (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2010)
    A Continuation of the Happiness Success Story: Does Happiness Impact Service Quality? The effects of long-term happiness on various outcomes for the individual and society have been studied extensively in psychology but the concept has so far received limited research attention in marketing. Happiness is defined as a summary judgment of one’s life. Previous research has shown that happiness is a relatively stable perception of happiness in one’s life. Thus, happiness in this thesis is long-term and more global as a phenomenon than in the marketing literature, where happiness is commonly conceptualized as an emotion, feeling or momentary state of happiness. Although there is plenty of research on consumer affect and its impact on service responses, there are no studies on the effect of long-term happiness on service evaluation. As empirical evidence suggests that happy people perceive smaller and bigger events in life more positively than less happy people and that happy people are more prone to experience positive feelings and less of negative feelings it was hypothesized that happiness affects service quality directly but also indirectly through mood. Therefore, in this thesis, it was set out to explore if happiness affects customer-perceived service quality. A survey method was adopted to study the relationship between happiness, mood and service quality. Two studies were conducted with a total of 17 investigated services. Out of the 17 different investigated cases, happiness was found to positively affect service quality in only four cases. The results from the two studies also provide weak support for a positive relationship between mood and service quality. Out of the 17 cases, mood was found to positively affect service quality in only three cases and the results provide additional evidence for the stream of literature arguing that affect plays no or only a minimal role in service quality. Based on the collective results in this study, it can be concluded that the evidence for a positive relationship between happiness, mood and service quality is weak. However, in this thesis, it was recognized that the happiness concept is relevant for marketers and serve potential to explain marketing related phenomena. Marketing researchers who are interested in studying happiness are advised to focus research attention on consumer well-being.
  • Holma, Anne (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2009)
    ANNE HOLMA ADAPTATION IN TRIADIC BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP SETTINGS – A STUDY IN CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT Business-to-business relationships form complicated networks that function in an increasingly dynamic business environment. This study addresses the complexity of business relationships, both when it comes to the core phenomenon under investigation, adaptation, and the structural context of the research, a triadic relationship setting. In business research, adaptation is generally regarded as a dyadic phenomenon, even though it is well recognised that dyads do not exist isolated from the wider network. The triadic approach to business relationships is especially relevant in cases where an intermediary is involved, and where all three actors are directly connected with each other. However, only a few business studies apply the triadic approach. In this study, the three dyadic relationships in triadic relationship settings are investigated in the context of the other two dyads to which each is connected. The focus is on the triads as such, and on the connections between its actors. Theoretically, the study takes its stand in relationship marketing. The study integrates theories and concepts from two approaches, the industrial network approach by the Industrial marketing and purchasing group, and the Service marketing and management approach by the Nordic School. Sociological theories are used to understand the triadic relationship setting. The empirical context of the study is corporate travel management. The study is a retrospective case study, where the data is collected by in-depth interviews with key informants from an industrial enterprise and its travel agency and service supplier partners. The main theoretical contribution of the study concerns opening a new research area in relationship marketing by investigating adaptation in business relationships with a new perspective, and in a new context. This study provides a comprehensive framework to analyse adaptation in triadic business relationship settings. The analysis framework was created with the help of a systematic combining approach, which is based on abductive logic and continuous iteration between the theory and the case study results. The framework describes how adaptations initiate, and how they progress. The framework also takes into account how adaptations spread in triadic relationship settings, i.e. how adaptations attain all three actors of the triad. Furthermore, the framework helps to investigate the outcomes of the adaptations for individual firms, for dyadic relationships, and for the triads. The study also provides concepts and classification that can be used when evaluating adaptation and relationship development in both dyadic and triadic relationships.
  • Ballantyne, David (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2004)
    This report presents a new theory of internal marketing. The thesis has developed as a case study in retrospective action research. This began with the personal involvement of the author in an action research project for customer service improvement at a large Australian retail bank. In other words, much of the theory generating ‘research’ took place after the original project ‘action’ had wound down. The key theoretical proposition is that internal marketing is a relationship development strategy for the purpose of knowledge renewal. In the banking case, exchanges of value between employee participants emerged as the basis for relationship development, with synergistic benefits for customers, employees and the bank. Relationship development turned out to be the mediating variable between the learning activity of employee participants at the project level and success in knowledge renewal at the organisational level. Relationship development was also a pivotal factor in the motivation and customer consciousness of employees. The conclusion reached is that the strength of relationship-mediated internal marketing is in combining a market focused commitment and employee freedom in project work to achieve knowledge renewal. The forgotten truth is that organisational knowledge can be renewed through dialogue and learning, through being trustworthy, and by gaining the trust of employees in return.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?”.
  • 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.