It's all about communicating

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 1 August 2001


Schwartz, D.G. (2001), "It's all about communicating", Internet Research, Vol. 11 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

It's all about communicating

It's all about communicating

Despite the hyped rise and precipitous fall of the dotcom economy, the evolution of the Internet as a communications channel is in its infancy. What both dotcom entrepreneurs and investors have painfully come to realize is that the Internet does not change the underlying requirements for a good business. Lost in the recent turmoil, however, is another more significant realization – what the Internet does change is the nature of communications - in a big way.

Among the things that are changing as result of Internet-based communications is the nature of teamwork in organizations. In "Facilitating virtual team relationships via Internet and conventional communication channels", Pauleen and Yoong present a qualitative study on how virtual team facilitators use Internet-based communications channels to build relationships with their team members.

Marketing communications is clearly undergoing one of the most fundamental changes of recent memory. Rowley presents an approach to "Remodelling marketing communications in an Internet environment" starting at the strategic level and working down to specific channel tactics targeted to audience characteristics. Johnston, on the other hand, argues that market orientation in itself must be held in question. In "Why e-business must evolve beyond market orientation" he applies models of human-human and human-computer interaction leading to a new look at relationship building in business networks based on computer-mediated communications.

Three quantitative studies appear in this issue. Buenadicha Mateos et al. use a broad study of Spanish University Web sites to develop "A new Web assessment index: Spanish universities analysis". While the chosen metrics of accessibility, speed, navigability, and content have been used in alternative site assessment studies, the article by Buenadicha Mateos et al. provides the first look at a complete sector across a single country. Having validated the Web assessment index in their Spanish context, the authors provide a strong starting point for other researchers to extend this work.

Remaining in the university environment, we have Clyde and Klobas’ study of "The first Internet course: implications of increased prior participant experience" which reports on the changing requirements of students learning about the Internet. What sets this study apart from the pack is its unique "historical" perspective – at least "historical" in Internet terms. Clyde and Klobas began this research program in 1994 and are now able to provide a comparative analysis of the dramatic changes in user requirements over the past seven years.

The communication of knowledge and understanding is perhaps the ultimate form of communications, and definitely one of the primary goals of an e-learning program. In this issue of Internet Research, Evans and Haase present a detailed study of the "Online business education market in the twenty-first century" and discuss the potential markets for the communication of knowledge.

This issue's case study is by Ratnasingam who has written on the topic of trust in past issues of Internet Research."Inter-organizational trust in EDI adoption: the case of Ford Motor Company and PBR Limited in Australia" examines the relationship between two EDI trading partners and how the element of trust has effected EDI adoption over time. With EDI adding yet another plank to the Internet communications platform, it is sobering to note the comments of a Ford manager as reported in the case: "We do not only communicate via EDI, but by other means such as telephone, fax, and e-mail when there is a discrepancy. This is related to communication openness, information sharing, and concern".

Whether we are using the Internet to improve the communication of knowledge, marketing messages, team interaction, or trading partner transactions, there is clearly a lot more we have yet to learn in delivering effective, well-understood, engaging messages across our ever-expanding network.

David G. SchwartzEditor