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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Nikolina Koporcic and Aino Halinen

The purpose of this paper is to examine Interactive Network Branding (INB) as an emergent process where the corporate identity and reputation of a small- and medium-sized…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine Interactive Network Branding (INB) as an emergent process where the corporate identity and reputation of a small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) are created through interpersonal interaction. The INB process is socially constructed through interaction between individual people who act on behalf of their companies in business relationships and networks.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is conceptual. Drawing on corporate branding literature, IMP research and empirical studies as well as short illustrative cases from SME contexts, the paper provides a conceptual description of INB and its sub-processes. Corporate branding literature offers conceptual understanding of corporate identity and reputation; the recent IMP-based studies offer an overview of current thinking within the paradigm, and the empirical studies and case examples from SMEs show the validity of the interpersonal approach for the INB.

Findings

The paper provides an enhanced understanding of INB in which interpersonal interaction lead to the creation of a corporate brand – as an integral part of the companies’ networking process. Three types of interpersonal interactions are distinguished: internal, external, and boundary spanning, the latter occurring at the borderline of the company and its environment. A process model of INB is proposed that specify the role of various interactions for the emerging process.

Research limitations/implications

Since the paper is conceptual, further research is needed to study the INB process empirically and in more depth in different SME contexts and through differing interaction perspectives.

Practical implications

Managerial implications denote the crucial role of individuals in performing INB. Through interpersonal interactions, SMEs are able to create their identity and reputation, i.e. a strong corporate brand, and thereby to influence their network position.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first attempts to link the IMP network approach with corporate branding literature, while focusing on the interpersonal interactions. The study builds bridges between these two distant but important research paradigms and contributes to each by developing a process perspective on corporate branding in business networks. This new approach to corporate branding seen through business interactions offers unique conceptual and managerial implications.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 August 2020

Larissa Becker, Elina Jaakkola and Aino Halinen

Customer experience research predominantly anchors the customer journey on a specific offering, implying an inherently firm-centric perspective. Attending calls for a more…

Abstract

Purpose

Customer experience research predominantly anchors the customer journey on a specific offering, implying an inherently firm-centric perspective. Attending calls for a more customer-centric approach, this study aims to develop a goal-oriented view of customer journeys.

Design/methodology/approach

This study interprets the results of a phenomenological study of a transformative journey toward a sober life with the self-regulation model of behavior to advance understanding of customer journeys.

Findings

The consumer's journey toward a higher-order goal encompasses various customer journeys toward subordinate goals, through which consumers engage in iterative cognitive and behavioral processes to adjust or maintain their experienced situation vis-à-vis the goal. Experiences drive behavior toward the goal. It follows that negative experiences may contribute to goal attainment.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights the importance of looking at the consumers' higher-order goals to obtain a more holistic understanding of the customer journey.

Practical implications

Companies and organizations should extend their view beyond the immediate goals of their customers to identify relevant touchpoints and other customer journeys that affect the customer experience.

Originality/value

This study proposes conceptualization of the customer journey, comprising goal-oriented processes at different hierarchical levels, and it demonstrates how positive and negative customer experiences spur behaviors toward the higher-order consumer goal. This conceptualization enables a more customer-centric perspective on journeys.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Aino Halinen and Jaana Tähtinen

This research is about the ending of business relationships: what that is, why it happens, and how an extant relationship dissolves. Ending of buyer‐seller relationships…

Abstract

This research is about the ending of business relationships: what that is, why it happens, and how an extant relationship dissolves. Ending of buyer‐seller relationships has very recently attracted increased research attention. This article adds to the existing knowledge by developing a process model to understand, in particular, how dissolution advances in a professional service context. The model aims to attend the major shortcomings of existing research and distinguishes three conceptual categories: the type of relationship and its ending, the factors that influence the process, and the ending process per se. It is concluded that the ending process is always both temporally and contextually embedded and to a significant degree actor‐driven; a picture of idiosyncrasy rather than deterministic development. The article ends by discussing managerial implications and making suggestions for future research.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Helena Rusanen, Aino Halinen and Elina Jaakkola

This paper aims to explore how companies access resources through network relationships when developing service innovations. The paper identifies the types of resource…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how companies access resources through network relationships when developing service innovations. The paper identifies the types of resource that companies seek from other actors and examines the nature of relationships and resource access strategies that can be applied to access each type of resource.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal, multi-case study is conducted in the field of technical business-to-business (b-to-b) services. An abductive research strategy is applied to create a new theoretical understanding of resource access.

Findings

Companies seek a range of resources through different types of network relationships for service innovation. Four types of resource access strategies were identified: absorption, acquisition, sharing, and co-creation. The findings show how easily transferable resources can be accessed through weak relationships and low-intensity collaboration. Access to resources that are difficult to transfer, instead, necessitates strong relationships and high-intensity collaboration.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are valid for technical b-to-b services, but should also be tested for other kinds of innovations. Future research should also study how actors integrate the resources gained through networks in the innovation process.

Practical implications

Managers should note that key resources for service innovation may be accessible through a variety of actors and relationships ranging from formal arrangements to miscellaneous social contacts. To make use of tacit resources such as knowledge, firms need to engage in intensive collaboration.

Originality/value

Despite attention paid to network relationships, innovation collaboration, and external resources, previous research has neither linked these issues nor studied their mutual contingencies. This paper provides a theoretical model that characterizes the service innovation resources accessible through different types of relationships and access strategies.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Elina Jaakkola and Aino Halinen

To test the validity of the presumed characteristics of professional services by studying their manifestation in the problem solving that occurs in service production.

Abstract

Purpose

To test the validity of the presumed characteristics of professional services by studying their manifestation in the problem solving that occurs in service production.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses medical research as secondary data to study the existence of associations between the presumed characteristics of professional services and problem solving in the medical context. A systematic review of empirical studies concerning physicians' prescribing decisions is conducted.

Findings

Supporting assumptions presented in the literature, specialist knowledge of professional and customer participation was found to influence prescribing decisions. The assumption regarding collegial control was partially supported. Some degree of contradiction was found with respect to the presumed professional autonomy and altruism. Whilst the professional services literature emphasises factors related to the client's problem, the service encounter and the profession, we conclude that problem solving is influenced also by factors embedded in the related organisational, market and institutional environments.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical validation of the presumed professional characteristics is needed. The results indicate that professional services research should pay more attention to the role of the wider context in professional problem solving. Medical researchers might also benefit from a broader perspective on patient participation.

Practical implications

An holistic view of factors that influence physicians' prescribing decisions is of use to managers of health care organisations, marketers of pharmaceuticals, and policy makers and third‐party payers.

Originality/value

By using an interdisciplinary approach, the paper contributes to professional services research by providing empirical support for the often repeated characteristics of professional services and outlining factors that potentially influence problem solving within professional services.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Satu Nätti, Aino Halinen and Niina Hanttu

Effective customer‐specific knowledge transfer is the cornerstone of customer value creation in professional service organizations. In order to formulate a coherent…

Abstract

Purpose

Effective customer‐specific knowledge transfer is the cornerstone of customer value creation in professional service organizations. In order to formulate a coherent service offering across different expertise areas, it is crucial to share customer‐specific knowledge between professionals, business functions and units. The purpose of this study is to offer insights into the role of key account management (KAM) systems in facilitating this process.

Design/methodology/approach

The work is based on an explorative case study in which the implementation of the KAM system in two consulting and training companies was investigated. Comparison of the two cases in terms of KAM design and success in knowledge transfer enabled conclusions to be drawn about the role of KAM as a knowledge carrier and a “linking pin” in a loosely coupled organization.

Findings

Organizational fragmentation and insufficient communication channels among experts and subgroups of professional organizations cause problems in relation to knowledge transfer. This also makes it more difficult to combine expertise and to create innovative service concepts for customers. A KAM system, if managed effectively, provides a powerful tool for counteracting these problems. It functions as a linking pin in a loosely coupled organization, helping to maintain customer‐specific knowledge transfer and continuity in customer relationships.

Originality/value

Very little research has been conducted on customer‐specific knowledge transfer in professional service organizations in spite of its central role in the creation of customer value. This study is unique in offering empirical evidence of the role of KAM systems in facilitating knowledge transfer. In the future, it would be interesting to study the role of different organizational conditions and practices, including organizational structures, the use of technological knowledge tools and cooperative working methods. The effectiveness of KAM systems in terms of financial performance and the creation of value for clients also deserve more research attention.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Mekhail Mustak, Elina Jaakkola, Aino Halinen and Valtteri Kaartemo

Management of customer participation (CP) in service production and delivery is of critical concern for service managers, as CP can result in various positive but also…

Abstract

Purpose

Management of customer participation (CP) in service production and delivery is of critical concern for service managers, as CP can result in various positive but also negative outcomes. However, an integrated understanding on how service providers can manage CP is still missing. The purpose of this paper is to gather and synthesize the extant knowledge on the constituents of CP management into a comprehensive framework, and to offer an extensive agenda for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review of existing research is conducted. A total of 181 journal articles are analyzed in five steps: attaining basic understanding, coding, categorization, comparison, and further analysis.

Findings

The authors provide identification and categorizations of the customer inputs, their antecedents, the management approaches, and the outcomes of CP. To date, CP management has been addressed from three distinct perspectives: human resource management that treats customers as partial employees; operations management that focusses on customer functioning during the service process; and marketing that highlights the roles and value outcomes for customers.

Research limitations/implications

The authors call for further research that addresses the relationships between the antecedents, customer inputs, management approaches, and outcomes of CP, and argue for extension of contextual diversity. The detailed research agenda provided is helpful for interested researchers.

Practical implications

The study offers managerial insights on how the degree and quality of CP can be improved by applying the various management methods examined in academic research.

Originality/value

As the first comprehensive review on this topic, this paper brings together the dispersed knowledge on CP, integrates it into a comprehensive framework of CP management, and paves the way for future focussed research.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2013

Mekhail Mustak, Elina Jaakkola and Aino Halinen

Customer participation in the creation of offerings has become a key focus in marketing literature. This paper synthesizes extant research on the topic to enhance…

Abstract

Purpose

Customer participation in the creation of offerings has become a key focus in marketing literature. This paper synthesizes extant research on the topic to enhance understanding of the conceptualization and value outcomes of customer participation in the creation of offerings.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on an extensive, systematic literature review covering 163 articles on customer participation published over the last four decades. Selected publications were analyzed according to the topics studied, study context, research approach, and findings.

Findings

The review demonstrates how the conceptualization of customer participation has evolved in terms of the nature and range of customer contributions, their temporal scope, and the outcomes considered. It also synthesizes the hypothesized and empirically scrutinized value outcomes of customer participation for both sellers and customers.

Research limitations/implications

The review reveals important gaps in the existing knowledge on customer participation, and identifies relevant areas for future research. The literature review may have missed some relevant papers that use different terminologies.

Practical implications

Managers should consider the strategic significance of customer participation in their businesses, promote the potential benefits to their customers, and institute necessary changes in their organization to facilitate participation.

Originality/value

This paper provides a structured overview of the empirical and conceptual research addressing customer participation and brings forth evidences regarding its value outcomes, thereby contributing to extant knowledge on value creation.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2019

Nikolina Koporcic and Jan-Ake Tornroos

This paper aims to present the concept of Interactive Network Branding (INB) in business markets. The INB conceptualization offers an understanding of corporate branding…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the concept of Interactive Network Branding (INB) in business markets. The INB conceptualization offers an understanding of corporate branding processes as an inherent part of business networking. More specifically, the paper focuses on the importance of INB for firms that are developing their roles and positions in business networks.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual paper reviews the extant literature on corporate branding in conjunction with business network research. This perspective adds to the current knowledge of business marketing by proposing a theoretical framework of INB.

Findings

The conceptualization of INB offers a specific network lens on corporate branding by presenting three INB dimensions. The first dimension deals with corporate identity; the second dimension deals with corporate reputation; the third, mutual INB dimension, presents an “interactive space” where branding and networking collide. These three dimensions are enacted by individuals acting on behalf of their companies, as key implementers of INB processes. Through the INB, strategic roles and positions of firms embedded in their business networks are formed.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to current literature on business network research that has left a corporate brand perspective almost unnoticed. The INB concept also offers an extension to current literature on corporate branding, which has to date neglected business relationships and networking issues. Being strongly conceptual, the paper notes that empirical research is needed for observing the role of INB in real-life business encounters.

Practical implications

This study provides novel ideas and implications for firm representatives responsible for branding and relationship development in business networks. It denotes the critical role of individuals and their interactions with other individuals, which influences the development of specific network roles and positions for connected business entities.

Originality/value

The used multidisciplinary approach provides a conceptual platform to study branding processes in business networks. By offering a network perspective to corporate branding, new and relevant implications for both theory and practice are fore fronted.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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