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Book part
Publication date: 3 September 2018

Georgiana Grigore and Mike Molesworth

This chapter theorizes the outrageous consumer response that may follow the communication of political corporate social responsibility (CSR). We consider two recent cases…

Abstract

This chapter theorizes the outrageous consumer response that may follow the communication of political corporate social responsibility (CSR). We consider two recent cases (Starbucks’s offer to hire refugees and Pepsi’s appropriation of protest movements in an ad) and how consumers-citizens reacted when these corporations communicated political issues. By drawing from psychoanalytic concepts, we illustrate how consumers’ outrage, expressed in angry social media comments, and in the creation and sharing of memes, is cathartic of unconscious repressed matter: the realization of their own powerless and the domination of corporations. We further note how these expressions of outrage may be understood to result from defense mechanisms such as denial, displacement, or more complex sublimation that help consumers maintain a position of passive domination by corporations. Like all psychoanalytic applications, our interpretation represents only a plausible metaphor that can explain the “irrational” behavior of consumers. Positivist traditions of CSR theorization may demand further causal studies to confirm the ideas we express. Our study is an original exploration of what underlies consumer responses to political CSR. These cases could inform academics and practitioners working in the business and society arena asking them to re-evaluate whether and how political CSR should be communicated, and the implications of the rapid diffusion of messages in social media that include mocking parody and offensive brand comments.

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Redefining Corporate Social Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-162-5

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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2012

Rebecca Watkins and Mike Molesworth

Purpose – To extend our understanding of consumers’ relationships with their growing collections of digital virtual goods by exploring adult videogamers’ attachments to…

Abstract

Purpose – To extend our understanding of consumers’ relationships with their growing collections of digital virtual goods by exploring adult videogamers’ attachments to their digital virtual possessions within videogames.

Methodology – Phenomenological interviews with 35 adult videogamers, primarily conducted in participants’ homes and lasting on average two hours.

Findings – Our participants were able to possess and form emotional attachments to ‘irreplaceable’ digital virtual goods within videogames despite the goods’ immaterial nature and their own lack of legal ownership. The processes via which these attachments developed mirror our existing understanding of material possession attachment; however, technical and legal restrictions were found to hinder attachment formation. Our participants also expressed concerns, rooted not in the immateriality of the goods, but in their lack of control over the safety of their digital virtual possessions and societal perceptions surrounding such emotional involvement in ‘childish’ videogame play.

Originality/value – This study illustrates that consumers desire to, and find ways to, form meaningful attachments to possessions, regardless of their materiality, whilst highlighting the tension between the desire to possess and make meaning from digital virtual goods and recognition of their lack of legal ownership and control, and the goods’ status as frivolous.

Research implications – We see potential for future research to look beyond the immaterial nature of digital virtual goods to study the complex networks of forces influencing digital virtual consumption, whilst the ambiguous ownership of in-game possessions presents possibilities for further research into the problematic nature of possessing, but not owning, such goods.

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Research in Consumer Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-022-2

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2010

Helen Haywood and Mike Molesworth

This paper aims to explore the process that undergraduates go through in selecting universities and courses in the context of an increasingly marketisated higher education…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the process that undergraduates go through in selecting universities and courses in the context of an increasingly marketisated higher education (HE) where students may see themselves as consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

The process students go through is examined with reference to the services marketing literature and using a qualitative, phenomenological approach with students encouraged to focus on their lived experiences.

Findings

Notable was the reported inexperience of students who suggest an apparent focus on peripheral rather than core aspects of the HE service offering and therefore aim to quickly make “safe” choices. Also there is evidence of “satisficing” and of avoiding risks and choosing options which “feel right” rather than following a more systematic decision‐making process which might be expected for such an important decision. Also noted was a tendency to defer the decision to others, including the institutions themselves, and their increasingly seductive marketing approaches.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on a vocational university with a focus on subjects for the new professions (marketing, journalism and media production). Further studies might consider how far the findings hold true for other types of subjects and institutions.

Practical implications

The paper considers the implications of these findings for universities and their marketing activities, and invites them to both re‐evaluate assumptions that an informed and considered process has taken place, and to further consider the ethics of current practices.

Originality/value

The paper's focus on the stories provided by students provides new insights into the complexities and contradictions of decision making for HE and for services in general.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Kristin Fjeld and Mike Molesworth

This paper aims to promote better understanding of how the internet is used as part of crisis communication.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to promote better understanding of how the internet is used as part of crisis communication.

Design/methodology/approach

The internet may be changing the way PR operates in a crisis. It has been reported that the web has a significant role in disseminating information and that many‐to‐many online communication allows organisations to achieve “excellent” communication. However, it has also been suggested that in practice there is a need for more flexibility that the “excellence” model suggests. This study reports on data collected from in‐depth interviews with ten senior PR‐practitioners in order to understand their experiences and attitudes.

Findings

A range of attitudes are identified, informed by recent experience. Although participants indicated knowledge of and preference for two‐way communication with stakeholders, in practice they found this impractical or undesirable. This, their preference for existing approaches, and ignorance about the internet informed their views about online communication. The result was that some regarded the internet as inferior in terms of its ability to achieve “traditional” tasks and because of its potential for undesirable dialogue. When the web was acknowledged as useful it tended to be considered as supplementary to existing approaches. There was little recognition of the need for online dialogue.

Originality/value

This paper articulates a range of positive and negative attitudes towards the use of the internet for crisis communication, based on the experiences of senior PR practitioners.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2011

Mike Molesworth, Rebecca Jenkins and Sue Eccles

Purpose – In this chapter we consider how two apparently disconnected practices – one very human (loving relationships), another the apparently alienating outcome of…

Abstract

Purpose – In this chapter we consider how two apparently disconnected practices – one very human (loving relationships), another the apparently alienating outcome of consumer technology (videogame play) – may turn out to be linked in very intimate and perhaps surprising ways. In making this connection we hope to comment on how consumer practices may be understood in the context of dynamic human relationships and cultural ideals.

Methodology – We conducted 36 phenomenological interviews with adult videogame players in order to elicit everyday experiences of videogame play in the context of the individual's lifeworld. This chapter deals with aspects of data that explore relationships with partners and children.

Findings – We illustrate that consumer practices, ideals, and even couples are not stable things, but are subject to routine reconfiguration throughout life. We suggest the possibility of a triadic theory of human relationships that consists of the people themselves, their consumer practices, and ideas about what love means.

Originality/value of paper – Previous questions about the value of videogame consumption have tended to ask about violence or the normalcy of how we might spend our time. In this chapter we have attempted to shift the focus to questions about human relationships and how they might be enacted with consumer technologies. By understanding the interactions between human actors, their consumer practices and their ideals we are able to comment on existing critiques and celebrations of the impact of consumer culture on human relationships.

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Research in Consumer Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-116-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Mike Molesworth and Janice Denegri‐Knott

In this paper two online activities are discussed that are becoming increasingly interesting to organisations because they suggest a potential change in the balance of…

Abstract

In this paper two online activities are discussed that are becoming increasingly interesting to organisations because they suggest a potential change in the balance of power between producers and consumers. The activities are peer‐to‐peer (P2P) file‐sharing and online groups. An analysis is provided of 848 messages from approximately 150 users of a forum on Audiogalaxy's Web site immediately after the suspension of its P2P service following an RIAA lawsuit. Much of the interaction on the forums is “informational” in nature, and significant in terms of directing users to alternative P2P services. Other exchanges appear more “transformational”, attempting to energise the group into physical protest, although protests appear to be contained online. Also highlighted is the role of “recreational” exchanges in developing “relational” and “informational” exchanges and it is suggested that more research is needed in this area. The implications for file‐sharers and for organisations that might deal with online consumers are discussed. It is concluded that the RIAA's actions were largely counter‐productive as they were unable to prevent users moving to another P2P service and encouraged discourses which support file sharing. However the risk of “real‐life” protests as a result of the online groups’ reaction also seems low.

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Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Jake Hobbs, Georgiana Grigore and Mike Molesworth

Crowdfunding has become a significant way of funding independent film. However, undertaking a campaign can be time consuming and risky. The purpose of this paper is to…

Abstract

Purpose

Crowdfunding has become a significant way of funding independent film. However, undertaking a campaign can be time consuming and risky. The purpose of this paper is to understand the predictors likely to produce a film campaign that meets its funding goal.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyses 100 creative crowdfunding campaigns within the film and video category on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Campaigns were analysed in relation to a number of variables, followed by a discriminant analysis to highlight the main predictors of crowdfunding success.

Findings

This study finds key predictors of crowdfunding success and investigates differences between successful and failed crowdfunding campaigns. The attributes of these predictors lead us to question the long-term ability of crowdfunding to aid companies poorer in terms of time, financial and personnel resources, and therefore arguably in the greatest need of crowdfunding platforms.

Practical implications

The findings provide insight to practitioners considering the crowdfunding approach and offers knowledge and recommendations so as to avoid what can be naïve and costly mistakes. The findings highlight that crowdfunding should not be considered lightly and can be a considerable investment of resources to be successful.

Originality/value

The analysis of crowdfunding campaigns provides details on the significant predictors of crowdfunding success particularly relevant to creative campaigns. The findings provide a critique of previous claims about the benefit of crowdfunding for creative SMEs.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2011

Abstract

Details

Research in Consumer Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-116-9

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2010

Ross Brennan

Abstract

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Wim J.L. Elving

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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