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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2018

Johanna Still, Hanna Komulainen and Satu Nätti

This study provides us with new knowledge in the form of conceptual framework of the contextual layers of service experience within professional business services. This…

Abstract

Purpose

This study provides us with new knowledge in the form of conceptual framework of the contextual layers of service experience within professional business services. This study aims to answer the following questions: What kinds of contextual layers can be identified influencing service experience? How specific characteristics of professional service context may influence customer experience at these different layers?

Design/methodology/approach

The framework is based on extensive literature review considering research in the fields of service and relationship perspectives, likewise professional services.

Findings

The framework is based on extensive literature review in the fields of service and relationship perspectives, likewise professional services.

Originality/value

Only a limited number of studies seem to address the highly topical context of professional/knowledge-intensive business services and relationships. The authors tie the discussion concerning different contextual layers of service experience to this specific operating context with the aim of identifying their importance and influence in service experience. Related to this context, this study highlights the importance of understanding role of individuals in service experience, rarely emphasized in B2B dyadic setting. The framework also contributes to current discussion regarding service experience and “zooms in” to the context and its detailed levels.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2018

Eija-Liisa Heikka and Satu Nätti

The purpose of this paper is to explore what value dimensions and related value components are highlighted in the value proposition of knowledge-intensive business…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore what value dimensions and related value components are highlighted in the value proposition of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS), both at the relationship and project levels, how value propositions can differ between new and established customer relationships, and finally what is characteristic to the evolution of value proposition in the KIBS context.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a comparative, qualitative multiple case study method.

Findings

The aim is to offer a comprehensive picture of the variety of value components in KIBS relationships, likewise, how the nature and composition of value proposition changes as a relationship evolves from conducting a single project toward a more established customer relationship. Individual experts seem to possess a crucial role in that development.

Originality/value

This study contributes theoretically by providing insights into the current literature on core dimensions and components of value propositions in this specific context, and differences there can be between new and established customer relationships. The study also offers much-needed, context-specific knowledge of knowledge-intensive services for managers. Empirically, these findings reflect the perspectives of both the service provider and four of its customers, ensuring a multi-sided description of the phenomenon.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2019

Sauli Sohlo and Satu Nätti

Business schools turn to prestigious international accrediting bodies (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) in their quest for legitimacy, improved status and reputation. What pains and…

Abstract

Purpose

Business schools turn to prestigious international accrediting bodies (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) in their quest for legitimacy, improved status and reputation. What pains and gains are involved when pursuing these credentials? What are the facilitative and friction forces, supporting or inhibiting development in the different levels of the organization? The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative single case study provides an extant literature review on business accreditations and their effect on business school development. Through examining the business school organization from four angles, “levels of change,” the accreditation process related events in a Nordic business school during 2009–2017 are analyzed.

Findings

Regardless of the typical path-dependency of academic organizations, an accreditation process significantly affects the business school development in all four levels of the organization – dominant logic, culture, structures and systems – through changing the everyday activities. Individual actors become more aware of the underlying values, beliefs and assumptions behind their own behavior as well as that of the overall organization. Deeply rooted understanding of “academic freedom” is challenged. New relationships and working culture are created across sub-units and individuals. Introducing faculty qualifications criteria may lead to department mergers. Accreditation data systems bring transparency into academic work, increasing the consciousness and result orientation among individuals.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the limited theoretical understanding of the development a professional organization through accreditation, adds to the understanding of practical consequences on the level of an individual organization, as well as offers managerial suggestions for business school leaders.

Details

Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1026-4116

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Anssi Jussila, Tuija Mainela and Satu Nätti

The purpose of this paper is to examine the formation of strategic networks between second-tier actors in the context of a construction megaproject. The research question…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the formation of strategic networks between second-tier actors in the context of a construction megaproject. The research question addressed is: How do second-tier strategic networks form in high uncertainty projects?

Design/methodology/approach

This is a qualitative single-case study, which examines strategic network formation in the context of a nuclear power plant construction project. Focused interviews with parties involved or having an interest in the megaproject were used as the primary data collection method.

Findings

The conditions for network formation in a megaproject context are specified with a focus on the determinants of uncertainty. A total of six second-tier network types with different formation conditions and potential roles in the project are characterized.

Research limitations/implications

Analyzing the prerequisites of strategic network formation and examining the characteristics of various networks (that are either planned, taking shape or existing between the companies) in this specific context creates a basis for further study of network formation over network levels.

Practical implications

The formation of strategic networks is critical for many actors in the construction and related industries who are willing to participate in large projects. With the help of our findings, managers are able to define opportunities to orchestrate early phase network formation processes in uncertain circumstances, such as megaprojects.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper lies in the close examination of strategic network formation from the second-tier actor perspective under circumstances of high uncertainty related to the early phases of megaprojects. Likewise, the illustration of different types of evolving nets in different phases of uncertain projects offers a contribution to the present discussion on strategic nets.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2014

Satu Nätti, Suvi Rahkolin and Saila Saraniemi

A deliberate and planned crisis communication strategy is an important part of key account management. The purpose of this paper is to draw links between key account…

Abstract

Purpose

A deliberate and planned crisis communication strategy is an important part of key account management. The purpose of this paper is to draw links between key account managers (KAM) and crisis communication and explore the elements critical to crisis communication in key account relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is qualitative. Data were gathered from people experienced in crisis communication and responsible for strategic accounts. The paper analysed managers’ stories of crisis processes and related communication in relationships.

Findings

Successful crisis communication requires an open and active crisis communicator, one willing to solve problems, and also the company being a partner worth trusting and the retention of the relationship being worthwhile for the customer.

Research limitations/implications

The present study focuses on the managerial view, and therefore a dyadic approach is suggested for future studies.

Practical implications

The role of the KAM as a crisis communicator and primary identifier of the crisis is emphasized.

Originality/value

Existing crisis communication discussions have been very media focused. This study focuses on the key account relationship and the related crisis communication. In addition, although earlier studies examine the influences of crises on business relationships (e.g. Salo et al., 2009; Thiessen and Ingenhoff, 2010; Tähtinen and Vaaland, 2006), research on crisis communication in business-to-business key account relationships is still scarce. The results will help to understand the characteristics of crisis communication in key account relationships and enhance communication with strategic accounts.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2008

Satu Nätti and Jukka Ojasalo

The knowledge of inhibitors of internal customer knowledge transfer in b‐to‐b professional service organizations is still in its infancy. Previous literature on…

Abstract

Purpose

The knowledge of inhibitors of internal customer knowledge transfer in b‐to‐b professional service organizations is still in its infancy. Previous literature on professional service organizations has focused on knowledge processes on a general level without paying closer attention to inhibitors of internal knowledge transfer. This study aims to contribute by increasing the knowledge of various inhibitors of customer‐related knowledge transfer and their influence on customer‐related knowledge utilization in collaborative customer relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The present empirical article is based on a case study of two professional service organizations in the field of business‐to‐business education and consultancy services. An in‐depth analysis of organizations developing collaborative relationships was conducted.

Findings

This paper shows that internal fragmentation seems to be inherent in this type of organization, and may cause many problems in customer‐related knowledge transfer among individuals, collegial groups and hierarchical levels in a professional service organization. All these problems in collective knowledge utilization influence both the service offering creation and general relationship coordination in the collaborative relationship.

Originality/value

This paper provides managerial suggestions for how to deal with the inhibitors of customer knowledge transfer. This includes developing unified goals, strengthening cultural cohesion and cooperation in the organization, building forums of dialogue between individuals and subgroups, and structuring relationship coordination systems (i.e. key account management systems), keeping customer‐related knowledge transfer in mind.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2013

Ilkka Lähteenmäki and Satu Nätti

Improving capability to generate value for customers is seen as a way to create a new competitive edge, but developing the related organisational capabilities involves…

Abstract

Purpose

Improving capability to generate value for customers is seen as a way to create a new competitive edge, but developing the related organisational capabilities involves facing several obstacles that stem from the producer‐orientation of the retail‐banking business. This paper aims to focus on defining and describing those obstacles.

Design/methodology/approach

An in‐depth, qualitative single case study of a European retail bank was conducted.

Findings

A retail bank can find it challenging, first, to understand the deepest meaning and character of customer value and, second, to harness the organisational attributes to deliver that value. The main barriers lie in the strong producer‐oriented way of doing business, a lack of employee commitment, a strong product and sales orientation, a restrictive network, difficulties in seeing the profitability aspect of a new mindset, lack of conceptualisation and proper segmentation, and finally, silo‐style bank organisations.

Research limitations/implications

The research is focused on the retail‐banking industry, while the findings are transferable to other retail finance businesses.

Practical implications

Enhancing value creation may provide a competitive edge, but developing that edge means facing several obstacles, which may jeopardise the calculated positive return on investment. For management, understanding the value of the banking service in the customer's own context is critical.

Originality/value

Developing customer experience and value‐in‐use has been suggested as a good starting point for customer orientation. However, research on its implications for organisations and potential obstacles to implementation remains scarce. This paper offers a detailed view on the organisational development necessary to generate value‐in‐use in a retail‐banking context.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Satu Nätti, Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen and Wesley J. Johnston

The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of service innovation in networks. Especially the most loosely coupled forms of innovation networks, innovation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of service innovation in networks. Especially the most loosely coupled forms of innovation networks, innovation communities, can be valuable in service innovation, but may not be manageable in the traditional sense. Rather, they may require orchestration characterized by discreet guidance that also accommodates the specific nature of services. Through informed orchestration, it is possible to deal with several contingencies, and influence the absorptive capacity at the network level to generate new service innovations.

Design/methodology/approach

These issues are examined through literature review and a case study.

Findings

The findings suggest that individual orchestration mechanisms may be more closely connected to certain contingencies than others, and that both orchestration mechanisms and contingency factors have a role in absorptive capacity development within service innovation networks.

Research limitations/implications

While the case study approach limits the possibility to make wide generalizations, the in-depth insights provide valuable knowledge.

Practical implications

There has been a shift from inter-firm competition towards competition between networks of organizations, increasing relevance of absorptive capacity at the network level.

Originality/value

Despite the recent increase in service innovation literature, research on service innovation taking place in networks is scant. Knowledge on some aspects can be derived from more traditional notions on technological innovation, but both the distinctive features of services and central characteristics of innovation networks make it necessary to reconsider some of the established views. In particular, managing – or rather orchestrating – service innovation is still a challenging area.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2008

Jukka Ojasalo, Satu Nätti and Rami Olkkonen

The purpose of this paper is to increase the knowledge of brand building in software SMEs.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase the knowledge of brand building in software SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical method used is a multi‐case study. Data were collected from 20 companies in the software industry through in‐depth interviews. The data were analyzed using systematic coding and categorization of qualitative evidence.

Findings

The study identified five special characteristics of brand building in software SMEs, relating to goals and perceived benefits of brand building; resources in brand building; external and internal cooperation in brand building; means and communication in brand building; and the process of product brand building and its connection to software product development.

Research limitations/implications

The scientific contribution of this empirical study relates to two aspects of brand management: branding in software business and branding in SMEs. A vast amount of literature exists on “brands”, “software business” and “SMEs”, but there is very little on “branding in software business” or “branding in SMEs”. Unarguably, there are two significant knowledge gaps in the literature, and they relate to branding in software and SME industries. Both theoretical and managerial knowledge is needed. This study corresponds to this need by increasing the knowledge of brand building in software SMEs with an empirical study. The present study is characterized by the general limitations of a case study. The results lack statistical reliability, they apply primarily in the case companies examined, and no direct generalizations should be made without further quantitative study.

Practical implications

Directors of SMEs often think that branding is just for big companies, but small companies with limited resources can brand their products and services as well. However, the means of branding are often different. The present study encourages SMEs to systematically think of the potential advantages of branding for their business, and develop creative, targeted, and affordable approaches for brand building.

Originality/value

The present empirical study makes an original contribution to the literature by increasing the knowledge of branding in the context of both SMEs and software business.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 24 May 2013

Jenny Sandbacka, Satu Nätti and Jaana Tähtinen

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the internal and external corporate branding activities of micro-sized industrial business services companies.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the internal and external corporate branding activities of micro-sized industrial business services companies.

Design/methodology/approach

An abductive research approach and a case study method were used. Data were gathered with thematic interviews from three sources, a case company, its distributors, and its end customers.

Findings

A model for building a corporate brand identity and image in a micro-sized industrial business services company was devised. Key activities, including defining company values and the business idea, designing, managing and stabilizing the service process, utilizing holistic corporate communications, networking as well as activating and retaining stakeholders and utilizing feedback, to build a corporate brand were identified.

Research limitations/implications

As the importance of the internal branding can be presumed to rise with headcount, the repeatability of this study is weakened by the case organization being a micro company. Several suggestions for future research can be made based on this study: the causality of the presented model ' s connections with quantitative methods, the network branding and service company brand hierarchies.

Practical implications

This paper shows how a micro company can build its brand, without deploying extra resources. Moreover, it suggests ways of utilizing external resources, by exploring how the company ' s stakeholders can participate in the branding process.

Originality/value

This study expands the service branding literature to industrial services micro companies by identifying activities that they can undertake.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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