Skip to main content
main-content
Top

Hint

Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book

2014 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Qualitative Analysis of Online Communities to Support International Business Decisions

Authors: Rudolf R. Sinkovics, Elfriede Penz, Francisco Jose Molina-Castillo

Published in: Handbook of Strategic e-Business Management

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

share
SHARE

Abstract

Social, cultural, political and technological forces have significantly transformed the competitive landscape of the global economy. Amongst these forces, technology has arguably had the most rejuvenating impact on the way international businesses interact with each other and their customer base. End-users are making use of computer-mediated communications, newsgroups, chat rooms, email list servers, personal World Wide Web pages and other online formats at an unprecedented pace, and as they share ideas and obtain information about products and services, firms are extending their market research activities to these domains. These new tools, online communities, virtual communities and virtual worlds have emerged as a fascinating and useful pool of collective experience for international business. However, the utilization and analysis of this body of knowledge for international business decisions is still in its infancy. This paper analyzes the potential of these tools to inform international business decisions. We explain how to identify and access each of these communities, and how to convert the qualitative information available from online communities into a strategic input for the firm.
Footnotes
1
Netnography is different from (social) network analysis. The latter is fundamentally a quantitative analysis, which uses nodes and edges to gauge the strengths of connections between individual members of a group as well as determine the structure of the net (Carrington et al. 2005; Wasserman and Faust 1994).
 
2
WoW had a paid subscriber base of 12.1 million at the end of 2010 and holds more than 60 % of the global MMORPG market (2011).
 
3
EVE Online had 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2010 (Business Insights 2011).
 
4
Perfect World uses a ‘freemium’ business model, which means that use of the game is free but users are charged for items within the game.
 
Literature
go back to reference Anderson, W. T., Challagalla, G. N., & McFarland, R. G. (1999). Anatomy of exchange. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 7(4), 8–19. Anderson, W. T., Challagalla, G. N., & McFarland, R. G. (1999). Anatomy of exchange. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 7(4), 8–19.
go back to reference Andrews, D., Preece, J., & Turoff, M. (2002). A conceptual framework for demographic groups resistant to on-line community interaction. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 6(3), 9–24. doi: 10.​1109/​HICSS.​2001.​927044. Andrews, D., Preece, J., & Turoff, M. (2002). A conceptual framework for demographic groups resistant to on-line community interaction. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 6(3), 9–24. doi: 10.​1109/​HICSS.​2001.​927044.
go back to reference Armstrong, A., & John Hagel, I. I. I. (1996). The real value of on-line communities. Harvard Business Review, 74(3), 134–141. Armstrong, A., & John Hagel, I. I. I. (1996). The real value of on-line communities. Harvard Business Review, 74(3), 134–141.
go back to reference Balasubramanian, S., & Mahajan, V. (2001). The economic leverage of the virtual community. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 5(3), 103–138. Balasubramanian, S., & Mahajan, V. (2001). The economic leverage of the virtual community. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 5(3), 103–138.
go back to reference Beckmann, SC., & Langer, R. (2007). Netnographie. In R. Buber, H. H. Holzmüller (Eds.), Qualitative marktforschung— theorie, methode, analyse (pp. 219-228). Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag. doi: 10.​1007/​978-3-8349-9258-1_​57. Beckmann, SC., & Langer, R. (2007). Netnographie. In R. Buber, H. H. Holzmüller (Eds.), Qualitative marktforschungtheorie, methode, analyse (pp. 219-228). Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag. doi: 10.​1007/​978-3-8349-9258-1_​57.
go back to reference Brown, J., Broderick, A. J., & Lee, N. (2007). Word of mouth communication within online communities: conceptualizing the online social network. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(3), 2–20. doi: 10.​1002/​dir.​20082. CrossRef Brown, J., Broderick, A. J., & Lee, N. (2007). Word of mouth communication within online communities: conceptualizing the online social network. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(3), 2–20. doi: 10.​1002/​dir.​20082. CrossRef
go back to reference Business Insights. (2011). The video gaming industry outlook: online gaming market analysis. London: Business Insights Ltd. Business Insights. (2011). The video gaming industry outlook: online gaming market analysis. London: Business Insights Ltd.
go back to reference Carrington, P. J., Scott, J., & Wasserman, S. (2005). Models and methods in social network analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef Carrington, P. J., Scott, J., & Wasserman, S. (2005). Models and methods in social network analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
go back to reference Casaló, L. V., Flavián, C., & Guinalíu, M. (2008). Fundaments of trust management in the development of virtual communities. Management Research News, 31(5), 324–338. CrossRef Casaló, L. V., Flavián, C., & Guinalíu, M. (2008). Fundaments of trust management in the development of virtual communities. Management Research News, 31(5), 324–338. CrossRef
go back to reference Ciaramitaro, B. L. (2011). Virtual worlds and e-commerce technologies and applications for building customer relationships. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference. Ciaramitaro, B. L. (2011). Virtual worlds and e-commerce technologies and applications for building customer relationships. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
go back to reference Clemons, EK., Barnett, S., Appadurai, A. (2007). The future of advertising and the value of social network websites: Some preliminary examinations. In Proceedings of the ninth international conference on Electronic commerce (ICEC 2007). Minneapolis, MN, USA: ACM. Clemons, EK., Barnett, S., Appadurai, A. (2007). The future of advertising and the value of social network websites: Some preliminary examinations. In Proceedings of the ninth international conference on Electronic commerce (ICEC 2007). Minneapolis, MN, USA: ACM.
go back to reference de la Torre, J., & Moxon, R. W. (2001). Introduction to the symposium e-commerce and global business: the impact of the information and communication technology revolution on the conduct of international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(4), 617–639. doi: 10.​1057/​palgrave.​jibs.​8490988. CrossRef de la Torre, J., & Moxon, R. W. (2001). Introduction to the symposium e-commerce and global business: the impact of the information and communication technology revolution on the conduct of international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(4), 617–639. doi: 10.​1057/​palgrave.​jibs.​8490988. CrossRef
go back to reference Emerson, R. M. (1976). Social exchange theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 2, 335–362. CrossRef Emerson, R. M. (1976). Social exchange theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 2, 335–362. CrossRef
go back to reference Füller, J., Bartl, M., Ernst, H., & Mühlbacher, H. (2006). Community based innovation: how to integrate members of virtual communities into new product development. Electronic Commerce Research, 6(1), 57–73. doi: 10.​1007/​s10660-006-5988-7 CrossRef Füller, J., Bartl, M., Ernst, H., & Mühlbacher, H. (2006). Community based innovation: how to integrate members of virtual communities into new product development. Electronic Commerce Research, 6(1), 57–73. doi: 10.​1007/​s10660-006-5988-7 CrossRef
go back to reference Gardiner, P. D., & Ritchie, J. M. (1999). Project planning in a virtual world: Information management metamorphosis or technology going too far? International Journal of Information Management, 19(6), 485–494. doi: 10.​1016/​s0268-4012(99)00044-4. CrossRef Gardiner, P. D., & Ritchie, J. M. (1999). Project planning in a virtual world: Information management metamorphosis or technology going too far? International Journal of Information Management, 19(6), 485–494. doi: 10.​1016/​s0268-4012(99)00044-4. CrossRef
go back to reference Gu, B., Konana, P., Rajagopalan, B., & Chen, H. W. M. (2007). Competition among virtual communities and user valuation: the case of investing-related communities. Information Systems Research, 18(1), 68–85. doi: 10.​1287/​isre.​1070.​0114. CrossRef Gu, B., Konana, P., Rajagopalan, B., & Chen, H. W. M. (2007). Competition among virtual communities and user valuation: the case of investing-related communities. Information Systems Research, 18(1), 68–85. doi: 10.​1287/​isre.​1070.​0114. CrossRef
go back to reference Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park: Sage Publications. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
go back to reference Hemetsberger, A. (2002). Fostering cooperation on the internet: Social exchange processes in innovative virtual consumer communities. Advances in Consumer Research, 29(1), 354–356. Hemetsberger, A. (2002). Fostering cooperation on the internet: Social exchange processes in innovative virtual consumer communities. Advances in Consumer Research, 29(1), 354–356.
go back to reference Hof, R. D. (2005). The power of us. Business Week, 3938, 74–82. Hof, R. D. (2005). The power of us. Business Week, 3938, 74–82.
go back to reference Jang, H., Lorne, O., Ko, I., Koh, J., & Kim, K. (2008). The influence of on-line brand community characteristics on community commitment and brand loyalty. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 12(3), 57–80. doi: 10.​2753/​JEC1086-4415120304. CrossRef Jang, H., Lorne, O., Ko, I., Koh, J., & Kim, K. (2008). The influence of on-line brand community characteristics on community commitment and brand loyalty. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 12(3), 57–80. doi: 10.​2753/​JEC1086-4415120304. CrossRef
go back to reference Kollock, P., & Smith, M. (1999). Communities in cyberspace. London: Routledge. Kollock, P., & Smith, M. (1999). Communities in cyberspace. London: Routledge.
go back to reference Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: Using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research, 39(1), 61–72. CrossRef Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: Using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research, 39(1), 61–72. CrossRef
go back to reference Kuckartz, U. (2007). Computergestützte analyse qualitativer daten. In R. Buber, H. H. Holzmüller (Eds.), Qualitative marktforschung— theorie, methode, analyse (pp. 713–730).Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag. doi: 10.​1007/​978-3-8349-9258-1_​57. Kuckartz, U. (2007). Computergestützte analyse qualitativer daten. In R. Buber, H. H. Holzmüller (Eds.), Qualitative marktforschungtheorie, methode, analyse (pp. 713–730).Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag. doi: 10.​1007/​978-3-8349-9258-1_​57.
go back to reference Lew, Y. K., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2012).Practices of innovation in mobile computing alliances. In S. Harris, O. Kuivalainen, and V. Stoyanova (Eds.), International business— new challenges, new forms, new perspectives (pp. 242–261). Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan. doi: 10.​1057/​9781137007742). Lew, Y. K., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2012).Practices of innovation in mobile computing alliances. In S. Harris, O. Kuivalainen, and V. Stoyanova (Eds.), International businessnew challenges, new forms, new perspectives (pp. 242–261). Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan. doi: 10.​1057/​9781137007742).
go back to reference Lew, Y. K., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2013). Crossing borders and industry sectors: behavioral governance in strategic alliances and product innovation for competitive advantage. Long Range Planning, 46(1–2), 13–38. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​lrp.​2012.​09.​006. Lew, Y. K., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2013). Crossing borders and industry sectors: behavioral governance in strategic alliances and product innovation for competitive advantage. Long Range Planning, 46(1–2), 13–38. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​lrp.​2012.​09.​006.
go back to reference Mandiberg, M. (2012). The social media reader. New York: New York University Press. Mandiberg, M. (2012). The social media reader. New York: New York University Press.
go back to reference Marschan-Piekkari, R., & Welch, C. (Eds.). (2004). Handbook of qualitative research methods for international business. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Marschan-Piekkari, R., & Welch, C. (Eds.). (2004). Handbook of qualitative research methods for international business. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
go back to reference Molina-Castillo, F. J., Jimenez–Jimenez, D., & Munuera-Aleman, J. L. (2011a). Product competence exploitation and exploration strategies: The impact on new product performance through quality and innovativeness. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(7), 1172–1182. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​indmarman.​2010.​12.​017. CrossRef Molina-Castillo, F. J., Jimenez–Jimenez, D., & Munuera-Aleman, J. L. (2011a). Product competence exploitation and exploration strategies: The impact on new product performance through quality and innovativeness. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(7), 1172–1182. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​indmarman.​2010.​12.​017. CrossRef
go back to reference Norsworthy, R., & Lee, Y. (1998). Returns to scale and network effects. Troy: Lally School of Management and Technology. Norsworthy, R., & Lee, Y. (1998). Returns to scale and network effects. Troy: Lally School of Management and Technology.
go back to reference Penz, E., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2005). Formalisierung qualitativer internationaler marketingforschung—grundsätze und anwendungsfall. In H. H. Holzmüller, A. Schuh (Eds.), Innovationen im sektoralen Marketing— Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Fritz Scheuch (pp. 235–256). Heidelberg: Physica Verlag. Penz, E., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2005). Formalisierung qualitativer internationaler marketingforschung—grundsätze und anwendungsfall. In H. H. Holzmüller, A. Schuh (Eds.), Innovationen im sektoralen MarketingFestschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Fritz Scheuch (pp. 235–256). Heidelberg: Physica Verlag.
go back to reference Preece, J. (2000). Online communities: supporting sociability, designing usability. New York: John Wiley. Preece, J. (2000). Online communities: supporting sociability, designing usability. New York: John Wiley.
go back to reference Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier. London: Secker and Warburg. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier. London: Secker and Warburg.
go back to reference Richards, L. (2005). Handling qualitative data—a practical guide. London: Sage Publications. Richards, L. (2005). Handling qualitative data—a practical guide. London: Sage Publications.
go back to reference Sinkovics, R. R., & Alfoldi, E. A. (2012). Progressive focusing and trustworthiness in qualitative research: The enabling role of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS). Management International Review, 52(6), 817–845. doi: 10.​1007/​s11575-012-0140-5. CrossRef Sinkovics, R. R., & Alfoldi, E. A. (2012). Progressive focusing and trustworthiness in qualitative research: The enabling role of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS). Management International Review, 52(6), 817–845. doi: 10.​1007/​s11575-012-0140-5. CrossRef
go back to reference Srinivasan, R., Lilien, G. L., & Rangaswamy, A. (2004). First in, first out? The effects of network externalities on pioneer survival. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 41–58. doi: 10.​2307/​30161974. CrossRef Srinivasan, R., Lilien, G. L., & Rangaswamy, A. (2004). First in, first out? The effects of network externalities on pioneer survival. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 41–58. doi: 10.​2307/​30161974. CrossRef
go back to reference Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology—an overview. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273–285), Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology—an overview. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273–285), Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
go back to reference Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
go back to reference Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.
go back to reference von Hippel, E., & von Krogh, G. (2003). Open source software and the “private-collective” innovation model: Issues for organization science. Organization Science, 14(2), 209–223. CrossRef von Hippel, E., & von Krogh, G. (2003). Open source software and the “private-collective” innovation model: Issues for organization science. Organization Science, 14(2), 209–223. CrossRef
go back to reference Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should i share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 35–57. Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should i share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 35–57.
go back to reference Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
go back to reference Winkler, K., & Mandl, H. (2004). Virtuelle communities—Kennzeichen, Gestaltungsprinzipien und Wissensmanagement-prozesse. In Forschungsbericht Nr. 166. München: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Winkler, K., & Mandl, H. (2004). Virtuelle communities—Kennzeichen, Gestaltungsprinzipien und Wissensmanagement-prozesse. In Forschungsbericht Nr. 166. München: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.
Metadata
Title
Qualitative Analysis of Online Communities to Support International Business Decisions
Authors
Rudolf R. Sinkovics
Elfriede Penz
Francisco Jose Molina-Castillo
Copyright Year
2014
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-39747-9_35

Premium Partner