Authors: Katsiaryna Archakova Olga Mazur Subject: Master Thesis in Business Administration 15 ECTS Program: Master of International Management Gotland University Spring semester 2011 Supervisor: Bo Lennstrand, PhD
Abstract Cooperation between customers and companies has existed for a long time. However, the role of a customer was rather passive and organizations were the ones who dictated their rules and took a leading role in the process of product creation. With a course of time the situation has been changed and customers are becoming more and more involved into the process of cooperation. As a customer driven innovation is relatively new phenomenon, the aim of our study is to examine its status in the modern business world. It can be observed that organizations all around the globe claim about their readiness and willingness to listen to customers and cooperate with them. Companies create customer support sections where they offer to leave complaints, comments and suggestions. Airline companies tend to have such experience. ―We want to hear from you. Your feedback is important and helps us become a better airline‖ claims Delta Airlines. Tiger Airways states ―Yes! We want to hear from you! Submit your feedback via our Customer Support Portal‖. And there is multitude of such examples. With the help of the investigation of theoretical material, survey conduction and examining practical examples we aim to examine the issue of customer involvement into cooperation with organizations as well as to found out how ready customers are for such collaboration. Key words: innovation, company, customer involvement, motives, obstacles
In our thesis the concept of customer driven innovation is investigated. According to Desauza et al. (2008) customer-driven innovation is needed for the continual, sustainable innovation. Nowadays, organizations change their strategy from ―innovating for customers‖ and ―innovating with customers‖ to innovating ―by customers‖ (Gibbert et al., 2002). The concept means that customers are involved in innovation process and their ideas, suggestions and even complaints are considered as a driving force for innovations. The main feature is that a customer is a provider of the innovation or idea, regardless the initiator of the cooperation between customer and company. The theory says about necessity for organizations to collaborate with customers. Companies start more actively claim about their willingness and readiness for such cooperation. However, the question is set up whether it corresponds to reality. The purpose of study was to analyze the process of cooperation between companies and customers and which obstacles can limit their collaboration. Another aim was to examine consumers’ readiness and willingness to cooperate with companies. In thesis qualitative methods were used for the investigation of the topic and analyzing data, obtained from questionnaires. Data collection in the thesis includes primary and secondary data. The first one is derived with the help of research conduction by using questionnaires. 60 respondents from Europe and Post-USSR participated in the survey. Secondary data was collected using web sources and scientific articles related to the topic. With the help of the survey we aimed to investigate a tendency in the cooperation between customers and organizations. The results reflect the respondents’ perception of companies willingness for cooperation and obstacles that can limit cooperation. Moreover, showing of the survey demonstrate the most important motives for customers to share ideas with companies as well as required tools for their expression. Several respondents were asked for additional details in order to better understand and interpret an obtained from the survey information.
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