Tampere University of Technology

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Social Media in Business-to-Business Companies' Innovation

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesis

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages70
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3621-2
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3599-4
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2015
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume1333
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

Regarding the increasingly important paradigm of open innovation, it is recognized that valuable innovation-related knowledge is distributed ever more widely to various actors outside the company borders, such as users, customers, and communities. Various types of novel collaborative web tools and approaches, such as social media, can enable and significantly increase the use of distributed knowledge both within and outside company borders.

It is a common assumption that it is much more difficult to utilize social media in business-to-business (B2B) innovation and the customer interface because of the significant differences in B2B markets, B2B products, and product development, for example. Despite the growing number of company experiments and academic studies, social media are still new to many businesses. The opportunities and benefits of social media are not well understood in business, especially in B2B context. Despite the recent increasing interest in the use of social media in B2B marketing, it has received little attention from the innovation perspective.

The general purpose of this thesis is to study and help to understand the use of social media in B2B companies’ innovation. The thesis focuses on the innovation process, customer interface and the related perspective of the creation and sharing of customer knowledge. The main objectives of the dissertation are to understand the challenges, new opportunities, use and benefits, as well as, functions and roles of social media in B2B innovation. The choice of carrying out the dissertation as an article thesis has offered the researcher the opportunity to study from multiple perspectives a phenomenon that has been little researched or understood. The thesis combines quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research approach was used to determine the current use and perceived potential of social media tools in innovation, as well as to identify challenges of social media use in B2B company innovation. Qualitative research was used to gain a deep understanding of the challenges and benefits, and roles and functions of social media in B2B innovation.

The thesis contributes to the increasing understanding on the rather little understood topic of social media and its potential in B2B companies’ innovation. Based on the research, new understanding was gained on the challenges that B2B companies face in using social media in innovation, on the new possibilities and benefits that social media provide for innovation, as well as on the applications and the roles of social media in B2B innovation.

In addition, models and theories were developed for enhancing social media use: based on the qualitative research, for example, a Social Customer Learning model was built, which aims to help researchers and managers to identify and evaluate different social media approaches in business-to-business customer interface and innovation; modifications and improvements were proposed for media richness theory and channel expansion theory for the better consideration of the social media and the innovation contexts.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland

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