Co-Creating Knowledge and Innovation through Online Communities: The Case of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator

Hawkins, Matthew (2012) Co-Creating Knowledge and Innovation through Online Communities: The Case of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study investigates the co-creation of knowledge and innovation with customers, exploring the types of contributions made to the innovation process by customers and the value created for the company and its customers by the co-creation process. Additionally, this study explores the dynamics of the process of knowledge sharing between customers.

Conceptually, this project makes use of the existing literature on knowledge, innovation and value creation, with particular reference to Nonaka’s (1994) SECI model, Brown and Duguid’s (1991) paper on noncanonical communities-of-practice and Prahalad and Ramaswamy’s (2004) The Future of Competition. The empirical basis for this study is a case study of Giffgaff, a UK mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and wholly owned subsidiary of O2 that involves its customers in the innovation and product support processes through online forums. The contributions to the Ideas, Top Tips and Help forums over set periods of time were analysed in order to address the research problem outlined above.

The findings of this study suggest that, while customers’ experiential knowledge of the service helps them to identify aspects of the service that could be improved, they generally do not possess sufficient technical knowledge or understanding of the company’s commercial objectives to create major breakthrough innovations. However, entering into a dialogue with customers is shown to give the company access to knowledge that may help it to fulfil their latent needs, as well as encouraging them to form an emotional attachment to the firm that will improve the usefulness of their contributions. It is also shown that the value derived by customers is largely defined by personalised experiences that are shaped through dialogue with the company and other customers, as well as taking on various roles. Finally, the findings of this study contradict much of the existing literature on knowledge creation by suggesting that face-to-face interaction is not essential for tacit knowledge to be developed and shared effectively.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2013 13:20
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2016 19:18
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/25543

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