Social media, interactive tools that change business model dynamics

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Rodriguez Donaire, Silvia (2012)
  • Publisher: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
  • Subject: :Economia i organització d'empreses [Àrees temàtiques de la UPC] | 33 | small-medium enterprises | business model innovation | web 2.0 | business model | social media

The aim of this research is two-folded. On the one hand, it attempts to assist employers of Catalan micro-retailers in designing, implementing and developing their Social Media strategy as a complementary channel of communication. On the other hand, it attempts to contribute to the research community with a better understanding on both which building block of the micro-retailer¿s Business Model is more influenced by the customer level of interaction by means of the Social Media and how a transformation can be observed in the micro-retailers¿ Business Models as a result of the Social Media implementation. The research question to be answered in this paper is how the transformation of the activity system of the micro-retailers¿ Business Model would allow the emergence of a Participatory Business Model by means of Social Media. To carry out this research the Participatory Action Research methodology was used, whose contribution has two results: the one is more practitioner oriented and the other is more academic. The incipient results of the research showed a scarce transformation of Catalan microretailer¿s business model as a consequence of the implementation of social media. However, it is significant enough to be considered as more than just a simple adoption of an alternative channel of communication. One of the main contributions is related to how customer influences the activity system of the micro-retailer¿s business model beyond four levels of customer interaction (communication, interaction, participation and collaboration) by means of social media. On the one hand, the activity system of a business model is referred to the eight building blocks of Osterwalder, Pigneur and Tucci (2005) research that includes customer segment, customer relationship, distribution channel, capabilities, partner, value configuration, value proposition, profit and cost. On the other hand, the four defined levels of customer interaction are based on the literature of group collaboration systems. The results showed that not all the building blocks forming the business model are influenced by consumer interaction. The only building blocks influenced by an initial communication level in the current social media strategy implementation stage of our sample (five micro-retailers) are the following: customer segment, customer relationship, distribution channel, value proposition and cost. This incipient stage of transformation can be justified by a lack of effort made due to the small size of the business and a lack of team working inside the companies, easily adapting to changes. It can also be justified by the fact it was carried out by the micro-retailers only during a short period of time (14 month). Another contribution of the paper shows that Social Media transformation drives a BM innovation according to the following mediator elements: (1) the dynamic capabilities, (2) the ability of learning, (3) the dedicated effort, (4) the implementation time and (5) the level of customer participation.
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