University Of Tasmania
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The role and nature of social customer relationship management (social CRM) in Australian companies

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:57 authored by Yawised, K
The aim of this thesis is to examine the uptake of Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM) in Australian companies by generating insight into factors that support or hinders adoption. Social CRM is an emerging concept that includes strategies, processes and technologies to link social media with traditional CRM practices. Despite the growing attention being paid to this concept, there is little evidence on what determines the adoption of Social CRM by private companies. Due to the lack of research on this topic, policy makers and company managers alike may struggle to understand the phenomenon and thus be uncertain about what actions or practices they should take to support and foster Social CRM engagement. There is thus a compelling need for exploratory research into the Social CRM phenomenon within the private sector context. This research adopted a pragmatic ontology and epistemology through the use of mixed methods. The research strategy involves the use of mixed methods design, where both the quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently at one point in time and combined together as one case study. The quantitative survey was used to gain a broad understanding of the current patterns of Social CRM adoption in Australian companies. Semi-structured interviews were used to gain a deep understanding of the processes and activities underlying Social CRM adoption, implementation and evaluation. A concurrent approach to data collection was used, where both the quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently and equal priority was given to both methods. The target participants were company owners, CEOs, marketing managers or IT managers who played a crucial role in making decisions on the adoption of Social CRM by the companies. Quantitative and qualitative data were first analysed separately and later combined the interpretation. The quantitative data from the surveys were analysed using descriptive statistics. The qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews were analysed using thematic analysis by applying the principles of grounded theory to support thematic coding. The combined findings reveal that Social CRM can be used to refine existing strategies or processes instead of creating major changes. As such, Social CRM can be considered as either a company strategy or part of an existing corporate strategy. Companies adopting Social CRM do so with the aim of building meaningful interactions and trust-based relationships with customers, rather than using it as a marketing tool. There is a positive link between the size of the company and the development of Social CRM related technologies. Top management plays a key role in determining Social CRM adoption. The adoption of Social CRM is more likely in companies whose top management has ICT knowledge and skills, are early adopters of technology, and are able to develop a shared vision among employees to align ICT and marketing activities and functions. The combined findings also suggest the usefulness of the Resource-Based View (RBV) theory in helping companies make a decision about Social CRM adoption. This research has made contributions at three levels: substantive, methodological and theoretical. At the substantive level, this research is the first large-scale exploration of the role and nature of Social CRM in Australian companies. The findings are valuable for company managers wishing to formulate strategies or practices for effective Social CRM engagement. At the methodological level, this research re-affirms the utility of a concurrent mixed-methods approach to research design in providing detailed insights into the Social CRM phenomenon as well as the utility of this existing suite of conventional methods for analysing data. At the theoretical level, this research proposes a three-stage process framework for Social CRM engagement, grounded in the RB theory, to help business owners, IT, marketing and CRM managers better understand a strategic approach to Social CRM adoption and ways for formulating relevant and effective strategies.


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