Using geodemographics to analyse the characteristics of undergraduates in UK higher education : constructing and construing market segmentsTonks, D. G. January 2005 (has links)
This thesis lies within the field of market segmentation and is particularly concerned with geodemographics as a basis for segmentation. It includes 12 publications, and of these, ten make express use of geodemographics, and seven do so in the context of access to and participation within UK higher education. A dominant theme in these publications is the use of geodemographics to create and broadcast a more detailed understanding of inequality of access to higher education. The thesis includes a critical essay which builds on recognised literature and which effectively employs these 12 publications as exhibits. An examination is made of the process by which variables are chosen for the purposes of market segmentation. The process of constructing and construing geodemographic segments is also examined. The subjectivity associated with both these processes is assessed and the critical essay then extrapolates from these assessments to consider the relativistic implications of rhetoric as a significant marketing impetus.
Management and organisation of customer service work in Greece : patterns of diffusion in contact centre environmentsKoskina, Aikaterini January 2011 (has links)
This thesis explores and explains customer-service work in contact-centre environments of different national origin} size, and sector in Greece, It has a pragmatist philosophical orientation and stands on a methodologically pluralist position that is framed with a case-study design, Evidence is drawn from six contact-centres in the Greek telecommunications and insurance sectors, Analysis takes places at three levels (country) sector, company) with the aid of a hybrid institutional framework that merges macro and micro theories and concepts of labour management, This is supplemented by within-case analyses and cross-case comparisons, which provide examinations of the ways in which contact-centre work is managed and organised in the case-studies in line with justifications for the observed findings, The research findings extend and challenge some of the existing accounts in the contact-centre literature, The study illuminates the functioning of industrial-employment and work-social relations, It suggests that voice-to-voice work can be visualised in a high-low commitment' management and high discretion rubric under certain circumstances. To this end} the exploratory aim of the thesis induced the descriptive and prescriptive 'neo-professional model' of management and organisation of customer-service work. The explanatory part of the research pointed to three sets of effects (macro; national/pan-national, meso: sector, micro: company) on the management and organisation of contact-centre work. These effects are captured in the 'contact-centre diffusion framework', which derived from a deductive~ inductive analytical reasoning. Macro and meso effects were also found to pose barriers to the forward diffusion of certain policies and practices in the foreign-owned case-studies. In specific, the results stress the significance of the host-country's background and proximate institutions in the transfer of employment, industrial, and work relations in multinational subsidiaries. At theoretical level, the thesis contributes to a number of disciplines, most notably the emerging field of international contact-centre work. At practical level, the study offers an understanding to organisational stakeholders on the management and organisation of customer-service work in one European Mediterranean country, where both cross-border diffusion and contact-centre research is underdeveloped.
Predicting customer preferences in non-experimental retail settingsChan, S. M. H. January 2015 (has links)
This thesis investigates the application of computational statistics and Machine Learning in consumer preference prediction, with specific reference to the challenges imposed by real world operational retail environments. Some retailers base their competitiveness on Machine Learning. For instance, Dunnhumby analyzes more than 400 million online consumer records for retailers, such as Tesco, to optimise business decisions. The experiments in this thesis investigate three main challenges commonly presented in operational scenarios that hinder the application of Machine Learning in retail environments: 1. The measurement of correlation of feature factors for Machine Learning in a noisy setting; 2. The exploration and exploitation balance for predicting purchase preferences on new products; 3. The model adaptability to the changing dynamics over time. A design of a distributed Machine Learning framework for building practical applications of consumer preference prediction is also presented. Experiment 1: Correlation between Contextual Information and Purchase Behaviours under a Non-experimental Retail Environment The first experiment applies statistical methodologies, namely odds ratio and Mantel-Haenszel method, to analyze contextual information in a retail business. More specifically, it investigates the correlation between customers’ recent online browsing behaviours on Boots.com and their in-store purchase behaviours at Boots’ retail stores nationally in a non-experimental noisy setting. Methodologies such as stratified analysis with K-means clustering are proposed to detect and eliminate confounding factors that affect the evaluation of the correlation. The dataset for this experiment, provided by Boots UK, is the first year of a 2-year anonymised real in-store and online purchase records data. It contains profiles of 10,217,972 unique consumers who are Advantage Card holders and 2,939 unique selected products under 10 different brands. Experiment 2: Resources Allocation of Exploration and Exploitation for New Products under Retail Constraints The second experiment provides a two-stage batch solution based on matrix factorization and binary integer programming to optimise the customer response rate to new products of a simulated group buying system. This experiment investigates how the balance between the exploration of new products and the exploitation of existing known model affects overall business gains through purchase prediction and recommendation. In this experiment, the products are new with no prior profile and the number of new products a retailer can recommend to each customer is limited. The effectiveness of one of the traditional experimental design techniques in improving the learning efficiency during the exploration process is evaluated. Experiment 3: Continuous Model Selection for a Changing Retail Environment The third experiment investigates, using root-mean-square error and mean average precision measures, the adaptability of data model for consumer purchase prediction in a non-static retail environment. In particular, it analyzes the prediction accuracy of data models with static parameters over time. A continuous model selection approach by using an automatic hyperparameter tuning technique, namely random search, is proposed and is evaluated. The results challenge the traditional assumption that a one-off initial model selection is sufficient. The dataset for this experiment is a 2-year anonymised real in-store and online purchase records data provided by Boots UK. System Design: A Distributed Machine Learning Framework with Automated Modeling This system design outlines the concept and system architecture. It also demonstrates scenarios of a distributed Machine Learning framework for (i) evaluating, comparing and deploying scalable learning algorithms, (ii) tuning hyperparameters of algorithms manually or automatically and (iii) evaluating model training status. The design has become the foundation of a popular open-source software project - PredictionIO. The project is followed by over 5000 data scientists and practitioners on Github. Contributions to Science The major contribution of this thesis is to offer robust research-based methodologies to handle prediction challenges in real world operational environment for retail businesses. Computational statistics and Machine Learning methodologies are proposed to 1) identify contextual factors that are relevant to consumer preference in noisy non-experimental setting; 2) determine the importance of exploration and exploitation for new products under real-world constraints; 3) adjust data model continuously to adapt to changes in retail environments. This thesis contributes to the existing literature in a number of ways. First, this research proposes a novel statistical method to isolates the influence of confounding factors in correlation analysis for consumer preference prediction. It is a topic that received little attention in empirical literature. Second, this research proves the existence of the correlation between consumer online browsing and in-store purchase behaviours in a real retail dataset. This is a significant finding for the retail industry to improve prediction accuracy in the future. Third, this research examines the influence of the balance between exploration and exploitation of new product profiles on maximising business gains. Forth, this research proves that random selection surprisingly outperforms D-optimal experimental design in some retail cases. Fifth, this research challenges the existing assumption that model selection is needed only once at the initial stage. It proves that prediction accuracy can be improved significantly by continuous model selection. Sixth, this thesis presents the implementation of a continuous model selection approach by using automatic hyperparameter tuning techniques. Finally, this thesis presents a design of a distributed system that can be used for building predictive retail applications.
Influence of business strategy on firm's capability to innovate : investigation into employee perception of business strategy, market orientation, learning orientation and the favourability of the innovation implementation context on multiple hierarchical levels in a single multi-national organization in the FMCG industrySand, Christopher January 2015 (has links)
This research is informed by the implications of Disruptive Innovation Theory, which posits that incumbent firms tend to fail in the face of disruptive threats. A framework is developed based on the aim to identify controllable parameters of firm's innovation capability to ultimately contribute to the longevity of incumbent organizations. It integrates the conceptualization of Innovation Orientation with a processual perspective on innovation and the Dynamic Capabilities View to gain a holistic perspective on a firm's innovation. Furthermore, it emphasizes the role of managers and strategy makers to determine the level and composition of an organization's overall Capability to Innovate. Research constructs for Business Strategy, Market Orientation (with separate measures to assess the firm's distinct focus on Current Customers and/or Future Markets), as well as Learning Orientation were supplemented with a measure to assess the favourability of the Innovation Implementation Context of the firm. In their combination, these constructs are posited to provide a holistic account of the firm's overall Capability to Innovate. The research setting provides a framework to determine the influence of Business Strategy on the configuration of these constructs and to illustrate the interplay among them. A survey of 182 respondents based in a single organization in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Industry was taken to validate the framework. Its objective was to investigate into the individual linkages between Business Strategy and Market Orientation, Learning Orientation and the favourability of the Innovation Implementation Context. Moreover, the perceptions of employees on 4 different hierarchical levels are assessed. Ultimately this setting allows to determine the degree of strategic alignment throughout the organization, which was shown to result in higher performance in prior research. The findings of this research contribute to extend existing knowledge in an evolutionary manner. It contributes to the integration of prior research in the field of Innovation Orientation, innovation and the Dynamic Capabilities View towards a holistic understanding of a firm's Capability to Innovate. Moreover, the findings provide insights into the interrelationship between Business Strategy and the organization's propensity for Market Orientation in the Current Customer domain and into the Future Market domain, its Learning Orientation and the arrangement of its Innovation Implementation Context. It revealed a synergistic interplay between these constructs. The research provides directions for practitioners in outlining the importance of a holistic appreciation of innovation and by illustrating specific mechanisms how Business Strategy may influence a firm's overall Capability to Innovate.
Investigating the factors affecting business-to-consumer e-commerce adoption in EgyptAl-Sahouly, Ibrahim January 2015 (has links)
Through the application of the extended Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT2) model, this study investigates the key factors affecting the adoption of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in Egypt. This study has adopted a quantitative methodology to answer the research questions and test the proposed sixteen hypotheses. The research sample of this study included 600 Egyptian respondents. Regression Analysis has been conducted as a major evaluation of the research model and associated hypotheses. The constructs that have been empirically tested in the extended UTAUT2 model are: Performance Expectancy (PE), Effort Expectancy (EE), Social Influence (SI), Hedonic Motivation (HM), Habit (HI) and Facilitating Conditions (FC). Age, gender and experience moderate the relationship for the six independent variables and the dependent variable except for Performance Expectancy (PE) construct that was only moderated by age and gender. The proposed additional constructs for this model are on-line satisfaction (OS), on-line interactivity (OI), on-line trust (OT) and on-line security (OSY). The major findings of this study show that there is an effect of the established factors: Effort Expectancy, Hedonic Motivation and Facilitating Conditions, Social Influence, on-line Trust, on-line Satisfaction and on-line Interactivity on Egyptian consumers’ intention to adopt B2C e-commerce. In addition, the effect of moderator’s factors: age, gender, and experience have been absent in this study. Accordingly, seven hypotheses have been proven, while nine have been rejected. The study further discusses significant implications for marketers, on-line vendors and the Egyptian Government. In addition to presenting the important theoretical and practical contributions, this study also recommends directions for future related research. By specifically examining the Egyptian consumer, this study is the first of its kind to empirically examine B2C adoption in Egypt. Thus, it expands the body of knowledge in the field of B2C adoption and usage, which the existing literature has failed to provide an extensive understanding of B2C in the Arab World’s most populous country. This study is also the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting B2C by Egyptian consumers and to develop the (UTAUT3) model.
Mid-level marketing managers and marketing strategy implementation effectiveness : an empirical study from the guided evolution perspectiveThorpe, Eleri Rhian January 2003 (has links)
No description available.
Brand names in the linguistic landscape of Aqaba, JordanAl-Naimat, Ghazi January 2015 (has links)
This study addresses the interconnections between brand names, scripts, and languages in the Jordanian context through an investigation of the brand names in the linguistic landscape (LL henceforth) of Aqaba and of Jordanians’ attitudes and beliefs towards the occurrence of these brand names in the city. For the purpose of conducting the study, six streets were selected in Aqaba city on the basis of their commercial and tourism significance. The data collected within these survey areas generated a corpus of 1,810 signs. In the Thesis brand names, which constitute 25% of the entire corpus, are divided according to two typologies: the languages of scripts, and scripts in association with the language of slogans and business names. For the former typology, the mono-script brands contain Roman, Romanised Arabic, and Arabic, and the multi-script brands contain the pairings of Arabic and Romanised Arabic, and Roman and Arabicised Roman. The second typology identifies the brand names according to four patterns: brand advertising, hybrid brand, clone brand, and brand imitation. Brand names in both typologies have been examined from the perspective of semiotics, particularly the use of ‘composition’ and ‘multimodality’ as pertinent premises of Kress and Van Leewen’s (1996) grammar of visual design. The visual semiotic analysis has uncovered that the elements of the brand names perform as toolkits to disclose different socio-cultural and symbolic meanings in connection with both global and Jordanian brand names. Whilst the Arabic-script brands reflect local cultural practices in connection with the Jordanian community, such as the significance of religion, social habits, the customs exemplified in Bedouin life, and the display of Jordanian Arabic, the global brands, generally expressed in Roman scripts, display symbolic meanings associated with prestige, youth, decoration, success, and progress in the LL. In order to test the model proposed by Tufi and Blackwood (2010) regarding the impact of the socio-economic composition of individuals on their responses to the language(s) and countries of representation of brand names’ scripts, 42 Jordanian residents of the city with different demographic backgrounds were interviewed on their understanding of 20 recurrent brand names in the LL. The analysis of the data pinpoints five broad themes and perspectives: the prestige of English, the prestige of the US, Islamic associations, linguistic nationalism, and sound suggestions. The first two of these themes highlight the positive beliefs of younger people with respect to ‘English’ and the US as prestigious labels and marks. Cosmopolitan traits enhance this perception so that LL actors and viewers participate in new social identities which, in many situations, do not belong to the local setting. As for Islamic associations and linguistic nationalism, these are mostly mentioned by middle-aged and older respondents, who associate certain brand names with the teachings of Islam and the preference of the Arabic language over foreign languages. Islamic associations in turn relate to negative political and social concepts with regard to the brands’ perceived country of representation. This extends to negative evaluations of the inhabitants’ norms and customs in the given countries, which are then transferred to the languages themselves. Responses incorporating elements of linguistic nationalism exhibit views about the decreased appearance of the Arabic language and its replacement with foreign languages, as well as the respondents’ devotion to Arabic as the language of Islam. Finally, sound associations, that is the relations between the phonological shape of the brand name and the particularities of a local language, were identified and articulated by some educated inhabitants of different age groups. The Thesis concludes by highlighting the key role of age in the identification of the diverse viewpoints regarding the perceived language(s) and countries of brand names. Jordanian linguistic preferences towards the languages of these signs are also dependent on their viewpoints on the political meanings surrounding the perceived country of the brand names. The Thesis contributes to the field of LL in so far as it provides a wealth of original data from an unexplored setting, it devises a new method of coding brand names, and it contributes to establishing a solid linguistic framework in which to place the language policy of brand names in other LLs.
Multi-cultural social networking and social capitalJiang, Yifan January 2013 (has links)
Social Networking Sites allow users to manage their homepages to present themselves, and to interact with friends through networked connections. Some of these sites attract people from different cultural backgrounds (e.g. Facebook), providing an opportunity for online multi-cultural social networking to occur. This project aimed to contribute to cross-cultural Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) research, by investigating this kind of multi-cultural social networking. It focussed upon: 1) the role of cultural differences on users’ perception of self-presentation of others; 2) the relationship between cross-cultural social capital and cross-cultural social networking on social networking sites; and 3) unveiling factors affecting users’ decisions regarding social networking interactions. The researcher firstly investigated whether cultural differences in online self-presentation through communication styles affect audiences’ perception, and whether audiences from different cultural backgrounds have different ways of perceiving others’ online self-presentation. Secondly, whether cross-cultural social capital was associated with the intensity of cross-cultural social networking, and through which ways users can obtain the benefits of social capital through social networking interactions. Lastly, explored the factors influencing users’ decisions on whether and/or how much effort to place upon each type of social networking.British and Chinese social networking users were chosen as research participants to represent two different cultural groups. By systematically comparing the difference between them, the results suggest: 1) Cultural differences in online self-presentation do influence people’s perception of others, though it is not the only factor that affects this perception. British and Chinese audiences tend to focus on different cues when perceiving online self-presentations. 2) Cross-cultural social capital was positively associated with cross-cultural social networking. Further interview analysis revealed all kinds of social networking interactions (i.e. observing, communicating, grouping) could help users obtain the benefits of bridging social capital (e.g. acquiring new information and diffusing reciprocity); however only communicating and grouping with strong relationships brought different aspects of the benefit of bonding social capital to British and Chinese users. For instance, communicating and grouping helped Chinese users receive substantive support and access to limited resources; whereas grouping with strong relationships helped British users mobilize solidarity. 3) Three main factors may influence users’ decisions regarding multi-cultural social networking interactions: (a) relationship strength - although both British and Chinese users tend to communicate mostly with strong relationships, they have differences in observing and grouping with different relationships. British users tend to observe mostly strong relationships and group with all relationships, whereas Chinese users tend to group mostly with strong relationships and observe all relationships; (b) perceived benefit of social capital - only bridging social capital benefit affected British users’ decision, whereas both bridging and bonding social capital benefits motivated Chinese users; and (c) users’ cultural background.
Factors affecting user judgments of websitesAl-Shamaileh, Ons Faisal January 2013 (has links)
This thesis reports user experience (UX) research towards understanding the complexities of users’ judgment of websites and investigating factors beyond usability that affect the user judgments and websites overall preferences. Several models have been proposed to understand users’ judgment, some focused on the user and others on the interactive system; nevertheless, a number of factors in both areas have not been investigated in depth, and the relative importance of the quality criteria needs further research. Three empirical studies were conducted to explore the roles of user characteristics (religious identity, user values and culture), the interactive system (website interactivity), repeated exposure and the relative importance of the quality criteria that influence users’ judgment. Several UX criteria were assessed through questionnaires. Interviews were conducted to support questionnaire results by eliciting the reasons for users’ judgment. The first study compared Muslims and Christians evaluations of websites, with either Christian- or Muslim-oriented content in health, aid and e-commerce domains. Results showed that the religious identity strongly influenced users’ overall preferences. Users preferred matching-identity websites and evaluated them more positively than non-matching sites; the effect was stronger for Muslims probably because they had stronger religious commitment than the Christians. In addition, the strength of religious beliefs affected respondents’ judgments when the website matched their religious background, although it did not seem to have an effect on non-matching websites. The study also showed that when a religion-neutral e-commerce brand was added, both Muslims and Christians favoured it, followed by the matching and then the non-matching sites.The second study compared UK and Jordanian respondents’ evaluations of health-related websites. Results showed that a familiar website brand with comprehensive content and interactive features had the strongest effect on users’ judgment. Respondents were more positive to a website with a familiar brand (NHS-UK), comprehensive content and interactive features, while there were minor effects of health awareness on users’ overall preferences. The results also demonstrated that the two groups varied in their website preferences where culture influenced the brand recognition and overall preference of websites.The third study tested the influence of website interactivity and repeated exposure on respondents’ judgments. Users viewed (low, mid and high) interactive e-commerce websites for three visits with a two-week gap between each visit. They preferred more interactive websites over non/less-interactive ones while repeated exposure improved attitudes towards the more interactive website over time. The research further shows that the criteria that people consider as important may not always be used to discriminate between websites. Content and usability were constantly ranked in the top positions, and content discriminated between sites in overall preference; however, usability did not strongly affect users’ overall preferences. The thesis finally proposed a preliminary model based on the investigations, which shows the factors that may have an influence on users’ overall preference.
E-commerce adoption by travel agencies in JordanAlrousan, Mohammad Kasim January 2015 (has links)
The advents of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the Internet applications, have become indispensable tool to the tourism industry. ICTs have had a major influence in changing the structure of this industry, to be information intensive industry. Travel agencies category of SMEs , have a vital role in tourism; managing, coordinating and supplying all aspects thereof, such as transport sector, hospitality sector and leisure attractions. The factors affecting e-commerce adoption by SMEs have been well-documented in developed countries, but inadequate studies have been conducted regarding e-commerce adoption in the developing countries; particularly in Arab countries. Moreover, it has been found that in spite of potential benefits for travel agencies of adoption of ecommerce, travel agencies are commonly regarded as slow adopters of e-commerce, lagging far behind the developed countries. Therefore, the focus of this study is on investigating the factors affecting e-commerce adoption by focusing on Jordanian travel agencies. To achieve this objective; an integrated conceptual framework was developed on the basis of previous models and theories relevant to ICTs and e-commerce adoption, namely Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation model, the Technology-Organisation-Environment model and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions theory. The conceptual framework was developed for the explanation of the factors affecting e-commerce adoption by travel agencies. These factors were used to identify different levels of e-commerce adoption. These levels include: non-adoption, e-connectivity, e-window, e-interactivity, e-transaction and e-enterprise. The quantitative method was applied in this study for data collection using self-administrated questionnaire distributed to 300 Jordanian travel agents. The total number of valid questionnaires was 206, constituting a response rate of 68.6%. The descriptive analysis was used to explain demographic profiles of participants and current state of ecommerce adoption level. Multinomial Logistic Regression was used to test the research hypotheses. The research findings revealed that there are three different adoption levels of e-commerce by Jordanian travel agencies: e-connectivity, e-window and e-interactivity. The results showed that relative advantage, observability, business/partner pressure, uncertainty avoidance and government support were the significant predictors differentiating e-window from e-connectivity. Moreover, relative advantage, observability, financial barriers, power distance, business/partner pressure and government support proved to be significant predictors differentiating between e-interactivity and e-connectivity. It was also found that observability, competitive pressure, firm size and complexity were significant predictors differentiating between e-interactivity and e-window. On the other hand, the results showed that compatibility,trialability, employees’ IT knowledge, top management support, manager’s attitude, and customer pressure were insignificant predictors of any of the e-commerce adoption levels. Upon that, it can be argued with confidence that different levels of e-commerce adoption are affected by different factors. This entails the necessity of addressing the above ten significant predictors as they can be useful for managers, IT/web vendors and policy makers in drawing a roadmap and strategies for expanding the use and benefits of ecommerce adoption. Moreover, the conceptual framework of the study provide a best explanation of factors affecting e-commerce adoption levels in travel agencies as an example of SMEs, which contribute to the knowledge in the area of information systems particularly in the context of e-commerce adoption in developing countries.
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