Sinkovics, Rudolf; Penz, Elfriede; Molina-Castillo, Francisco-Jose
Handbook of Strategic e-Business Management (2014). Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication year: 2014


Social, cultural, political and technological forces have significantly transformed the competitive landscape of the global economy. Amongst these forces, technology has arguably had the most rejuvenating impact on the way international businesses interact with each other and their customer base. End-users are making use of computer-mediated communications, newsgroups, chat rooms, email list servers, personal World Wide Web pages and other online formats at an unprecedented pace, and as they share ideas and obtain information about products and services, firms are extending their market research activities to these domains. These new tools, online communities, virtual communities and virtual worlds have emerged as a fascinating and useful pool of collective experience for international business. However, the utilization and analysis of this body of knowledge for international business decisions is still in its infancy. This paper analyzes the potential of these tools to inform international business decisions. We explain how to identify and access each of these communities, and how to convert the qualitative information available from online communities into a strategic input for the firm.