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Exploring the Role of Public Relations in the Diffusion of E-Grocery Services - A Practitioners’ Perspective

Vogelgesang, Eva LU (2018) SKPM08 20171
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract (Swedish)
Despite its recent growth, the European online grocery business is struggling to secure broad consumer acceptance. Previous research has linked the slow diffusion of e-food commerce mostly to factors at the individual level of innovation adoption. As a result, the role of change agents, i.e. those professionals who try to influence how well an innovation is taken up in a system, has been grossly neglected. Grounded on Rogers’(1983) diffusion of innovations theory and Anthony Giddens’ (1984) theory of structuration, this study conceptualises public relations practitioners as potential change
agents and explores the role of public relations in e-grocery diffusion. A total of 13 qualitative interviews with practitioners from Germany,... (More)
Despite its recent growth, the European online grocery business is struggling to secure broad consumer acceptance. Previous research has linked the slow diffusion of e-food commerce mostly to factors at the individual level of innovation adoption. As a result, the role of change agents, i.e. those professionals who try to influence how well an innovation is taken up in a system, has been grossly neglected. Grounded on Rogers’(1983) diffusion of innovations theory and Anthony Giddens’ (1984) theory of structuration, this study conceptualises public relations practitioners as potential change
agents and explores the role of public relations in e-grocery diffusion. A total of 13 qualitative interviews with practitioners from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the UK, was conducted to uncover how these experts perceive barriers to the spread of such services, and how they work to communicatively support the processes inherent in and necessary for online grocery diffusion. The results indicate that the practitioners in this study had a sophisticated understanding of the factors thwarting e-grocery success, but displayed a tendency to individual-blame thinking and overlooked social and hedonic shopping needs. There was also evidence that they took on the change agent role by building networks among relevant stakeholders, managing fears of change, and building understanding of and trust in Web-enabled grocery businesses. Overall, however, these potentials were restricted by a lack of organisational resources and the dominance of marketing over the public relations function. Consequently, some issues interfering with e-grocery diffusion remained insufficiently or entirely unaddressed. Taken together, these findings suggest that public relations can be a key driver for the spread of innovations, while simultaneously offering a supply-side explanation for why diffusion processes may get stuck, i.e. when change agent efforts are limited. (Less)
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author
Vogelgesang, Eva LU
supervisor
organization
course
SKPM08 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
E-Grocery, online grocery, public relations, diffusion of innovations
language
English
id
8936818
date added to LUP
2018-05-24 09:13:24
date last changed
2018-05-24 09:13:24
@misc{8936818,
  abstract     = {Despite its recent growth, the European online grocery business is struggling to secure broad consumer acceptance. Previous research has linked the slow diffusion of e-food commerce mostly to factors at the individual level of innovation adoption. As a result, the role of change agents, i.e. those professionals who try to influence how well an innovation is taken up in a system, has been grossly neglected. Grounded on Rogers’(1983) diffusion of innovations theory and Anthony Giddens’ (1984) theory of structuration, this study conceptualises public relations practitioners as potential change
agents and explores the role of public relations in e-grocery diffusion. A total of 13 qualitative interviews with practitioners from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the UK, was conducted to uncover how these experts perceive barriers to the spread of such services, and how they work to communicatively support the processes inherent in and necessary for online grocery diffusion. The results indicate that the practitioners in this study had a sophisticated understanding of the factors thwarting e-grocery success, but displayed a tendency to individual-blame thinking and overlooked social and hedonic shopping needs. There was also evidence that they took on the change agent role by building networks among relevant stakeholders, managing fears of change, and building understanding of and trust in Web-enabled grocery businesses. Overall, however, these potentials were restricted by a lack of organisational resources and the dominance of marketing over the public relations function. Consequently, some issues interfering with e-grocery diffusion remained insufficiently or entirely unaddressed. Taken together, these findings suggest that public relations can be a key driver for the spread of innovations, while simultaneously offering a supply-side explanation for why diffusion processes may get stuck, i.e. when change agent efforts are limited.},
  author       = {Vogelgesang, Eva},
  keyword      = {E-Grocery,online grocery,public relations,diffusion of innovations},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Exploring the Role of Public Relations in the Diffusion of E-Grocery Services - A Practitioners’ Perspective},
  year         = {2018},
}