The Role of an Online Community in Relation to Other Communication Channels in a Business Development Case

44 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2009 Last revised: 27 Apr 2009

See all articles by Masamichi Takahashi

Masamichi Takahashi

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.

George Herman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Atsushi Ito

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.

Keiichi Nemoto

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.

JoAnne Yates

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: April 9, 2009

Abstract

We investigated how sales representatives (Salespeople) and members of a service business development department (the Service Dept.) communicated within an informal online community, particularly in relation to their use of other informal and formal communication channels. We found that while the Service Dept. developed formal communication channels in order to fulfill the information needs of Sales, some types of information were apparently more effectively provided by the online community. The result suggests that an online community may play an important role both in making visible information needs, and in providing information that can't be better provided by the formal organization.

Keywords: online communities, sales

Suggested Citation

Takahashi, Masamichi and Herman, George and Ito, Atsushi and Nemoto, Keiichi and Yates, JoAnne, The Role of an Online Community in Relation to Other Communication Channels in a Business Development Case (April 9, 2009). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4731-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1375681 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1375681

Masamichi Takahashi

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. ( email )

6-1 Minato-mirai, Nishi-ku
Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-8668
Japan

George Herman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Atsushi Ito

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. ( email )

430 Sakai,Nakai-machi
Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa 259-0157
Japan

Keiichi Nemoto

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. ( email )

430 Sakai,Nakai-machi
Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa 259-0157
Japan

JoAnne Yates (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

MIT E52-544
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-7157 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

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