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Journal cover: Journal of Knowledge Management

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks


Document Information:
Title:Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks
Author(s):Alton Y.K Chua, (Based in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Snehasish Banerjee, (Based in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Citation:Alton Y.K Chua, Snehasish Banerjee, (2013) "Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 17 Iss: 2, pp.237 - 249
Keywords:Brick-and-mortar business, Business enterprise, Customer knowledge management, Knowledge management, Netnography, Social media
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/13673271311315196 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors wish to acknowledge Erika Foo, Louise Lai, Helena Lee and Jacquelyn Wang for their roles in collecting part of the data used in this research. Received 11 October 2012. Revised 3 January 2013. 8 January 2013. 10 January 2013. Accepted 10 January 2013.
Abstract:

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to analyze the extent to which the use of social media can support customer knowledge management (CKM) in organizations relying on a traditional bricks-and-mortar business model.

Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses a combination of qualitative case study and netnography on Starbucks, an international coffee house chain. Data retrieved from varied sources such as newspapers, newswires, magazines, scholarly publications, books, and social media services were textually analyzed.

FindingsThree major findings could be culled from the paper. First, Starbucks deploys a wide range of social media tools for CKM that serve as effective branding and marketing instruments for the organization. Second, Starbucks redefines the roles of its customers through the use of social media by transforming them from passive recipients of beverages to active contributors of innovation. Third, Starbucks uses effective strategies to alleviate customers' reluctance for voluntary knowledge sharing, thereby promoting engagement in social media.

Research limitations/implicationsThe scope of the paper is limited by the window of the data collection period. Hence, the findings should be interpreted in the light of this constraint.

Practical implicationsThe lessons gleaned from the case study suggest that social media is not a tool exclusive to online businesses. It can be a potential game-changer in supporting CKM efforts even for traditional businesses.

Originality/valueThis paper represents one of the earliest works that analyzes the use of social media for CKM in an organization that relies on a traditional bricks-and-mortar business model.



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