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  • Public defence: 2017-05-12 10:00 Q221, Östersund
    Eriksson, Maria
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.
    Customer value in commercial experiences: Expecting the unexpected2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    To an ever greater extent, customers desire experiences that are highly emotional, personally designed and memorable. Today’s customer has an increasing need to be entertained and often searches for pleasurable offerings of hedonic value. Many academics also argue that commercial experiences deliver a higher customer value than goods and services. More research regarding the character of the commercial experience is needed to understand the needs of the customer and what creates value to the customer. However the existing tools and methods for measuring customer value and customer satisfaction seldom contain the elements pointed out as important to customers in a commercial experience. Is it enough to focus on values, methods and tools developed within for instance Total Quality Management (TQM) or is there a need for further development to include the offering of a commercial experience?

     The overall purpose of this thesis has been to explore the field of commercial experiences and establish new knowledge on how customer value is created when delivering commercial experiences. Within the overall purpose the research also intended to contribute to the area of quality development. In order to fulfill the overall purpose three research questions were asked and three case studies and one validation study were conducted. In the first case study, focus was on exploring the commercial experience sector and searching for best practices as regards how to create value to the customer. One organization was studied and empirical data was collected by site visit, direct observation, participant observation, open seminars, follow-up interview questions and documentation. In the second case study the aim was on how organizations were working to create customer value in commercial experiences. Empirical data was collected at eight organizations where top managers were interviewed. In the third study the aim was to develop a method or tool to measure customer value in a commercial experience. A validation study and a case study were conducted. In the validation study a questionnaire was developed as a measuring tool for commercial experiences and later tested on customers in the third and last case study.

     The findings in the three case studies presented in this thesis contribute to expanding earlier research concerning commercial experiences and how customer value is created when delivering them. From the findings of research the commercial experience is defined as “a memorable event that the customer is willing to pay for” and identified as a unique business offering providing hedonic customer value. Further the findings describe the commercial experience by three vital factors: strong engagement, highly emotional and being memorable. To additionally describe the characterizing elements of the commercial experience, the research identified these factors as important to customers: having fun, novelty, surprise, learning, a challenge, co-creation, the unexpected, storytelling, being in control, the venue for the experience (or the room of the experience), personal contact with staff and emotions creating strong engagement. Using the theory of attractive quality by Kano is suggested as one way to recognize elements of high customer value and to identify and deliver the unexpected, novelty and surprise the customers.

     Further findings of the research revealed that existing tools and methods developed for measuring customer value and satisfaction do not sufficiently consider or measure the effect of customer emotions or the characterizing elements of the commercial experience. As a consequence, a questionnaire was developed and tested to identify and measure elements of value to customers in a commercial experience. From the results, a new instrument for measuring variables of value in a commercial experience is proposed. One of the conclusions is that a specific tool for measuring customer value in commercial experiences is both required and needed. It was also concluded that there is a shortage of well-known and applied methods for measuring customer value in commercial experiences and that further research of this area is needed.

     The research presented in this thesis also proves that successful organizations delivering commercial experiences have a strong organizational culture built on core values. The conclusion was that working according to the core values of TQM is also a successful approach for these organizations, even though this does not seem to be enough. The characterizing element “co-creating” the experience between the customer and the provider was identified as a vital factor of business success. Giving the customer the power to affect the outcome within certain limitations and an opportunity to enhance the customer value meant that the experience becomes more personal and delivers a higher customer value than other offerings. Further identified ways of working to enhance customer value in the offering were: to recruit and select co-workers not only on competence and skills but also based on the core values; to stimulate creative thinking among co-workers and to further enhance the offering with storytelling and theming. These ways of working were categorized as specific and more unique or necessary in the experience industry and can therefore be vital in the competition between different organizations to deliver superior customer value.

  • Public defence: 2017-05-19 10:00 E409, Sundsvall
    van Vliet, Marja
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences.
    Integrative Medicine in the Dutch healthcare system: prerequisites and tools for implementation2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Integrative Medicine (IM) is a care approach that focuses on the overall well-being and healing process of patients rather than solely on their disease. IM educates and empowers people to be active players in their own care, emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, and makes use of all appropriate evidence-based approaches. The health-oriented foundations of IM are in line with the recently posed concept that describes health as ”the ability to adapt and to self-manage”. Due to the shared underpinnings of both IM and the new concept of health, incorporation of this new concept of health may serve as a facilitator for the development and implementation of IM. From a practical viewpoint, working from an integrative care approach requires specific competences from healthcare providers, such as socio-communicative and self-reflective skills, and reflexivity towards a holistic perspective on health. Previous studies have shown that a Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) course can potentially foster these competences among future healthcare providers. This thesis intended to gain increased insight into the prerequisites and tools for implementation of IM. Therefore, in the first part it aimed to explore the attitudes and practice of IM among Dutch nurses and the support for the new dynamic concept of health as ”the ability to adapt and to self-manage” among main stakeholders within the Dutch healthcare community. Furthermore, in the second part it aimed to evaluate the possibilities of an MBM course among medical and nursing students as a tool to foster an integrative care approach.

    Methods Both quantitative and qualitative research designs were used. Attitudes and practice of IM were assessed in a semi-structured survey study among 355 Dutch nurses (study I). Support for the new concept of health was explored in a mixed method study, where in the first step data from interviews and focus-groups among 140 stakeholders were investigated by use of manifest content analysis, and in the second step a cross-sectional survey was performed among 1938 stakeholders to verify the findings of the first step (study II). The MBM course was evaluated by a controlled, quasi-experimental intervention study (74 participants / 61 controls among medical students and 47 participants / 64 controls among nursing students) in which validated questionnaires were used (study III). Furthermore, in-depth interviews with 11 medical and 15 nursing students were employed and analysed by a Phenomenological Hermeneutical method to obtain an in-depth understanding of the meaning of the MBM course for the participants (study IV).

    Findings Study I showed an overall positive attitude towards IM among nurses. Patient-centeredness and a focus on individuals’ own resources and responsibility to promote health met the most support among both nurses and other stakeholders. These elements were considered to be the main positive aspects of the new dynamic concept of health among stakeholders as well (study II). Use of evidence-based and safe complementary therapies and a healing environment received some support from the nurses, but lack of knowledge and lack of evidence seems to hinder further incorporation in the current healthcare practice (study I). Additionally, study II revealed that health was perceived to comprise six dimensions: bodily functions, mental functions & perception, spiritual / existential dimension, quality of life, social and societal participation and daily functioning. In line with patients, nurses had a more broad conception of health in comparison to other healthcare professionals. Study III showed long-term beneficial effects of the MBM course on two dimensions of empathy (personal distress and empathic concern) among medical students, and on perceived stress and empathy (personal distress) among nursing students. Study IV brought forth that the MBM course can be understood as a pathway to inner awareness and a support to connecting with others as well as the outside world. The following themes were identified: “ability to be more present”, “an increased perception and awareness of self”, and “connecting on a deeper level with others”.

    Conclusion It can be concluded from the results in the first explorative part of this thesis that the observed positive attitudes and perceptions among healthcare professionals toward IM and the newly proposed health concept can serve as important facilitators for further implementation of IM within the Dutch healthcare system. Furthermore, the increased ability to deal with stress, improved empathic abilities and more openness toward different perspectives on health and new treatment options among medical and nursing students following a MBM course, as reported in the second part of this thesis, suggest that this course might be a suitable tool to foster an integrative care approach among future healthcare professionals.

  • Public defence: 2017-06-02 10:15 E409, Sundsvall
    Eliasson, Nina
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Science Education and Mathematics.
    Att kommunicera skolans naturvetenskap: ett genusperspektiv på elevers deltagande i gemensam och enskild kommunikation2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Both individual and whole class communication of students are described in this thesis, which is based on a clear gender perspective. Two articles describe the participation of boys and girls in communication with the whole class, the empirical data collected consisting of videotaped lessons. The extent to which boys and girls participate in the communication is reported in the first study, and in the second the extent to which boys and girls respond to the teacher's closed or open questions about science is presented. The third study reports boys' and girls' individual communication when responding to written science questions. The summary chapter ties the results together from the perspective of Positioning Theory, making the thesis a result of Mixed Methods Research.

    Results show that boys participate in whole class communication more often than girls, with approximately the same level of dominance as shown in research from the early 80s. Boys also answer more questions than girls, the differences becoming apparent when teachers ask closed questions that can be answered in one or two words. In isolation, girls answer written questions to the same extent as boys, but give longer responses containing a more developed scientific language.

    Results showing that boys position themselves as knowledgeable more often than girls when teachers ask closed questions, are explained from the perspective of Positioning Theory. Girls more often position themselves as knowledgeable when teachers ask open questions that require reflection. In test situations, with time for reflection, the boys and girls position themselves as knowledgeable students to the same extent.

    Teachers need to be aware of the positioning attempts created by teaching, and consequently take into account that different approaches in teaching provide boys and girls with different access to the communication space.