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How do marketing communications influence nanotechnology sensemaking in B2B sales?

DEAN, ANDREW,KRISTOFFER (2016) How do marketing communications influence nanotechnology sensemaking in B2B sales? Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Making sense of technology products is a challenge faced by B2B actors, and one that is particularly acute for high technology products. Sitting in the isthmus between organisations are sellers and buyers who predominantly communicate through talking to position themselves as legitimate sources of knowledge to facilitate selling and buying, while often experiencing identity-based tensions. Research gaps from extant studies show limited investigations examining how sellers and buyers discursively negotiate high technology sales related to their identities to more easily make sense of these often-misunderstood products. This study therefore considers these aspects through the exemplar of nanotechnology, which is regarded as an ambiguous, opaque and complex collection of products, capable of triggering a need for sensemaking, based on the use of marketing-based spoken communication. Throughout this study, respondents who undertake nanotechnology selling and buying within UK companies (SMEs and MNEs) are engaged with via in depth semi-structured interviews. Using an interpretivist case study approach, discourse analysis is used to unpick social structures relating to selling and buying, as the respondents ‘see’ and discursively construct them. Three main themes are drawn out of this study. The first is the importance of a centralised scientist role identity to guard against the stigma of carrying out marketing activities, where respondents can be quasi-legitimised scientists engaged with selling and buying, while discursively negotiating how to construct these activities. Many sub-themes of power, othering and internal contradictions are explored for this and other main themes. The second theme highlights the potential for using spoken interpersonal marketing communications as a vehicle to induce homophilous discourse, resulting in shared meaning, where sense can be made more easily for complex product functionalities and identities legitimised/delegitimised. The third theme indicates how product simplification and linguistic tools, drawing on cultural references such as science fiction metaphors and militarism can aid in sense given and made between sellers and buyers. Drawing these themes together suggests how the scientist role identity is centrally enacted alongside minor identities of the marketer, seller or buyer to aid in sense giving and sensemaking for high technology products through spoken discursive cultural resources.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Sensemaking; Nanotechnology; B2B; Discourse; Scientist.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Nov 2016 11:02

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