Erfolgsfaktoren von Fachmedien : eine nutzerorientierte Untersuchung

  • Criteria for successful business media communication : a user-centred approach

Fesidis, Bita; Jakobs, Eva-Maria (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2012, 2013)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2012


In most industries, activities of professionals take place in highly information- and communication-based business contexts. Business professionals need expert knowledge to solve daily work tasks. Their performance and subsequent business success depend, among other factors, upon the quality of information products. Expert knowledge that results from business processes is key to gaining a competitive advantage and thus essential for innovative undertakings in our modern knowledge-based society. It is mostly business media (e.g. professional journals, b-to-b-websites, databases, e-learning applications) that support knowledge-based business processes. The thesis defines business media as communication patterns that provide information for professionals and support them in their respective vocational activities. Due to digitalization the market for business information is rapidly changing. Computer mediated solutions offer new ways to support professionals but at the same time, professionals’ work methods and needs undergo constant changes. However, on the market, new (digital) communication products are not per se successful. But, what are the conditions under which professionals accept and appreciate new (digital) business media? The thesis deals with business media as information and communication products used in professional contexts. It analyzes their criteria for success and explores "when" and "why" professionals evaluate business media positively (or negatively). The thesis examines which properties of business media are relevant for professionals and under which conditions and how (on which scale) professionals assess the quality of business media. The aim of the thesis is to gain insights that help develop new and innovative products by exploring evaluation criteria for current business media products. Following the assumption that evaluations can be reconstructed because of (linguistic) utterances, the study uses a linguistic, action-theory based evaluation concept. The research is based on an empirical collection of business media evaluations. It focuses on three distinct professional domains and occupation groups: architects, lawyers and medical doctors. The study focuses on written business media (e.g. print or digital products instead of oral communication patterns like seminars, consulting). The empirical survey is explorative and bases on qualitative, semi-structured in-depth interviews. To reconstruct business media evaluations, the data is analyzed qualitatively by content analysis. Furthermore, collected data about personal variables of the participants and their business context is analyzed. The results of the study show that business media evaluations follow from the complex interaction of various assessment criteria (their measurements) and other influencing factors. On the one hand, professionals evaluate business media because of external aspects like costs, characteristics of the producer and the brand. On the other hand aspects of material-technical implementation as well as internally given content-based properties and the communicative design are important. Factors influencing demands of professionals refer to the business and organizational context, the "work situation" (in a more narrow sense, e.g. working tasks) and individual aspects. The results show, among other things, that demands of professionals are foremost goal-oriented. As overall objectives two goals are summarized within the study: Professionals use business media to solve working tasks in operating processes and/or to develop professionally (education/training). Computer-based business media is particularly successful when they meet specific goal-oriented demands (compared to non-digital solutions). The results of the study emphasize the potential of digital solutions. It is their specific presentation formats that hold promise for the development of new, innovative products.