Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

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COMMUNICATION – A PLATFORM FOR MUTUAL MESSAGE EXCHANGE

Bertil Lind

Abstract


Information is available and all around us as never before. At the same time we experience changes – changes that has a great impact on the whole society, companies and institutions as well as on individual human beings. But changes is nothing new. Already Herakleitos told us panta rei – everthing is floating. The changes today occur however more rapidly than before. The production life cycles are shorter and many companies experience that the information about their products soon becomes outdated. That makes it necessary to find communication channels that facilitates frequent contacts between providers and customers. During the last decade information technology has provided us with new possibilities for communication. Using the Internet companies can reach customers all over the world just as easily as the next door neighbour. Internet has thus changed the communication pattern and also opened a global target area for the companies. Also customer behavior has been greatly influenced by information technology. Previously customers were more dependent on initiative from the vendor where the vendor sent messages to the customer. The vendor was thus active and the customer had a more passive role. The customer was in that way exposed to vendor activities without any possibility to escape or defend himself or herself. Today the situation is different. The relationship between vendor and customer is regarded from another perspective where the customer has a more active role. It is the customer who has the power to decide when and what to buy and from what vendor. In this way the initiative is to a great extent transferred from the vendor to the buyer. The role of the vendor is to make his or her merchandise available to the customer and expose the products and their qualities to the customer. Communication between the vendor and the customer could thus be seen as taking part on a kind of arena where the vendor puts messages for the customer to take up or leave at his or her discretion. Nevertheless most communication models do not picture that aspect. They tend to be more related to the previous perspective whith an active vendor and a passive buyer. The purpose of this paper is to look further into the character of vendor-customer communication and to evaluate some contemporary communication models in relation to such communication. Using this evaluation the paper presents and argues for models that are built on a communication between vendor and customer taking place on an arena where messages are displayed and picked up.

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