E-Commerce as Knowledge Management: Managing Consumer Knowledge
Rachel McLean (Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, UK) and Nigel M. Blackie (University of Salford, UK)
Copyright © 2008.
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This chapter constructs the concept of e-commerce as knowledge management. The socially constructed approach to knowledge management is adopted. Through qualitative research, rooted in the Social Constructionist-Critical Theory paradigm, the chapter examines how consumers use the Internet in commercially related activity. Through semi-structured interviews with consumers three main themes are identified and explored (interaction with commercial organizations, consumer-to-consumer interaction, power and control in business-to-consumer interaction). The chapter concludes that the Internet facilitates the construction and sharing of knowledge amongst consumers, but appears to strengthen barriers and boundaries between consumers and companies. An illustration of how companies could effectively utilize the Internet to communicate with customers is offered in an analysis of a discussion forum.