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Creating market knowledge from big data: Artificial intelligence and human resources

Time: Wed 2020-04-22 09.00

Location: Vid fysisk närvaro eller Du som saknar dator/ datorvana kan kontakta (English)

Subject area: Industrial Economics and Management

Doctoral student: Jeannette Paschen , Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Opponent: Professor Dr. Stefanie Paluch, RWTH Aachen University

Supervisor: Professor Esmail Salehi-Sangari, Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

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The abundance of social media use and the rise of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) has given rise to big data which offer great potential for enhanced market knowledge for marketers. In the literature, market knowledge has been associated with positive marketing performance. The literature also considers market knowledge as an antecedent to insight which in turn is a strategic asset that can yield a sustained competitive advantage. In summary, market knowledge is important due to its relationship with performance and as a pre-requisite to insight.

Market knowledge (as an outcome) results from market knowledge creation processes which encompasses the activities to create market knowledge. Market knowledge is created by integrating resources, specifically information technology and human resources.

With respect to information technology, the unique characteristics of big data - volume, variety, veracity, velocity and value (the five V’s) - make traditional information technologies ill-suited to turn big data into information and ultimately market knowledge. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been discussed as one important information technology for creating market knowledge from big data. The literature suggests that AI is having a profound impact on the creation of market knowledge from big data and calls for more research on understanding the value potential of AI.

Regarding human resources, the primacy of human contributions to the creation of market knowledge has been established in the literature. However, scholars and practitioners alike suggest that AI will change the nature and role of human contributions to creating market knowledge. The literature also suggests that the aspect of AI and human resources in market knowledge has not been adequately studied to date.

Hence, the research problem in this thesis is formulated as “How do marketers create market knowledge from big data using artificial intelligence and human resources?” This research problem is addressed via five research questions (RQs):

RQ 1: How does artificial intelligence contribute to creating market knowledge from big data?

RQ 2: How does artificial intelligence impact the creation of market knowledge from big data and what are the implications for human resources?

RQ 3: How do artificial intelligence and human resources interact in creating market knowledge from big data?

RQ 4: What are the mutual contributions of artificial intelligence and human resources in creating market knowledge from big data?

RQ 5: What are the contributions of artificial intelligence and human resources to different activities in creating market knowledge from big data?

The research in this thesis encompasses two studies and three papers. The three papers are published or forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals. The research adopts an interpretivist paradigm and follows a qualitative research approach. The findings provide three key contributions to the body of knowledge and to theory. First, this thesis provides a non-technical understanding of what AI is, how it works and its implications for market knowledge, thus addressing a gap in the marketing literature.

Second, this thesis posits that AI is a resource that meets the criteria of being 'valuable', 'rare', 'in-imitable', and 'organized' (VRIO) postulated by resource-based theory (RBT). The value of AI as a resource occurs in transforming big data into information and also AI transforming information into knowledge. Human resources are an important capability that improve the productivity of AI as a resource. This thesis provides empirical evidence that the nature of contributions offered by AI as a resource and human capabilities differ and explains how they differ.

Third, this thesis contributes to resource-based theory. It proposes a conceptual model and puts forward five propositions regarding the relationship of AI as a resource, human capabilities and market knowledge. This model and the propositions can be tested in future scholarly work.

This thesis opens with a chapter providing an introduction to the research area, followed by a literature review, a methodology chapter and a chapter discussing the findings and contributions to theory and practice, and outlining opportunities for future research. The papers and studies underpinning this thesis are presented in the last chapter of this thesis.