• The student obtains insight into the scientific theories and empirical findings regarding webcare;
• The student is able to perform an analytical and critical evaluation of scientific literature about webcare;
• The student is able to apply theories about webcare on cases from practice, and to take in a position in the debate of the use of webcare in practice;
• The student is able to formulate a webcare strategy in which scientific theories and empirical findings are applied.
• Students are able to synthesize and apply theories in the field or fields relevant to the course. They are able to study independently and to evaluate current
research and advanced scholarship in a critical manner.
Ten years ago, the term ‘webcare’ didn’t even exist. Nowadays, everybody knows ‘webcare’ is the online communication of organizations to stakeholder messages, mostly through social media. Practically every large organization has a webcare team or department, where people are monitoring the web (whom are talking in which sentiment about our organization/products/services?) and responding to those questions, complaints and compliments. One of the main goals of webcare is damage control: to prevent an issue leads to an organizational crisis or to (try to) keep the consequences of a crisis under control. Other webcare goals are to strengthen the company’s reputation, build a band with (potential) customers and to engage in conversations. Providing customer service is a function of webcare as well.
Managing webcare is a continuous process of monitoring online messages from stakeholders (electronic word-of-mouth), responding to those messages and measuring the effects of such interventions. Webcare has become more and more a topic of interest in scientific research. There have been a number of experimental studies in which the effects of specific webcare interventions are examined. But it is still unclear which determinants play a role in this process and which (psychological, linguistic, interpersonal) theoretical models can be related to the phenomenon of webcare.
In this course, the webcare environment will be explored on the basis of scientific literature, case studies and assignments.
Examination: individual paper (50%), group assignment (40%), group presentation (10%).
In the individual assignment, research master students write a literature review and develop a conceptual model regarding determinants of corporate online intervention strategies. More specific, the literature review has an interdisciplinairy role and builds a bridge between existing webcare literature and theories and insights of other disciplines (such as linguistics, interpersonal communication, conversation analysis, computer mediated communication, human-computer-interaction).
In the group assignment, students conduct a content analysis on eWOM messages and webcare responses for a specific case from practice. Based on the findings, students write a research report and formulate an advice to improve the company’s webcare strategy.
As a part of the interactive seminars, each seminar consists of discussions about recent developments in the field of eWOM and webcare. These trends and developments will be discussed and these discussions will be led by a group of students (3 or 4 persons). Each discussion takes about 20 minutes. The discussion will be graded (group presentation).
This course is for Research Master students only and is based on the content of a corresponding master course. For an overview of the Research Master electives and the names of the corresponding courses see the conversion list on the RM Canvas page. The requirements for passing the course are slightly different for Research Master students. Research Master students do a tailor made assignment or exam that emphasizes the research component. Please introduce yourself to the lecturer at the start of the elective course and discuss the details. The lecturer will know about the differences in requirements for Research Master students and other students.
Students address the learning objectives through a tailor made assignment or exam. This assignment/exam should comprise 10 - 40 % of the final grade, depending on the exact nature of the tailor made exam. The remaining 90 - 60% % of the grade will be based on the grade the Research Master student receives for the ‘regular’ exam or assignment(s) (i.e. the tasks regular master students also need to do), or an equivalent thereof. To pass the Research Master course a student needs to pass both the tailor made assignment or exam and the regular master assignment or exam.
- During the course, 25 to 30 scientific articles will be studied. Those articles are findable via the online library or distributed by the lecturer. Some key topics: electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), opportunities and threats of online communication by organizations, webcare as a tool for customer service, marketing and reputation management, determinants of webcare, linguistic aspects in webcare