Kreowanie wizerunku przedsiębiorstwa usługowego na rzecz budowania relacji w transferze technologii
Creating the image of a company rendering services for the purpose of building relationships in the technology transfer process
Zeszyty Naukowe SGGW, Polityki Europejskie, Finanse i Marketing, 2013, vol., nr 9 (58), s. 161-173
W niniejszym opracowaniu autor pragnie zaprezentować wielowymiarową rolę wizerunku przedsiębiorstwa, zwłaszcza w działalności o charakterze usługowym. W szczególności jednak stawia sobie za cel dokonanie wieloaspektowej oceny znaczenia wizerunku przedsiębiorstwa usług finansowych w procesie dokonywanego na jego rzecz transferu technologii. W związku z powyższym identyfikuje liczne potencjalne relacje, występujące w procesie transferu technologii na etapie jego inicjowania, przeprowadzania i finalizowania, a następnie ukazuje wpływ wizerunku przedsiębiorstwa na ich podejmowanie i podtrzymywanie. W konsekwencji uzmysławia, w jak dużym stopniu wizerunek przedsiębiorstwa usługowego warunkuje skuteczność absorpcji technologii. Ułatwia on bowiem nawiązywanie niezbędnych w tym procesie kontaktów oraz determinuje jakość i trwałość przewidzianych w nim proinnowacyjnych relacji. I to nie tylko z dawcami technologii, pośrednikami w transferze technologii czy innymi podmiotami jakkolwiek ten proces wspierającymi, ale także z klientami, którzy będąc bezpośrednimi odbiorcami efektów nowo wdrożonej technologii, decydują o ostatecznym sukcesie tego protechnologicznego przedsięwzięcia.
Nowadays we are functioning in a highly competitive environment in which societies are growing more mature and demanding. Therefore, the company’s image is becoming an essential factor in building proper relationships with the company’s customers. The image value is even bigger in services performing companies whose basic element of the market offer i.e., the service, is characterised by a relatively weaker strength of impacting the market, if compared with material goods. The company’s image, however, goes beyond the pro-market functions. It contributes to building and developing relationships with the company’s other stakeholders, such as, for instance, its investors, suppliers, prospective employees, financial institutions, or local governments. Also, the company’s image plays another crucial role in its pro-technological innovation activity and this aspect is discussed by the author of the present paper. The objective set is to perform a multidimensional assessment of the role of the company’s image in the technology transfer process that are to benefit financial services companies. Generally, the manner in which a company is perceived by other entities operating in its environment conditions the social and economic support given to its activities, including non-market ones, and this is how the conditions for its functioning are established. In the case of financial services companies, such features as reliability and trustworthiness appear to be an integral and indispensable constituent of their offer and may be perceived even as a necessary condition for their existence and for developing any relationships with them. Numerous relationships occur, among other things, in activities intended to benefit technology transfer which results straightforwardly from the multitude of potential subjects involved. These subjects may change into business partners or stakeholders. While analysing the technology transfer process and its success factors, the most important seem to be the relations occurring at its initialisation stage since the technology transfer process is deemed as effective only when its use brings the expected market and financial results. The company’s image, when conditioning the ease of starting and maintaining relationships with numerous entities being the source of indispensable knowledge, services and technologies, determines the fact of initialising technology transfers, in particular ones that are well-suited and innovative. For example, due to good reputation and trust obtained through the image, the company’s customers and suppliers are more willing to direct the demanded technological changes, subjects being the source of broad knowledge relevant to the technology and its sources of financing are more open to share it, intermediaries are more willing to provide their support, technology providers are more willing to undertake co-operation in the area of the transfer, financial institutions are more prone to finance undertakings, etc. However, it must be remembered that at the stage of initialising collaboration with new partners very cautious approaches are dominant and sometimes they take the form of a suspicion. Sympathy and, ultimately, trust are reached gradually and this is usually a lengthy process. It must be mentioned, however, that a company’s good reputation does help in that respect and, also, it diminishes the risk related to starting such collaboration. Since in technology transfers it is important to gain not only sheer technology but also to apply it in a way that enables the company to obtain a higher value than that of competitors, then building positive market relationships appears to be an important success factor of this undertaking. Good relationships held with customers due to the company’s positive image result in customers’ better understanding and favourite reception of the innovations being implemented. For example, less important and indistinct innovations seem to be more impressive and suggestive in companies which are well-known and are perceived positively. However, a higher degree of risk that is typical of completely original and radical innovations will be undertaken easier by those companies which are perceived by customers as powerful, modern and trustworthy. It is so because customers are inclined to trust more innovations which are introduced by such companies. Summarising the brief considerations of the role of the company’s image in the process of technology transfers to financial services companies, it must be stated that the image does play an essential role since it conditions the ease of making contacts indispensable in the process as well as the quality and the lasting character of the predicted pro-innovation relationships. Therefore, if, following W.M. Cohen’s and D.A. Levinthal’s concept, we accept the fact that the company’s absorptive potential is responsible for the efficiency of a technology transfer, then the capability of shaping the desired image should be acknowledged as an essential and integral part of its potential.