Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics
How to do Big Business in Pandemic? An Exploratory Study on Effect of Computer-Mediated Communication on High-Level Business Development
Petra Sofia Horňáková, Tereza Kicková
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) took on a whole new dimension during Covid-19. During the pandemic, many people were forced to work via online platforms, and some of these people were performing their jobs almost exclusively in face-to-face communication environments prior. One specific group is Senior Business Development Managers who are responsible for handling large strategic businesses, particularly relationship-based businesses. This study focuses on key aspects of CMC in the context of developing these relationship-based businesses in light of the situation during the pandemic. This study also aims to discover how Senior Business Development Managers reconciled the pros and cons of CMC in their work, and how the sudden change in communication channels affected their ability to perform their work successfully. The research was conducted with regards to social interpretative epistemology. We utilized a purposeful sampling method and recruited eight senior business development managers. They were interviewed and presented with open-ended, semi-structured questions. The central questions were “how did you communicate with clients over the past two years?” and “how did you perform your business development activities over that time?”. Interviews were conducted in accordance with the problem-centred interview method, which made it possible to combine both inductive and deductive approaches. We then used thematic analysis to interpret the data; we coded and analysed it in MAXQDA software. During the analysis, we identified five major themes. These were: (1) communication cues: strong preference for audio(visual) communication (2) attention: difficulty in retaining attention across digital mediums; (3) “manipulation”: establishing rapport with client to navigate discussion to navigate the discussion; (4) insecurity: hesitancy to divulge sensitive information over digital mediums; and (5) experiential information: useful information gleaned from the client workplace. These were the main themes whereby even the most experienced Senior BDMs experienced difficulties over CMC.
keywords: computer-mediated communication, CMC, business development, B2B business, COVID-19 .