The aim of the thesis is to uncover and explore how Danish coworking spaces can increase their customer retention rate by fostering identification among their members. Existing research indicates that despite their rapid expansion, coworking spaces are characterized by high customer turnover due to increasing competition and low switching costs of the members. At the same time, relative to other types of companies, coworking spaces have more avenues through which they can access their customers and interact with them, lending credence to the fostering of member identification as a potentially viable strategy for customer retention. Despite its apparent relevance, both customer retention and identification in coworking spaces remain understudied areas. With the above as motivating factors, the current study seeks to fill this gap in the research and make the first steps towards examining the ways in which identification functions in the coworking space context, as well as its potential viability as a customer retention strategy. The study answers the research question by applying qualitative research methods in the form of an exploratory multiple case study. By constructing a conceptual framework based on prior theories of consumer-company identification and identity communication within organizations, the study develops a framework with which the fostering of customer identification can be analyzed from a top-down perspective. Thus, the conceptual framework captures the ways in which identity-relevant content is communicated through ‘saying’, ‘showing’ and ‘staging’ by the identity custodians of coworking spaces with perceived identity attractiveness and customer embeddedness being the constituents of the identification process in members being influenced. The findings from the multiple case study point towards the relative importance of ‘embeddedness’ – the creation of sustained and meaningful relationships between the customer and the company – in the identification process, while uncovering a variety of ways in which coworking spaces create and maintain these relationships through ‘saying’, ‘showing’, and ‘staging’ of the identity. The study also suggests that identification is more likely to occur in among smaller companies and freelancers rather than larger companies. The data also reveals a need for further research to evaluate the efficiency of fostering identification as a customer retention strategy vis à vis other options.
|Uddannelser||Cand.soc.oie Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|