Call for Papers: Consumers and Internet Studies: a Workshop

Call for papers for a Workshop on ‘Consumers and Internet Studies’

Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (UOC) and Oxford Internet Institute

Barcelona, Spain (10th January 2011)


William H. Dutton, Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford


Inma Rodriguez-Ardura, Associate Professor of Marketing, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, or UOC), and Visiting Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford


The Internet has become a motor of change in the relationships of consumers with business and industry. Internet users have new opportunities to enhance their power as consumers. They may obtain information regarding an immense range of relevant goods and services and benefit from the enormous possibilities available to participate in social networks, express their opinions on brand names, access independent sources of expertise, and interact and dialogue with firms and other service providers. They can play an active role in marketing communication processes and participate much more in the development and consumption of products. For their part, the Internet – including the processing systems used to manage great masses of consumer data – allow businesses to define and develop marketing proposals that are more precise and more closely matched to their customers. In sum, the new possibilities offered by the Internet make possible advanced forms of exchanges and interactions within which consumers, businesses and other service providers collaborate in the creation and reproduction of the market.

This potential of the Internet to transform the marketing and commercial environment could spawn a field of research within the larger arena of Internet Studies. Early research related to the Internet-based consumer focused on obtaining user profiles and on the segmentation of online consumers. However, as use of the Internet as a marketing channel increased, resulting in its wider use as a purchasing medium, subsequent research became centred on a plethora of questions directly related to the consumer, such as the factors influencing the consumer’s involvement in purchasing behaviours; online consumer satisfaction and loyalty; trust in purchase decisions on the Internet; consumer affairs and protection; as well as the adaptation of classic theories and models to explain online consumer behaviour. In addition, with the emergence of the applications of social networking and the thrust of recent proposals in business sciences – such as, for example, new service-dominant logic and Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM), a new wave of studies has emerged. New studies examine the forms in which the Internet empowers the consumer; exploring the new routes for co-creation of value and for participation on the part of the consumer in processes of innovation and in the generation of content; evaluating the impact of personalization practices tied to CRM programmes and to the new forms of interaction; and, finally, examining the relationship with the brand in virtual communities. A closely related area of research is focused on analyzing the institutional framework of online consumer protection.

Two Internet research centres (the Oxford Internet Institute and the IN3-UOC) are organizing this workshop, with the aim of facilitating further exploration of the terrains and standing of Internet Studies focused on aspects of the consumer and consumer behaviour, and of providing direction for enhancing its substance, significance and impact. The workshop is the second in a collaboratively organized series, intended to support the development of Internet Studies through critical analyses and perspectives from a number of internationally recognized scholars and researchers along with younger colleagues, whose research promises new insights and perspectives.

Subject Coverage

We will invite a small number of speakers from academia and industry, but also invite proposals for contributions from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives, such as consumer behaviour, business sciences, media studies, psychology, economics, political science and other approaches, applied to study of the Internet and the consumer.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Critical perspectives on the growing body of research into the Internet and the Consumer, which help to define the state of this field, its dynamism, and the critical areas in need of clarification and further research.
  • Insights into the main contributions made in the research on the online consumer to the larger domain of ‘Internet Studies’, in terms of new theories, data and methods.
  • Comprehensive overviews of key issues in Internet Studies on the Consumer -such as, for example flow, trust, eCRM, brand communities, co-creation and empowerment, which include major findings and directions for further research.

Submission information

Prospective presenters will be asked to provide an extended abstract/outline of no more than 1,500 words of their paper. Abstracts may be submitted in PDF (.pdf, preferred) or Word (.doc) format. The deadline for submissions is 10th December 2010.

Organizers and Notes

You may send one copy in the form of an PDF or an MS Word file attached to an e-mail to the following:

Prof. Dr. Inma Rodríguez-Ardura

Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, visiting the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom e-Mail: inma.rodriguez-ardura[at]

with a copy to:

Prof. Dr. William H. Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom e-Mail: william.dutton[at]

Please include in your submission the title of the workshop.

Comments are most welcome