Kauppakorkeakoulun julkaisuportaali
Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulun gradujen tiedot nyt Aaltodocissa: Aaltodoc-julkaisuarkisto
Kauppakorkeakoulu | Kielten ja viestinnän laitos | International Business Communication | 2009
Tutkielman numero: 12082
The structure and function of a car industry homepage: a genre approach
Tekijä: Kärkkäinen, Vilma
Otsikko: The structure and function of a car industry homepage: a genre approach
Vuosi: 2009  Kieli: eng
Laitos: Kielten ja viestinnän laitos
Aine: International Business Communication
Asiasanat: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; autoteollisuus; car industry; media; media; internet; internet
Sivumäärä: 84
» hse_ethesis_12082.pdf pdf  koko: 3 MB (2469856)
Avainsanat: Internet, commercial homepage, commercial website, online communication, homepage structure, webpage structure, web-mediated genres
1. Objective of the study The objective of this study was to analyze company homepages from a genre perspective to gain some new knowledge of the general guidelines for online communication. The pages of three car companies were analyzed from structural and communicational points of view. To narrow the sample down, a focus on two countries – Finland and the U.S. – was taken, thus altogether six homepages were exposed to closer inspection. The chosen car manufacturers were BMW, Ford and Toyota. More specifically, the aim of the study was to answer three research questions: 1. What are the key functions of a company homepage? 2. How is a company homepage structured? 3. How is modern technology utilized on a company homepage?

2. Methodology and theoretical framework The method used in this study was a qualitative analysis consisting of a detailed structural analysis and an analysis informed by genre theory. Screenshots of the case pages were acquired on March 25th 2009 and the core of the analysis was based on them. However, as the Internet is not a static medium, some parts of the analysis had to be conducted using live, online pages. The theoretical framework is largely based on a model created by the Belgian online research and consulting agency InSites and presented by De Pelsmacker, Geuens and Van Der Bergh (2001). The framework gives the website genre – and more specifically the homepage genre – a central role encapsulating communication and technology. The four elements from the InSites model – content, design, browsing and interactivity – were thus categorized under communication and technology and analyzed through these concepts.

3. Findings and Conclusions The selection of the case pages and entities was made anticipating both variety and similarity. It seems, however, that the car industry in the western countries is so globalized and homogenized that at the end the six pages showed more similarities than differences. Through these similarities a general structure could be drafted, which consisted of five different elements: logo, navigation bars, dominating picture with links, secondary pictures with collection of links and general generic text-links. These elements can also be seen to correspond to the move structure of genre theory. A commercial homepage has three main functions: to deliver news, to build and maintain company image and to introduce the website. The third function was discovered as the core function of a company website, while the other two seem to operate as supporting functions. Technology acts in a two-folded role on commercial homepages: it enables a wide variety of functions but at the same time it limits the communication process through the specific nature of web literacy. Ultimately, a company homepage firstly acts as a guide to the website and secondly, as a company business card online.
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