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Abstract

The purpose of the present study is to describe the use of two focus groups to identify and refine a set of questionnaire items. They were also used to provide descriptions of lived experiences and to realize the importance, or not, of the use of Vending Machines in the university context. Vending Machines consumer students from different areas of knowledge participated on a voluntary basis (economics and management areas define the fist group, and engineering and marketing the second group). Based on the data collection and analysis it was possible to identify the attributes of vending machines that are important on both marketing and operations management in the performance of this type of machines. The participants, despite having lived bad experiences, consider their involvement useful, important, advantageous, necessary and interesting. Performance, efficiency, level of service, flexibility and availability for the needs of consumers were also identified.

Keywords

Focus Group, Vending Machines, Qualitative Analysis, Consumer Involvement

Author Bio(s)

Telma Santos Fernandes is a professor of secondary education and teaches disciplines such as management and control or technological education. She is also a trainer in the areas of management and mathematics. She completed a master's degree in operations management from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Lusíada University - North, Portugal. She developed her research work involving the area of operations management and marketing in the vending business using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Telma Fernandes at, telmamsantos@portugalmail.pt.

Ângela Silva is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Technologies, Lusíada University - North, Portugal, and an Invited Professor at the School of Engineering, University of Minho. She holds a PhD in Engineering of Production and Systems from School of Engineering, University of Minho. She develops her research work in the R&D CLEGI and collaborates with the Algoritmi Centre in operations management and logistics and also modelling and simulation of processes. Currently she supervises PhD and MSc projects in these areas, being the co-author of several scientific papers published in international journals and conferences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Ângela Silva at, asilva@fam.ulusiada.pt.

Raquel Reis holds a PhD in Marketing from the University of Sheffield, UK. She is the Marketing Director of Cenertec - Centro de Energia e Tecnologia since 1998. She is a trainer and consultant in the marketing and communication areas. She was an Assistant Professor from 2009 to 2015, at Lusíada University and at IPAM - The Marketing School - Laureate International Universities, where she was also Director of the Master in Marketing Management (2014-2015). She is a reviewer of the Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, EMAC, and the Academy of Marketing Conference. Her research Interests include Relationship Marketing, Social Responsibility and Qualitative Methodologies. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Raquel Reis at, raquel.reis@ipam.pt.

Celina Pinto Leão is an Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering, University of Minho, Portugal. She holds a PhD in Engineering Science from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto. She develops her research work in the R&D Algoritmi Centre in modelling and simulation of processes and using statistical techniques (quantitative and qualitative approaches) in engineering. Recently, she is interested in the use of statistics in the field of Occupational Safety and in Engineering Gender studies. She supervises PhD and MSc projects in these areas, being the co-author of several scientific papers published in international journals and conferences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Celina P. Leão at cpl@dps.uminho.pt.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the University of Minho and to all the participants who accepted the challenge to collaborate in this study (students). The authors are also grateful for the national funds made available by FCT Strategic Project PEst2015-2020, reference UID/CEC/00319/2013.

Publication Date

4-30-2016

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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