عوامل محیطی موثر بر مدیریت حساب های کلیدی در زمینه خاورمیانه عربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21547||2014||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10640 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Available online 20 February 2014
Within the sales and marketing literature, it is recognised that a range of external factors can influence how companies in the business-to-business field manage business relationships within national and across international borders. However, there have been very few studies that explore the influence of the external environment on key account relationships, especially within the context of emerging economies. This study draws on the network approach and contingency theory to identify and highlight the influence of external environmental factors on the management of inter-organisational relationships with key customers in emerging economies in the Arab Middle East region. It is based on an extensive qualitative enquiry that utilises 50 in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted in Jordan with endogenous and Western firms. It concludes that key account practices within an Arab context are shaped by a number of contingencies that are embedded in broader institutional contexts and the business environment, which may challenge the adoption of company-wide universal key account management policies across borders.
Since the mid-1980s, customer relationship management has been significantly affected by a number of significant changes in the business environment. Intensified levels of competition in most markets and subsequent selling costs for suppliers; growing customer concentration arising from increased mergers and acquisitions; increased centralised purchasing; customer demands for more services and better communication; the increased desire to develop partnerships; wide geographic dispersion of buyers for the same company; increased sophistication of buyers; maturity of business markets in most developed countries; improvements in information and communication technologies; and the adoption of active strategies by large buyers to reduce the supplier base to cut costs have forced companies to adopt and develop key account management strategies to increase their competitive advantage (Davies and Ryals, 2009, Ivens and Pardo, 2007, McDonald et al., 1997, Ozegovic and Sarac, 2012, Sharma, 2006, Tzempelikos and Gounaris, 2013 and Weilbaker and Weeks, 1997). Consequently, Key Account Management (KAM) has become a strategic and popular process of selling, in business-to-business marketing that has gained increased importance for suppliers worldwide (Gosselin and Bauwen, 2006, Guenzi et al., 2009, Guenzi et al., 2007, Homburg et al., 2002, Pardo et al., 2006, Salojarvi et al., 2010, Sharma, 2006, Wengler et al., 2006, Wong, 1998, Wotruba and Castleberry, 1993 and Zupancic, 2008). More specifically, KAM can be understood as a relationship-oriented marketing management approach which focuses on dealing with major customers in the business-to-business market (Ojasalo, 2001). KAM can also be thought of as a strategy to retain and develop closer relationships with the firm's most valued and important customers (Davies and Ryals, 2009, Georges and Eggert, 2003, Gosselin and Heene, 2000 and Natti and Palo, 2011). Key accounts or key customers are the most important customers for supplier organisations, and are usually given special consideration. McDonald et al. (1995, p. 9) define a key account as ‘…a customer deemed to be of strategic importance by the selling company’. The literature indicates that the nature of KAM and the formation of key account programmes are not only influenced by a number of internal/organisational factors, but also by external/environmental factors (Homburg et al., 2002). The external environment may be referred to as the forces that are beyond the selling firms' capacity to control, and which influence the formation of the key account programme and strategies (Jones, Dixon, Chonko, & Cannon, 2005). These include competitors and the market environment such as characteristics of customers, demand concentration, purchasing centralisation and purchasing complexity, the nature of the product and product complexity, technological, ethical and regulatory forces (Brehmer and Rehme, 2009, Wengler et al., 2006 and Workman et al., 2003). However, relatively little attention has been paid to the influence of these environmental/exogenous factors on KAM dimensions and relationships (Fletcher and Fang, 2006 and Homburg et al., 2002). Furthermore, there is relatively little research on KAM in emerging and developing economies (LDCs) and, in particular in the Middle East region and the Arab World, as opposed to the developed economies (Al-Husan & Brennan, 2009). These gaps in the literature are problematic, for it is clear that multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly expanding their operations in emerging and developing countries (United Nations, 1993 and United Nations, 1997). Secondly, the region is strategically important, given its central geographic location, market size and large oil reserves (Budhwar & Mellahi, 2007). The aim of this paper is to fill these gaps by exploring the environmental contingencies that influence the design and implementation of KAM in an Arab context. This paper is divided into five main sections. In the first section, a brief review is provided on the debate concerning key account management. The second goes on to consider how KAM relationships are contingent upon the embeddedness of firms within the broader environment and institutional context. The third section outlines the research methods utilised. The fourth section reports the key findings obtained from the interviews. Finally, a concluding section draws together the key points emerging from the study and considers their implications for the existing debate relating to the management of key accounts.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This article used data from 50 semi-structured interviews in Western and indigenous companies to identify and understand the factors that influence the design and implementation of key account management programmes and practices in an Arab context where there has been a dearth of research. The findings extend the sales and key account management literature and the transfer of practices literature in international marketing by providing empirical evidence of the way in which “external contingencies” impact on the design and implementation of KAM. Inter-organisational relationships are a product of a number of factors including the intensity of competition and ownership structure; product and customer complexity; Western influences on education and business; and institutional and cultural influences. Such factors also had implications for the degree to which multinational companies were able to transfer their KAM practices. Factors such as Western education and business knowledge developed over time through repeated social and business interactions with Western partners. The intensity of competition and ownership were pushing for “convergence” through standardisation and the adoption of universal practices through the transfer of western KAM practices, while factors like government regulations and economic policies, and wasta, stemming from the ‘institutional void’ ( Khanna & Palepu, 1997), tribal mentality and cultural influences were pushing for “divergence” and the adaptation of local KAM practices. As a result of the dynamic interaction of these different contingency factors, the findings indicate and confirm what may be termed ‘constrained convergence’ (Muller, 1999) or ‘crossvergence’ (Ralston, 2008). There were some similarities and convergence, particularly along the formal/organisational aspects of KAM in terms of the activities carried out, the resources utilised and the actors involved in the management of KAM. At the same time, there was divergence and marked differences in terms of the informal aspects of KAM. Consequently, the findings challenge the view that KAM can be “rolled out” into any international context. Furthermore, the findings support the IMP Groups view that the social/relational dimension of business relationships is not only important but also crucial for managing key account relationships successfully in an Arab context. 5.1. Managerial implications This study makes a valuable contribution to practice because it illuminates the way for expatriates and foreign MNCs to establish relationships and to implement KAM in the Arab World. The study showed the importance of wasta (personal networks/connections), which reflects the tribal mentality of Arab nations that gives priority to family and kin and in-group members over organisational objectives ( Branine & Analoui, 2006). This implies that to manage key accounts effectively in an Arab context, it is essential to focus on having the right connections first, rather than to focus on activities and the benefits of the products and services offered to business partners, as in the West. Having the right connections is also vital to gain the trust that is necessary before proceeding with any business interaction. 5.2. Limitations and future research The study is limited to operations in one emerging country situated in a novel setting in one particular region of the world — the Middle East. Given that there is a lack of research in KAM in Arab and emerging economies, there is substantial scope for conducting comparative studies in the Middle East region and other emerging economies to adequately explore the important features of KAM in different contexts, and the factors that shape their implementation processes and approaches. At the same time, the study can be used as a reference point for comparison with other countries in the region and other emerging economies.