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Handbook of Strategic Account Management: A Comprehensive Resource by Diana Woodburn, Kevin Wilson

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Social and ethical concerns in strategic account management: emerging opportunities and new threats

by Nigel Piercy and Nikala Lane

Abstract

While ethical and moral issues have been widely considered in the general areas of marketing and sales, similar attention has not been given to the impact of strategic account management approaches to handling the relationships between suppliers and very large customers. These relationships are generally characterized by high levels of buyer–seller interdependence and forms of collaborative partnership. Observation suggests that the perceived moral intensity of these relationships is commonly low, notwithstanding the underlying principles of benefiting the few (large, strategic customers) at the expense of the many (smaller customers and other stakeholders), and the magnitude of the consequences of concessions made to large customers, even though some such consequences may be unintended.

Dilemmas exist also for executives implementing strategic account relationships regarding such issues as information sharing, trust and hidden incentives for unethical behaviour. We propose the need for greater transparency and senior management questioning of the ethical and moral issues implicit in strategic account management. Relatedly, we also give attention to the linkages between corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in business organizations and the imperatives of strategic marketing to compete effectively through creating superior customer ...

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