The appropriateness of the key account management organization

by Stefan Wengler


Key account management programmes often lack efficiency and effectiveness, as most key account management organizations are inadequately designed for specific customer–supplier relationships. In this paper, a decision model based on transaction cost economics is developed that allows for individualized decisionmaking on the most appropriate key account management organization: by defining the transaction cost economics determinants uncertainty and frequency in more detail companies will become able to refine their decision on the key account management organization alternatives with respect to the characteristics of their individual customer–supplier relationship.

Inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of key account management programmes

Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, key account management (KAM) has belonged to the most popular concepts in marketing management, which suggests serving important customers specifically (Weitz and Bradford 1999), i.e. differently from ‘ordinary’ customers. Over the years, research in KAM has predominantly focused on the objectives and structure of KAM (Kempeners and van der Hart 1999; Pardo 1997; Shapiro and Moriarty 1982, 1984a/b), the selection of key accounts (Gosselin and Bauwen 2006; Napolitano 1997), and only recently on performance issues in KAM (Boles et al. 1999; Homburg et al. 2002; Ivens and Pardo 2007; Pardo et al. 2006). The economics of KAM, ...

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