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

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Organizational structures in global account management

by George Yip and Audrey Bink

Abstract

The key elements of global account management organizational structure include the global general manager, global steering committee, global account manager, global account team, information management, executive sponsorship, local account managers, global reporting structure and customer councils. Although the organizational structures of GAM programmes can take a multitude of forms, all of them are variations of three basic approaches, each of which strikes different balances between global integration and local (or national) autonomy. We call the three Coordination GAM, Control GAM and Separate GAM.

Introduction

The organization structure of the global account management (GAM) programme forms the bedrock of the total GAM effort. But there is, of course, no one best way of organizing GAM, as the right structure depends on the company and its situation. This article will describe the various elements that make up a GAM organization. We will also discuss the three major forms of GAM organization, along with their benefits and possible pitfalls.

While there is a large literature on strategic account management (SAM), there is a much smaller one about GAM and even less on GAM organizational structures. GAM research probably started with Yip and Madsen's (1996) article with five case studies. Most recently, Shi et al. (2010) have provided both a full conceptual framework and empirical test. ...

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