An evaluation of structural, strategic and cultural dimensions in global account management relationships

  • Holger Herbert Richard Wendt

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Market globalisation has led globalised companies and corporations to increase focus on synchronised and centralised business operations management to enjoy new and apparently boundless opportunities for growth and profit. The role of supplying companies as partners who provide globally consistent, coordinated and competitive support has been commonly recognised. However, supply base consolidation, increased bargaining power and imposed global competition have increasingly shifted power to the buyers. In order to reinforce balanced and sustainable business dyads, this thesis addresses global account management (GAM), one of the most discussed paradigms within recent sales and customer relationship management literature.

    Besides this fact, academics and practitioners still struggle to fully capture the dynamic and complex nature of GAM, not least due to the high degree of internal and external interdependence. Hence, the presented work followed an interdisciplinary aggregation of knowledge in the area of key account management (KAM), GAM and corporate culture. Further, best practice mixed-methods research contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of the interrelations and corresponding factors that determine suppliers’ success within global business relationships.

    Against this background, the case of a globally leading automotive supplier with long established and sophisticated GAM structures was analysed to gain exclusive primary research insights and add to the existing knowledge base. Thereby King’s (1998) template analysis technique found use to evaluate data from 21 semistructured interviews across operational, management and executive experts from global customer organisations (GCOs), supporting the development of a conceptual, novel and unique global account management performance model: the GPM. Moreover, to cope with the boundaries of purely qualitative research, structural equation modelling based on 199 data sets from an international online survey added to the refinement, statistical validation and generalisation of the findings.

    Through this process, the concept of structural, strategic and (corporate) cultural fit between global suppliers and customers have been revealed as key domains of the GPM, influencing relational and financial GAM performance outcomes. Subsequently, the contributions of the presented thesis are manifold: First, they extend the scope of current GAM performance models, as the GPM provides a more comprehensive view on structural and strategic aspects traditionally in the focus of GAM research. Second, they supplement prior account management research with empirical confirmation and complement earlier work in the field of corporate culture by illuminating the role of corporate culture for the first time in an international business context. Third, the study outcomes provide exclusive evidence for raising customer awareness of suppliers’ culture and cultural compatibility and explicitly outline cultural fit as a critical performance moderator of global account management.

    This study therefore offers new perspectives on performance determinants of GAM. Academics benefit from original theoretical and practical insights into the underlying mechanisms of global supplier-customer relationships and the GPM enables decision makers to build stronger relationships with a wider range of individual, multi-national and global customers.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorRichard Anderson (Supervisor)

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