An identity perspective of key account managers as paradoxical relationship managers

in Industrial Marketing Management, 89

Pardo, Catherine (19..-....) ; Ivens, Björn Sven ; Niersbach, Barbara

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Managing business to business (B2B) customer relationships has become an issue of ecosystem orchestration rather than one of managing a dyadic exchange. A systemic perspective of managing B2B relationships thus recognizes that many more actors than the buyer and the seller are involved. This is particularly the case when it comes to the management of strategic customers. Key account (KA) managers coordinate resources and activities of an important number of varied actors. Therefore, the issue ... of possible tensions occurring between these numerous and different types of relationships managed by KA managers can legitimately be raised. Yet, the question of how KA managers can actually manage such situations has rarely been addressed. This study proposes to use the notion of identity to investigate this issue. Identity is defined in relation to the question of how to relate to others. Our qualitative empirical study shows that KA managers develop a specific identity built on a specific way of managing paradoxes.

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