Identification as a challenge in key account management : Conceptual foundations and a qualitative study

in Industrial Marketing Management, 90

Peters, Leonore ; Ivens, Björn Sven ; Pardo, Catherine (19..-....)

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Managing business relationships requires that boundary-spanning actors, such as key account managers, perform their task at the interface between two relational networks, the internal firm network and the network on the side of the key account. Several streams of research have suggested that similar situations raise questions of identification, but the business-to-business literature has not yet paid much attention to this issue. This study focuses on key account management (KAM) as a typical ... task of inter-organizational interface management. The conceptual foundations of identification in a sales-related interface context, such as KAM, are first discussed. It then pursues with a qualitative exploratory study that uses data gained through 40 semi-structured interviews with key account managers to identify their identification anchors. The qualitative data suggest four identification foci, namely organizational identification, key account identification, leader identification, and occupational identification, which are illustrated in a conceptual model. The study concludes with a discussion and avenues for future research.

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