Performance implications of the direct and moderating effects of centralization and formalization on customer orientation

Seigyoung Auh, Bulent Menguc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on the control literature in marketing and management, this paper addresses the direct and moderating effects of control mechanisms on the formation and implementation of customer orientation. The key focus of this paper is to examine how two of the most widely studied control mechanisms - centralization and formalization - affect customer orientation formation and implementation differently. We hypothesize that centralization will reduce the effect of the formation and implementation of customer orientation. In contrast, we expect formalization to negatively influence the formation of customer orientation but bolster the impact of customer orientation on firm performance. Furthermore, we hypothesize a three-way interaction among customer orientation, centralization, and formalization on firm performance. Using top management team (e.g. CEO) data from leading firms in the industrial production sector, our results support the universal negative role of centralization on customer orientation formation and implementation. For formalization, our results did not support a negative effect on the development of customer orientation, but supported a positive effect on the implementation of customer orientation. Finally, customer orientation was found to have a positive effect on firm performance when a decentralized organization was coupled with formalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1022-1034
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume36
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Centralization
  • Control theory
  • Customer orientation
  • Formalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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