Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Diane A. Mollenkopf, Daniel J. Flint

Committee Members

Theodore P. Stank, Chad W. Autry, Robert T. Ladd

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the phenomenon of cross-functional integration of frontline employees supporting complex marketing initiatives. This dissertation contributes to research and managers through the exploration of how integration takes place, how knowledge is integrated across functions through social ties between people, and to begin to inspect its effects on the performance of marketing strategies. Integration captures the state of collaboration and coordination between individuals within and between a firm’s functions. To date, cross-functional integration has been conceptually developed, but not empirically evaluated.

An extensive, multi-disciplinary literature review provides the foundation for understanding integration within the specific marketing context of shopper marketing. Shopper marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on the consumer in shopping mode, requiring integral collaboration between functions (specifically marketing-logistics) and supply chain partners (manufacturer-retailer) in order to meet shopper needs. The flow of information and knowledge from consumer-retailer-manufacturer is dependent on an integrated network of social connections. Based on literature and theory, this research contends that the social network contributes to cross-functional integration, creating shopper marketing effectiveness through operations execution.

This dissertation examines the phenomenon of integration in two manners. First, an exploratory study seeks to map the supply chain social network of a firm implementing shopper marketing initiatives. Employing social network analysis, mapping the flow of ties between actors in the network, offers insight into the flow of knowledge and information that might bolster/impede shopper marketing implementation. Second, a theoretical survey design tests the antecedents and consequences of cross-functional integration. The social network (connections between actors in the organization) concepts including relational embeddedness, socialization, and shared interpretation are explored as antecedents to cross-functional integration. The impact of cross-functional integration of individual performance is then tested as a measure of the service quality the frontline employee provides to retail customers. In short, these two studies will contribute to a holistic understanding of the supply chain management of shopper marketing through cross-functional integration and raise questions that should be addressed in future research.

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