The organizational implications of implementing key account management: A case-based examination

Paolo Guenzi, Kaj Storbacka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Most companies struggle in the effort to become more customer-centric. A typical example of customer-centric change initiative is adoption of a key account management (KAM) program. Companies are increasingly adopting such programs, but knowledge of how to successfully manage the organizational change required to implement them is extremely limited. Our goal in this study was to use case study methodology in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of organizational issues that firms need to consider when implementing a KAM program. We accordingly describe, using as our observational lens a well-established framework (the 7S model), how a multinational company adopted a KAM program in a local branch. We argue, on the basis of our review of the literature on KAM adoption and on change management in sales organizations, that the 7S model can be used to meaningfully synthesize both processes. Using the 7S model, we describe and interpret the change management project the company followed in order to implement the KAM program. Based on this we present some key learnings from the case, accompanied by a conceptual model and a checklist, advanced to help academics and executives better understand how to investigate and manage KAM adoption programs.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)84-97
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • KAM
  • Change management
  • Case study
  • 7S model


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