Designing Customer-Centric Organization Structures: Toward the Fluid Marketing Organization

George Day, The Wharton School, and Ju-Yeon Lee, Ivy College of Business

Abstract: Today’s marketing organizations face unprecedented turbulence and complexity. To anticipate and adapt to fast changing customer preferences and environments, executives seek to make their internal organizations nimble and agile by constantly developing, integrating, and reconfiguring new capabilities. Yet a holistic understanding of how a firm should design its organizational structures to execute such a capability-changing process is lacking. Drawing on a dynamic capabilities perspective and organizational theory, the authors develop a theoretical framework that identifies three customer-centric structural design factors that support dynamic capabilities and thus can produce a marketing organization that is able not only to anticipate and learn from the environment but also to transform resource bases. The authors also identify boundary conditions that allow these transformations to pay off more. Overall, this conceptual framework provides managerial guidance for how to build a fluid marketing organization.

Read the full working paper here (PDF).

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.