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

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

Handbook on Customer Centricity: Strategies for Building a Customer-Centric Organization, Robert W. Palmatier, Christine Moorman, and Ju-Yeon Lee, eds., pp. 108–132, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publications, August 2019.

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.