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Title: Knowledge management interactions for a customer centric strategy : the role of human and IT based interactions in understanding customers' needs
Author: Hazley, Colin Joseph
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2006
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My main contribution to knowledge is within the area of knowledge management. Specifically, my thesis demonstrates the importance of direct human interaction in the acquisition of tacit knowledge and also confirms the limitations associated with IT in this respect. Though previous studies have demonstrated the role of user involvement in the product development process and the role of customer relationships as a differentiator of products and services, the importance of customer interaction as a means of developing and maintaining an ongoing knowledgeable understanding of customers is a new and hitherto misunderstood area of knowledge. This thesis therefore helps to illuminate some of these darker areas of knowledge management. The key research questions being addressed in this thesis are: how do firms obtain a knowledgeable understanding of their customers, can IT -based knowledge management systems substantially advance such understanding and/or what practices and/or strategies are required to support this? Given that the purpose of this research is to uncover the reasons why, and mechanisms whereby, firms gain a well-informed, knowledgeable understanding of customers, a largely exploratory and qualitative approach has been adopted to conduct a case study on a large multinational manufacturing firm. The research has been structured and tackled in four parts. Part I reviews potential theoretical frameworks to help assess the case study company. Market Orientation and Innovation theory are then proposed and presented as the most suitable theoretical frameworks. The key research question addressed in this section is what is the relationship (if any) between market orientation, innovation and firm performance. Part II examines knowledge management theory and then establishes a frameworl< to assess ITbased knowledge management tools at the case study company. Since it was not possible to survey every aspect of IT in the case study firm (because CRM is not yet used) part IT also reassesses the CRM literature on success and failure of CRM systems before reaching conclusions. The research question tackled in this section is do IT -based knowledge management tools provide the ability to capture and exploit all types of knowledge (explicit and tacit). c Part ill examines the growing body of literature in the area of customer interaction and relationships (customer advocacy, customer understanding, relationship marketing etc). The key research question addressed here is how do companies gain a tacit understanding of customers and their markets. Finally, Part N utilises the theoretical framework established in parts I, II and III to assess the case study company. Based on the combined results of each assessment a consensus of opinion is reached, hypotheses are tested (to some extent) and conclusions made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available