Date of Award:

5-2010

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Management Information Systems

Advisor/Chair:

David Paper

Abstract

This work elaborates the impacts of strategically constructed silos that are not byproducts of flagging cross-departmental cooperation or the cumulative effect of decades of decentralized command and control. Rather, these silos are strategically intended structures within organizations. Most significantly, the substantive theory of strategically constructed silos and their impact on customer service contributes to the field by illustrating the presence and consequence of silos occurring in suboptimal conditions. The existence of silos has implications that extend far beyond the retail area.

A key take-away from this research is that contrary to how most customer service processes are designed, not all customer-company interactions are alike. As shown in the data, interaction types vary both in regard to the degree of knowledge needed by retail employees to fully serve customers, and the routine or nonroutine nature of the interaction. This is an important finding since it directly relates to whether the existence of a silo is appropriate (or optimal) for a specific interaction or task. Additionally, the findings suggest the role that a task's "routine-ness" plays is secondary to the degree of specialized knowledge needed by retail employees to meet customer expectations.

Understanding the various customer-company interaction types and how each interaction type may be affected by silos is crucial for designing customer experiences that will sustain over time. Likewise, identifying customer-company interaction types correctly and then subsequently developing strategies to support these interaction types is critical for both customer experience management (CEM) initiatives and customer relationship management (CRM) system design within the company. This work provides an overview of the implications of strategically constructed silos occurring in suboptimal conditions and provides recommendations for diagnosing customer-company interactions based on interaction type. By identifying strategically constructed silos as an intended structure of the company, the model elaborated here works to deliver prescriptive and specific strategies for managers and employees' use as they attempt to improve their firm's customer-company interaction outcomes.