Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Peter R. Dickson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Christos Koulamas

Third Advisor's Name

Kimberly Taylor

Fourth Advisor's Name

Barnett Greenberg

Date of Defense



This dissertation is a study of customer relationship management theory and practice. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business strategy whereby companies build strong relationships with existing and prospective customers with the goal of increasing organizational profitability. It is also a learning process involving managing change in processes, people, and technology. CRM implementation and its ramifications are also not completely understood as evidenced by the high number of failures in CRM implementation in organizations and the resulting disappointments.

The goal of this dissertation is_ to study emerging issues and trends in CRM, including the effect of computer software and the accompanying new management processes on organizations, and the dynamics of the alignment of marketing, sales and services, and all other functions responsible for delivering customers a satisfying experience.

In order to understand CRM better a content analysis of more than a hundred articles and documents from academic and industry sources was undertaken using a new methodological twist to the traditional method. An Internet domain name ( was created for the purpose of this research by uploading an initial one hundred plus abstracts of article~ and documents onto it to form a knowledge database. Once the database was formed a search engine was developed to enable the search of abstracts using relevant CRM keywords to reveal emergent dominant CRM topics. The ultimate aim of this website is to serve as an information hub for CRM research, as well as a search engine where interested parties can enter CRM -relevant keywords or phrases to access abstracts, as well as submit abstracts to enrich the knowledge hub.

Research questions were investigated and answered by content analyzing the interpretation and discussion of dominant CRM topics and then amalgamating the findings. This was supported by comparisons within and across individual, paired, and sets-of-three occurrences of CRM keywords in the article abstracts.

Results show that there is a lack of holistic thinking and discussion of CRM in both academics and industry which is required to understand how the people, process, and technology in CRM impact each other to affect successful implementation. Industry has to get their heads around CRM and holistically understand how these important dimensions affect each other. Only then will organizational learning occur, and overtime result in superior processes leading to strong profitable customer relationships and a hard to imitate competitive advantage.




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