Document Type



Doctor of Business Administration


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

George Marakas

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Manjul Gupta

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee chair

Third Advisor's Name

Miguel Aguirre-Urreta

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mido Chang

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Karlene Cousins

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


customer orientation, organizational change leadership, substantive grounded theory

Date of Defense



Organizational leaders are spearheading change as an engine to reshape corporate cultures for novel purposes, redefining the significance and meaning of generating value through customer-oriented companies, emphasizing what is most important and relevant to customers. Capitalizing on the value of customer-orientation entails attention toward continuously improving it. The purpose of this study is to explore and explain the dynamics of increasing customer-orientation as an organizational change in a business-to-business technology company setting from the perspective of organizational leaders.

By engaging change leadership experts through a grounded theory qualitative research approach, the study resulted in a substantive theory with a set of propositions and framework offering a contextual understanding of customer-orientation change for managerial and scholarly use. The results help advance multi-disciplinary marketing, leadership, and organizational change research associated with the customer-orientation definition and the nature of the leadership mechanisms to affect the change.

The resulting theoretical propositions suggest that the organizational change to increase customer-orientation encompasses an aspirational organizational culture shift, an amplification of short and long-term customer value, and continuous adaptation through a management system. The analysis revealed that leaders steer the complex change by adopting second-order organizational orientations involving organizational culture and customer value. The culture-oriented changes center around increasing organizational alignment, agility, and engagement to shape a customer-oriented company. The customer value-oriented shifts focus on building trust, applying a user lens, and creating a 360-learning environment to generate higher customer and business value. Using a change theories lens, the results indicated that increasing customer-orientation entails leading the organization through an interplay of diverse change process modes balancing social construction and prescribed regulation.





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