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Customer Knowledge Management at Komatsu Forest: A descriptive study with exploratory insights about the integration of knowledge from customers at Komatsu Forest
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In a world where the customer is highly demanding and where the only way for a company to succeed is to satisfy him, who better knows how to satisfy the customer than the customer himself? Facing this truth, we have recently seen the emergence of systems dedicated to customer knowledge management (CKM), which aims at always better satisfying the customer. If a firm aims at satisfying its customers, the value provided in the firm‟s market offerings should be the cornerstone of its strategy (Anderson, Narus and Narayandas, 2008). Companies recognize the importance of maximizing the value they intend to provide through two different perspectives: its internal management and its external orientation (Slater, 1997, p.164). Over the last fifteen years, we have seen a shift in companies‟ orientation. Internally, the role of knowledge inside organizations has become central, and externally the customer has been attracting most of the attention among business managers and academia. Providing higher value is more likely to be achieved in companies that have adopted a market orientation and develop processes with the aim to have an efficient knowledge-management. Customer Knowledge Management is the evolution of knowledge management and of the customer orientation of the firm, and is therefore a powerful way to generate more value for the customers. However, as it is a relatively new subject, it has been investigated in few industries, such as the software industry.We can therefore wonder if CKM is applicable in other industries, since the extent of research has been quite limited so far. Accordingly, we have decided to focus on a specific company specialized in forest machinery: Komatsu Forest. We have realized a qualitative research and followed the design of a case study in order to investigate how Komatsu Forest can integrate the knowledge from its customers in order to increase the value of its business market offerings. Hence, our research led us to study in depth the current use of CKM at Komatsu Forest and to investigate the possible formal implementation of practices in the future.The results of our research have shown that Komatsu Forest is able to integrate knowledge from its customers in order to increase the value of its market offerings. First, we have found out through our case study research that Komatsu Forest is actually already using informally some methods aiming at integrating knowledge from its customers. We have conducted interviews with key employees of Komatsu Forest, who have a function related to the use of inputs coming from customers. We have thus made a diagnosis of the actual situation of Komatsu Forest in regards of CKM.Then, from this basis and with the use of our empirical study, we have evaluated the possibility for Komatsu Forest to implement formally the different CKM practices we have identified in the literature review. We showed that Komatsu Forest have different ways to integrate formally knowledge from its customers in the short, medium and long terms in order to increase its market offering.Finally, we have also tried to make a theoretical contribution to the field of CKM by pointing out that most companies are between two important stages of their evolution in regards of CKM: the informal reaction to the need of using knowledge from customers and the formal implementation of CKM practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 110 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-45200OAI: diva2:427029
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-06-28 Created: 2011-06-27 Last updated: 2011-06-28Bibliographically approved

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Plougastel, Damien
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