In search for the perfect KAM manager : Exploring both the buyer´s and the supplier’s view of valued personality traits in a KAM manager

University essay from Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Abstract: Background: KAM has received a lot of attention over the last decade, where organizations acknowledge the benefits, and choose to implement KAM programs within their companies. Research shows that the individual in a KAM manager role has a huge impact on the outcomes of KAM, crucially responsible for the relationships with the key accounts. Furthermore, there is a clear link between the selection of the right candidate in order to succeed with KAM, and the personality traits of a KAM manager.    Problem: Limited research has been carried out on the personality traits of KAM managers connected to the FFM, yet scholars indicate that the individual has a large effect on the outcomes of KAM. Also, few researchers study both the buyer´s and the supplier's side within KAM relationships, even though mutual benefits are an essential part of KAM.   Purpose: The purpose of the study is to identify if there is an existing mutual understanding between the buyer and supplier regarding valuable traits of a KAM manager to benefit KAM outcomes.    Method: The study utilizes a qualitative research approach, collecting primary data through six semi-structured interviews. The number of participants was equally distributed between buyers and suppliers, all experienced working with KAM. A thematic analysis was then used to analyze the empirical findings.     Conclusion: Based on the results, a conclusion is drawn that there is no mutual understanding between the buyer and supplier regarding valuable traits of a KAM manager. Aligning with previous research, all participants shared the view concerning the individual's importance in KAM, however having divided opinions about which personality traits would contribute to the valuable outcomes. The buyers emphasized the importance of structure and planning relating to the personality trait conscientiousness to optimize KAM outcomes, while the suppliers rather placed focus on aspects connecting to the personality trait extraversion.   

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