The importance of customer-related knowledge as a source of competitive advantage has been addressed by several researchers during the last decade. However, only a little is known about the processes through which firms learn to know their customers organization-wide. In this article we propose that one possibility to study how firms process customer-related knowledge, and thus learn about and from their customers organization-wide, is to apply absorptive capacity construct originally developed in the context of innovation activities. By building on previous literature on absorptive capacity, customer knowledge management and relationship marketing, we introduce a conceptual framework of customer-related absorptive capacity, and discuss the external and internal antecedents to the construct. We propose that customer relationship performance could at least partly be explained by the capability of the supplier firm to acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit customer-related knowledge.
Salojärvi, Hanna and Sainio, Liisa-Maija, "Applying Absorptive Capacity Construct to Customer-related Knowledge Processing" (2006). ICEB 2006 Proceedings. 11.