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Account manager turnover and the influence of context: An exploratory study

Vafeas, Mario

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Mario Vafeas
Professor in Applied Marketing


© 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the contextual factors that influence the impact of account manager turnover on the client–agency relationship, an under-researched area of relationship management literature. Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach and one-to-one interviews are used to conduct the exploratory study, analysing client–agency relationships within the UK design industry. A conceptual framework covering individual and organisational characteristics is used to examine the contextual factors impacting account manager turnover. Findings – The findings identify both organisational and individual contextual factors that influence the outcome of turnover. Categorized into three core contexts (client-specific knowledge, multiple relationship ties and turnover process management), factors such as agency structure and culture, agency knowledge management policies and client experience were all found to impact on account manager turnover. Research limitations/implications – This small, qualitative, exploratory study suggests the need for further research to investigate the transferability of the findings to a broader range of organisational types and industries and to highlight additional contextual factors that influence the impact of turnover. Practical implications – Account manager turnover does not necessarily mean the end of the client–service firm relationship. Agencies can create contexts that mitigate the potential negative effects. Small firms appear to have advantages inherent in their size, but larger firms can take steps to emulate some of the conditions found in micro firms. Originality/value – This paper adds to the limited number of studies into account manager turnover, making a theoretical and practical contribution, enabling marketing managers to take steps to ensure staff turnover does not result in client switching.


Vafeas, M. (2015). Account manager turnover and the influence of context: An exploratory study. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 30(1), 72-82.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 3, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 28, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Journal Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Print ISSN 0885-8624
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 72-82
Keywords client, agency, turnover, relationships, account manager, professional business services
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Article for JBIMv3.doc (195 Kb)

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