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How customer requests may lead firms astray: conceptual issues and an empirical illustration

Geir Sogn‐Grundvåg (Department of Strategy, Economics and Marketing, Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, Tromsø, Norway)
Kjell Grønhaug (Department of Management and Strategy, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore how responding positively to requests from customers may lead firms astray, a neglected topic in past research.


The paper utilizes a single case, describing how a business enterprise responded positively to a request from a customer, leading to a substantial, yet, from an economic point of view, unsuccessful investment in new technology. Based on this case, relevant questions regarding the reasons for the failure are posed and analysed.


Findings indicate that responding to customer requests is inherently difficult which can be explained partly by cognitive bias, misperceptions regarding the nature of adopting new technology, and inappropriate planning practices. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


This paper aims to improve the understanding of why responding to customer requests may lead to failure. In addition, advice is offered regarding how firms can reduce the probability of the type of failures discussed here.



Sogn‐Grundvåg, G. and Grønhaug, K. (2008), "How customer requests may lead firms astray: conceptual issues and an empirical illustration", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 496-507.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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