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The role of senior executives in managing key customers in Arab context

Fawaz Baddar ALHussan (Université Catholique de Lille IESEG School of Management (LEM UMR CNRS 9221), Lille, France)
Faten Baddar AL-Husan (University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)
Lulu Alhesan (Business School, Middlesex University – Dubai Campus, Dubai, UAE)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of senior managers in managing intra-and inter-organizational relationships with key customers and the factors that influence such involvement in a novel context in the Arab Middle East region.


An exploratory qualitative research design was used in which 68 face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted in Jordan with endogenous and Western firms.


Top/senior managers play a significant role in Arab business relationships and in creating value for the firms. Their involvement in key accounts is imperative at all levels – strategic, operational, and relational – mainly due to cultural and institutional factors that are unique to the Arab context.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to operations in one emerging country situated in a novel setting in one particular region of the world, which is the Middle East.

Practical implications

Arab senior managers’ participation is imperative and should continue with their relatively intense involvement with key accounts. For foreign investors operating in that part of the world, it is highly recommended that senior management have a more a hands-on approach when dealing with the Arab key customer and to focus more on the relational aspect of key account management than on the organizational aspect.


This paper adds to the very limited number of studies on senior management involvement in key account management, making a theoretical and practical contribution and adding insight on how to manage the relationship with the Arab key customer.



This research has been partially funded by IESEG Centre on Negotiation – ICON.


ALHussan, F.B., AL-Husan, F.B. and Alhesan, L. (2017), "The role of senior executives in managing key customers in Arab context", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 825-835.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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