Customer product returns – feedback and knowledge management

Alena Klapalová (Department of Corporate Economy, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Publication date: 15 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to provide a multidimensional understanding of the management of feedback from customer product returns and the management practices that lead to the occurrence of product returns in the context of knowledge management. The characteristics of product returns indicate that to manage them requires specific knowledge management, as the nature of their management is rather complex.


Understanding of feedback concept for the purpose of product returns avoidance management and its linkages with knowledge management through the theoretical review was performed first. Second, soft systems methodology (SSM) to analyze the very complex situation, as the product returns present, provided the conceptual framework for empirical research. The principles and best practices of SSM were followed and an analysis of documents together with the theoretical knowledge of feedback, product returns and knowledge management served as the basis for the action research.


The research highlighted the importance of knowledge management (even in a rather simple form) for the solution of the problematic situation and underlined the necessary interconnections between different areas of business processes management and the need to manage knowledge. It also showed that product returns act as important feedback for the whole organization.


This paper is the first attempt to apply current knowledge of the feedback construct into the knowledge and product returns management. It is also the first attempt to apply SSM to product returns management.



Klapalová, A. (2019), "Customer product returns – feedback and knowledge management", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 149-164.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.