Bottom-up Learning in Marketing Frontlines: Conceptualization, Processes, and Consequences



Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, November ed., vol. 40, pp. 821-844, November 2012


This study proposes a frontline learning process by which organizations capture new knowledge generated by frontline employees in addressing productivity-quality tradeoffs during customer interactions, and transform it into codified knowledge for widespread organizational use. Codified knowledge, in turn, is posited to influence customer satisfaction and financial outcomes (i.e., revenue, efficiency). Empirical testing with multisource data reveals that: (a) knowledge articulation mediates the transformation of knowledge generated in the frontlines into codified knowledge, (b) codified frontline knowledge positively impacts customer and financial outcomes, and (c) frontline employee workload inhibits the transformational process unless it is at an intermediate level (inverted U-effect) while employee goal convergence bolsters it linearly.

Jagdip Singh