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Enhancing Communication between Marketing and Engineering: The Moderating Role of Relative Functional Identification

Robert J. Fisher, Elliot Maltz and Bernard J. Jaworski
Journal of Marketing
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Jul., 1997), pp. 54-70
DOI: 10.2307/1251789
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1251789
Page Count: 17
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Enhancing Communication between Marketing and Engineering: The Moderating Role of Relative Functional Identification
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Abstract

Using research in social psychology, the authors illustrate how two key routes to improve communication between marketing and engineering are dependent on the strength of managers' psychological connection to their functional area compared to the firm as a whole (i. e., relative functional identification). In particular, they argue that relative functional identification moderates the relationship between strategies traditionally used to affect interfunctional relationships (information-sharing norms and integrated goals) and the frequency, bidirectionality, and coerciveness of interfunctional communication behaviors. In turn, these communication behaviors are linked to information use and perceived relationship effectiveness. The authors empirically test predictions of the framework in two studies. Study 1 results suggest that (1) the efficacy of the traditional strategies depends on marketing managers' relative functional identification and (2) the traditional strategies can have negative and unintended effects on communication behaviors. In Study 2, the authors replicate and extend Study 1 by illustrating that bidirectional communication is as important as frequency in increasing both information use by engineering personnel and the perceived effectiveness of interfunctional relationships. The authors conclude with implications for theory building and managerial practice.

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