Boundary Work and Customer Connectivity in B2B Front Lines

Author(s): Jagdip Singh, Detelina Marinova, and Steven P. Brown

Excerpt from the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing (Edited by Gary L. Lilien, Distinguished Research Professor of Management Science, The Pennsylvania State University and Rajdeep Grewal, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, US). Complete book available at

To build long-term customer relationships, salespeople play a critical boundary-spanning role that can be an inimitable source of competitive strength. A key characteristic of such roles is the boundary work that salespeople perform to develop strategies and tactics to manage their interfaces with customers. The purpose of this chapter is to motivate development of boundary role theory that responds to emerging realities of boundary work and stimulates an organizing framework to germinate new directions for theory and practice. Specifically, the chapter’s objectives are twofold. First, the chapter provides a focused review of the boundary role research in B2B contexts. Second, the chapter describes features of boundary work that demand a strategic perspective and rethinking of the premises of contemporary boundary role theory.
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