This article argues that tight linkages with customers present a paradox for the firm. The research question of this study is: What is the behavioral and cognitive process by which a firm establishes close links with its customers, and how can this process be both beneficial and detrimental? Existing theory and data from apparel retailers suggest that firms forge these tight links by enacting their customer environment. In the process of enactment, cognitions and actions reinforce each other and become increasingly focused. The tight coupling generated through enactment comes at the price of increased commitment and restricted vision. The author argues that firms should balance the natural process of tight coupling with a deliberate effort at loose coupling, and draws implications for further research on the organization‐environment interface. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Strategic Management Journal – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2003
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