The integration of marketing and logistics functions : an empirical examination of New Zealand firms
Successful businesses recognise the importance of developing competitive advantages. One source of competitiveness for the firm is the development of an integrated relationship between the firm's marketing and logistics functions, as this integration has the ability to further enhance the firm's customer focus. The objective of this research is to contribute an understanding of the factors operating in the firm that are associated with the integration of marketing and logistics functions. A "Marketing-Logistics Integration Model", derived from the functional integration pillar of the marketing concept, is developed to investigate 10 hypotheses related to these factors. This model is tested in more than 450 New Zealand firms. Multiple Regression Analysis identifies which strategic, operational, and structural factors are associated with marketing-logistics integration in the firm. This research reveals that strategic management, through top management emphasis on integration and the creation of mutual goals between the functions, is one of the most critical factors operating in the firm to encourage high levels of marketing-logistics integration. The findings also indicate the importance of middle management factors such as the existence of cooperative attitudes and provision of education and training between the marketing and logistics functions. These results support the propositions and findings of related studies in the general field of marketing regarding the factors supporting integration, but this study is the first to adapt and apply these to the integration of marketing and logistics functions, and one of the first to investigate the marketing-logistics relationship empirically. This research makes three significant contributions to customer-focussed business function research. Firstly, a unique model has been developed from sound academic theory that highlights the factors posited to integrate two highly customer-focussed business functions, marketing and logistics. Secondly, this model has been tested in an empirical setting. Finally, the research has sought to develop an understanding of marketing-logistics integration under different firm conditions. This research provides future researchers with a base model for understanding how functional integration may be supported in the firm.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsmarketing-logistics integration; marketing-logistics coordination; functional integration; functional coordination; marketing concept; market orientation; integrated logistics
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