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Paper info: Making Sense of Global Customers in Internal MNC Network


Making Sense of Global Customers in Internal MNC Network


Elina Pernu

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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This research explores how individuals make sense of the same customer in different units of
supplier MNC and how supplier organization can manage its internal network in relation to
these specific customers. The MNC is approached as internal network consisting of
relationships between individuals, different functional units and geographical locations. The
emerging question in this multinational context is who the customer actually is. Individual
managers face the challenge of making sense of the customer in relation to their own
organizational level, since customer can be seen and understood in multiple ways at different
levels, depending on whether concentrating on individual, group or to organizational level.
This paper utilizes multilevel empirical data and thus is able to focus on the individual level
sensemaking of global customer relationships in internal MNC network and also to approach
organizational level by concentrating on the network management as an organizational level
process. The primary qualitative data consist of several interviews done inside industrial
MNC in multiple organizational levels and units. This research ties network management and
individual sensemaking together as processes needed for managing global customer
Keywords: sensemaking, MNC, internal network, network management, global customers