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The Customer Contact Model for Organization Design


  • Richard B. Chase

    (University of Arizona)

  • David A. Tansik

    (University of Arizona)


The literature on organization design has been dominated by descriptive models in its dealing with structure and operations. This paper takes an alternative view advocating the use of a normative model to be used in the design of service organizations. This model sees the extent of customer contact with the service organization as a major variable affecting system performance and advocates reconfiguring the structure of the service organization to reflect this impact. The discussion describes a taxonomy used to classify firms along the contact dimension and develops 13 propositions which convey critical distinctions between high and low contact services. Application of the model for managerial decision making involves the use of decoupling and the paper identifies factors which favor/disfavor decoupling in light of existing and desired service delivery objectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Chase & David A. Tansik, 1983. "The Customer Contact Model for Organization Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(9), pages 1037-1050, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:9:p:1037-1050

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    Cited by:

    1. Schipper, Lisette & Luijkx, Katrien & Meijboom, Bert & Schols, Jos, 2015. "The 3 A's of the access process to long-term care for elderly: Providers experiences in a multiple case study in the Netherlands," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 17-25.
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    3. repec:eee:transa:v:103:y:2017:i:c:p:455-471 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. de Blok, Carolien & Meijboom, Bert & Luijkx, Katrien & Schols, Jos, 2013. "The human dimension of modular care provision: Opportunities for personalization and customization," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 16-26.
    5. Chowdhury, Sanjib & Miles, Grant, 2006. "Customer-induced uncertainty in predicting organizational design: Empirical evidence challenging the service versus manufacturing dichotomy," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 121-129, January.
    6. repec:eee:proeco:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:281-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Krishnan S. Anand & M. Faz{i}l PaƧ & Senthil Veeraraghavan, 2011. "Quality-Speed Conundrum: Trade-offs in Customer-Intensive Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 40-56, January.
    8. Lee, Lorraine S. & Fiedler, Kirk D. & Smith, Jeffery S., 2008. "Radio frequency identification (RFID) implementation in the service sector: A customer-facing diffusion model," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 587-600, April.
    9. Mackelprang, Alan W. & Jayaram, Jayanth & Xu, Kefeng, 2012. "The influence of types of training on service system performance in mass service and service shop operations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 183-194.
    10. Cruz-Ros, Sonia & Gonzalez-Cruz, Tomas F., 2015. "Service firm capabilities and performance: Contingent analysis of customer contact," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1612-1621.
    11. Ryan W. Buell & Tami Kim & Chia-Jung Tsay, 2014. "Creating Reciprocal Value Through Operational Transparency," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-115, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2015.
    12. Saccani, N. & Johansson, P. & Perona, M., 2007. "Configuring the after-sales service supply chain: A multiple case study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1-2), pages 52-69, October.


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