The Role of the Sales-Service Interface and Ambidexterity in the Evolving Organization: A Multilevel Research Agenda

Adam A. Rapp, Daniel G. Bachrach, Karen E. Flaherty, Douglas E. Hughes, Arun Sharma, Clay M. Voorhees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Despite a long history of independent sales and service functions within organizations, customers are pressuring organizations to rethink their sales and service operations. Specifically, customers expect organizations to offer a “single face” of the firm rather than being forced to interact with multiple agents across both sales and service throughout their relationships. As firms attempt to meet these customer demands, they have countless options to integrate sales and service operations, but little is known about which strategies are most effective. This article attempts to shed new light into the challenges and potential benefits of sales-service integration, in an effort to spur research in this area and better inform this managerial challenge. Specifically, we formalize the concept of the sales-service interface, discuss how it relates to sales-service ambidexterity, and identify several opportunities for future research. Given the complexity of the sales-service interface, we contend that future researchers must view these issues through a multilevel lens and, as a result, we focus on identifying opportunities ideally suited for testing in a multilevel environment. The goal of this article is to provide a platform for researchers to tackle this challenging problem and generate new insights into how best to meet customer’s evolving demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • ambidexterity
  • dynamic capabilities
  • multilevel
  • sales-service interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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