A process model of tacit knowledge transfer between sales and marketing

Dennis B. Arnett, C. Michael Wittmann, John D. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although an ability to generate and transfer tacit knowledge provides the basis for competitive differentiation, organizations face two primary issues when attempting to achieve this task. First, tacit knowledge, which differs from explicit knowledge in that it can only be gained through experiences, deep interactions, and learning by doing, is highly complex and therefore difficult to transfer. Second, as challenging as tacit knowledge transfer may be under the most ideal circumstances, the issue is exacerbated by the fact that sales and marketing professionals oftentimes have a dysfunctional relationship. Addressing these issues, we present and examine a theoretical model which captures the process through which tacit knowledge transfer occurs across the two functions. Study results, derived from a sample of 215 salespeople, highlight the important role interfunctional communication quality and the development of a mutual understanding play in this process. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications arising from the study, and present opportunities for further research in the area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Marketing
  • Mutual understanding
  • Sales
  • Sales-marketing interface
  • Tacit knowledge exchange


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