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  1. Liu, Sandra S.
  2. Lin, Carol Yuh-Yun


Background: Customer capital is a value generated and an asset developed from customer relationships. Successfully managing these relationships is enhanced by knowledge management (KM) infrastructure that captures and transfers customer-related knowledge. The execution of such a system relies on the vision and determination of the top management team (TMT). The health care industry in today's knowledge economy encounters similar challenges of consumerism as its business sector. Developing customer capital is critical for hospitals to remain competitive in the market.


Purposes: This study aims to provide taxonomy for cultivating market-based organizational learning that leads to building of customer capital and attaining desirable financial performance in health care. With the advancement of technology, the KM system plays an important moderating role in the entire process.


Methodology/Approach: The customer capital issue has not been fully explored either in the business or the health care industry. The exploratory nature of such a pursuit calls for a qualitative approach. This study examines the proposed taxonomy with the case hospital. The lessons learned also are reflected with three US-based health networks.


Findings: The TMT incorporated the knowledge process of conceptualization and transformation in their organizational mission. The market-oriented learning approach promoted by TMT helps with the accumulation and sharing of knowledge that prepares the hospital for the dynamics in the marketplace. Their key knowledge advancement relies on both the professional arena and the feedback of customers. The institutionalization of the KM system and organizational culture expands the hospital's customer capital.


Practice Implications: The implication is twofold: (1) the TMT is imperative for the success of building customer capital through KM process; and (2) the team effort should be enhanced with a learning culture and sharing spirit, in particular, active nurse participation in decision making and frontline staff's role in providing a delightfully surprising patient experience.