International relationship management during social distancing: the role of AI-integrated social CRM by MNEs during the Covid-19 pandemic

Sheshadri Chatterjee, Ranjan Chaudhuri, Alkis Thrassou, Demetris Vrontis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The research empirically examines the role of artificial intelligence (AI) integrated with social customer relationship management (SCRM) in multinational enterprises (MNEs) towards international relationship management under social distancing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: The study initially undertakes pertinently focused theoretical research in the fields of international marketing, knowledge management, and customer relationship management. And, utilizing the theories of resource-based view (RBV) and dynamic capability view (DCV) theory, the study develops a theoretical model that is subsequently empirically validated through a survey and structural equation modeling. Findings: The study highlights the importance and means of adopting AI-integrated social CRM by MNEs, in the context of international relationship management, under the Covid-19 social distancing conditions. The study more specifically elucidates the role and significance of MNE leadership approach and support towards the adoption of AI-integrated social CRM systems and, ultimately, performance improvement of MNEs under such conditions. Research limitations/implications: The study presents insights and prescriptive explications on a topic at the heart of state-of the-art technology-based international marketing in the explicit context of the primary business-defining environment of the Covid-19 pandemic. The research provides practicable suggestions to MNEs' leadership towards the adoption of an AI-integrated social CRM system. And the study presents a unique model for international relationship management under social distancing conditions, potentially applicable during other crises. Originality/value: The research is original and on a ‘fresh’ topic that combines the latest technological advancements in business (AI-integrated CRM) with the present critical business context (pandemic). The research develops a tested theoretical model that (a) is unique in its field; (b) provides a solid foundation for further research; (c) bears generic value and application during other-than-Covid-19 conditions; and (d) enhances the understanding of important fields of international marketing, including international customer relationship management and global knowledge management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Artificial intelligence
  • COVID-19
  • Global knowledge management
  • International relationship management
  • MNE leadership support
  • Social CRM
  • Social distancing


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