تصویب گفتمان مشتریان، بازاریابی و عملکرد سازمانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20980||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10275 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Scandinavian Journal of Management, Volume 27, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 231–242
This paper seeks to (A) contribute to a theoretical understanding of the organizational enactment of the customer and (B) illustrate how customers are enacted in two public industries: public housing and public transport. Empirically three instances of enactment are attended to within the two industries: customer rhetoric, operational procedures, and the physical customer environment. The study shows how the customer emerges as an open object of managerial knowledge, influenced by contingencies present in and around the organizations. The study explicates the customer's role in organizational practice by bringing forward the dual function of reduction (of complex contingencies) and projection (of established organizational conditions) exercised when the customer of discourse is translated and enacted. It also questions the hegemonic/universal assumptions about customer orientation found in critical and managerial text, respectively.
Marketing has evolved from a specialist subfield into an all-encompassing management discourse with ambitions to govern most aspects of both private and public organizations (Brownlie and Hewer, 2007, Brownlie et al., 1999 and Skålén et al., 2008). In fact, “marketing has become the soul of the corporation” (Deleuze, 1992: 6). The customer is central to the managerial philosophy of marketing (John, 2003 and Vargo and Lusch, 2004), as well as to related prescriptive disciplines such as Service Management (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991, Grönroos, 2007 and Schneider and Bowen, 1995) and Quality Management (Deming, 1986, Lengnick-Hall, 1996 and Oakland, 1989), and hence also to our understanding of organizational life. Through the idea that organizations should be shaped according to, e.g. ‘oriented towards’, customer needs and requirements, marketing has brought the customer into the very nexus of organizational practice. It is the customer's function and role in this practice that is the theme of this article. Specifically, the aim of the paper is to contribute to research into how marketing is practiced by (A) contributing to a theoretical understanding of the organizational enactment of the customer and (B) illustrating how customers are enacted in two public industries: public housing and public transport. The background to this aim is elaborated on below. Organizational aspects of this orientation towards the customer have been critically analyzed and debated from several theoretical positions, including various formulations inspired by discourse analysis (cf. Alvesson and Willmott, 1996, Du Gay, 1991, Gabriel and Lang, 1995, Hackley, 2003, Korczynski and Ott, 2004, Morgan, 1992, Morgan, 2003, Rosenthal et al., 2001 and Skålén et al., 2008). This literature has demonstrated the discursive nature of both the customer herself and the managerial interpretations of her, thereby contributing valuable insights into the organizational consequences of marketing. It has also been argued that the definition of the customer constitutes contested terrain (Gabriel & Lang, 1995), indicating that the content of the customer concept should not be taken for granted. However, most of these analyses share a preoccupation with the customer as an abstracted, discursive subject position (cf. Dean, 1999), offering little detailed understanding of how the customer of discourse is actually enacted in day-to-day organizational practice. When enacted, the customer is given a concrete, articulated substance in the form of vocabularies and analogies, organizational arrangements and patterns of action, and various physical manifestations (Czarniawska and Joerges, 1996, Douglas, 1986, Greenwood and Hinings, 1996 and Latour, 1986). It is through such carriers the customer of discourse spreads between organisations and eventually integrates into the complex material and immaterial networks that constitute local organising. It is also these objectifications (rather than the abstract idea of the customer) that are confronted with other aspects of the social life in and around organisations. The integration of the discursive customer into local conditions can be analyzed as a process of translation (cf. Czarniawska and Joerges, 1996 and Latour, 1986). In the translation, both form and content may be altered, thereby creating tension between the customer as an ideology, or theory, and the customer as an aspect of organizational practice. This provides a strong argument for explicitly investigating not only what a customer is, according to discourse, but also what eventually emerges when discourse is enacted in practise (cf. Hasselbladh & Kallinikos, 2000). Studying customer discourse through the empirical lens of situational practice adds to the understanding of how the customer is constructed as a discursive subject and how and to what extent this subject influences organizational practice (see Rosenthal & Peccei, 2007 and Skålen & Fougérè, 2007 for two examples of studies applying such approaches). In particular, studies of situations where the presence of customers is not naturalized and the logic of customer orientation is not self-evident might provide valuable insights. The presence of factors such as competing traditions, complex stakeholder interests, and inflexible operational conditions marked by economies of scale and resource inertia is likely to add challenges to the translation process as they are potentially contradicting the rationality customer orientation. Attending to situations where customers are enacted despite such challenges might help clarifying both the basic character and the limits of the customer idea of marketing discourse. The widespread adoption of marketing ideals in the public sector during the 90s and 00s (Aberbach and Christensen, 2005 and Osborne and Gaebler, 1992) offers plenty of examples of such situations. Studying customers in “public” industries, albeit somewhat counterintuitive, also helps distinguishing marketing-as-(organizational-) practice, i.e. the managerial logic of marketing, from the market-making-practices producing of the overall market structure ( Kjellberg & Helgesson, 2007: 142, cf. Cochoy, 1998). The sectors of public transport and public housing, where several programs have been launched which explicitly or implicitly promote the customer idea and the ideals of the market, face all the challenges mentioned above. The realization of these programs has therefore the potential to bring forward key aspects of customers as a pivotal cornerstone of managerial marketing, as well as of how “customers” – as an abstract discursive notion – are enacted within organizational practice. In the next section of the paper, the discursive character of the customer in mainstream marketing is outlined, and the analytical concepts of ‘translation’ and ‘objects of knowledge’ are introduced in order to open up the enactment of discourse to situational conditions. There then follows a discussion about how the data for the study has been collected and analyzed. Next, empirical illustrations are presented of the organizational enactment of the customer in the two industries mentioned above, public housing and public transport. Following previous research, three instances of the enactment have been dealt with customer rhetoric, operational procedures, and the physical customer environment. In “Discussion” section, two aspects of how the customer is enacted in practice are elaborated on; namely, how the customer reduces complexity and projects existing organizational conditions. It is also argued that the discursive formulation of the customer as an “open” (i.e. underdetermined) object of knowledge greatly contributes to its successful inclusion in organizational practice. Finally, the theoretical and empirical conclusions of the paper are summarized, and their implications for future research commented upon.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
By focusing on the concrete enactment of the customer through various means (organizational rhetoric, administrative technologies, and physical facilities), the present study has illustrated how ideas of the customer that are key to marketing discourse have indeed influenced organizational practice in public housing and public transport. However, in organizational practice (as embodied in organizational rhetoric, operational procedures and physical resources), the customer emerges as a rather contradictory figure. Although the sovereignty ascribed to the customer by marketing discourse is present, there are also plenty of examples of the customer being subsumed into organizational conditions. The study contributes to a theoretical understanding of the organizational enactment of the customer by bringing forward the dual function of reduction and projection exercised when the customer of discourse is translated and enacted. When practice is studied, the customer emerges as a flexible resource to draw on in order to reinterpret, legitimize, and make sense of local conditions, rather than as an expression of an imposed structure of power/knowledge. The imperative capacity of discourse is thus called into question, and a more dynamic relationship between discourse and practice is indicated. The customer of marketing discourse is integrated into organizational practice as a structuring device that is simultaneously both discursively established and locally adapted. The discursive indeterminacy that ensues from the marketing-customer being an open object of managerial knowledge is central to this relationship. When it comes to the two industries studied, it has been noted that the customer is enacted in a way that helps in retaining and re-legitimizing established values in and around the organizations. This does not mean that marketing discourse is without influence; matching the discursive customer idea with the actions of organizational practice has certainly changed both the latter and the former (cf. Czarniawska & Joerges, 1996). These changes have not entailed complete acceptance of the discursive customer, however. Instead, discourse has informed and inspired the gradual development of existing practice within the organizations, particularly when it comes to the dilemmas of flexibility and efficient large-scale service solutions that both industries are facing. The present study has shown that the relationship between marketing discourse and marketing practice is more complex and less one-directional than is often assumed in both managerial and critical texts. Further studies which empirically and conceptually seek to investigate the links between marketing ideas and marketing action are therefore called for. Such studies could either take departure in discourse, by questioning the hegemonic aspirations embedded in marketing discourse itself, or in practice, where the impact of customer ideas (not necessarily on action could be deliberately search for. The present study is limited in its empirical scope as it only encompasses two “public” industries. Studying how customers are enacted in situations where their existence is already naturalized is likely to produce additional insights, not least when it comes to the relative importance of internal and external factors. Further, such studies are likely to increase our understanding of how marketing-as-practice is related to markets-as-practice (cf. Cochoy, 1998 and Kjellberg and Helgesson, 2007).