نقش کارکنان در تماس با مشتریان به عنوان مشتریان خارجی : چارچوب مفهومی برای استراتژی بازاریابی و پژوهش های آینده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2880||2008||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 61, Issue 9, September 2008, Pages 959–967
Existing streams of literature in marketing, management, and organizational behavior are integrated to propose a conceptual framework that highlights the customer contact employee's dual role as employee and external customer of the organization. Several iterative “cycles of success” are proposed whereby job satisfaction, the employee's patronage of the company's products (i.e., goods or services), and job performance (as customer contact employees) are all enhanced, ultimately leading to long-term relationships (with customers and employees) and profits for the organization. The framework highlights the role of internal marketing as a tool for enhancing the competitive advantage gained by strategically considering the customer contact employee's role as external customer.
In 2006, over 76 million people, representing 57.4% of those employed in the United States, worked in sectors where they could also be customers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007). These sectors include a wide range of services such as retail stores, restaurants, health care providers, and financial institutions, but also include manufacturing firms. Furthermore, most of these organizations employ large numbers of customer contact employees—ranging from cashiers to professional salespeople, and including customer service personnel. Whereas the role of customer contact employees has been examined as a source of competitive advantage (Pfeffer, 1994 and Pfeffer, 2005), their complex and far-reaching role as “external customers,” i.e., purchasing products from their own organization, has been largely ignored. Understanding this dual role (as customer contact employee and external customer) may provide further competitive advantage through increased profits and long-term relationships with employees and final customers. In studying the role of employees as external customers, their role as internal customers (c.f., Berry, 1981) must also be considered. Although the importance of employees as internal customers of organizations has been well established in the internal marketing literature (e.g., Foreman and Money, 1995, Gronroos, 1981 and Rafiq and Ahmed, 2000), the effect of internal marketing on employee patronage has been largely ignored. The only exception is a study by Lusch et al. (1996), which examined the effects of social controls and socialization on employee patronage. However, the impact of employee patronage on job performance, and ultimately on organizational performance, has not received any scholarly attention. In fact, although scholars have long suggested that research should integrate human resource management with services marketing and operations management (e.g., Lovelock, 1992 and Schneider et al., 1998), no academic research seems to have examined the antecedents and consequences of the dual role that so many employees play—as customer contact employee and external customer. At the same time, Lusch et al. (1996) have pointed out that employee patronage (or lack thereof) is a clear signal of a firm's success (or failure), and therefore deserves scholarly attention. In addition, Babin and Boles (1996) have commented that customer contact employees in general, and retail employees in particular, are critical to retail performance, and yet their role has not been examined in depth. To fill these gaps in the literature, as well as to address the important substantive issues mentioned, a conceptual framework is proposed to carefully examine the role of customer contact employees as external customers of the organization. A secondary purpose of the framework is to illustrate how internal marketing can be used to create a unique competitive advantage and position in the sector by evaluating its effects on employees in their dual role.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
3.1. Theoretical implications The literature in general—whether marketing, management, or organizational behavior—has ignored the role of employees as external customers. Yet, this role is critical for organizations to consider both for short-term and long-term strategy, particularly in the case of customer contact employees. There are numerous organizations in a wide range of industries where customer contact employees can also be customers of their organizations, as substantiated at the start of this article, and thus, research on this issue is all the more worthwhile. A theoretical framework is proposed to address this gap in the literature and to provide practitioners and researchers with a basis for understanding the short-term and long-term dynamics of the contact employee's dual role as an internal as well as external customer of the organization. The overall contribution of the framework is that recognizing the contact employee's dual role (and supporting it through organizational factors and internal marketing), will ultimately lead to long-term relationships (with employees and final customers) and profits for the organization. In addition to this framework at the micro-level, a macro-level perspective shows that when organizations strategically consider contact employees as both internal and external customers, inherent “cycles of success” (c.f., Schlesinger and Heskett, 1991) emerge. For example, financial internal marketing will lead to higher employee patronage and consequently to better job performance, which will then be rewarded by further implementation of financial internal marketing, and the cycle will continue. There are numerous possibilities for such cycles of success as seen in Fig. 1. Furthermore, several linkages exist within the model that are enhanced by the levels and consistency with which they occur. For example, the iterative relationship between job satisfaction and job performance will be stronger when both levels are high. Also, when employee patronage is at high levels and occurs consistently over a large number of employees, the linkage between employee patronage and long-term relationships and profits will be enhanced. Likewise, non-financial internal marketing (i.e., recognition, motivation, and empowerment) over a period of time will lead to greater levels of job satisfaction, and the number of employees who receive these rewards will significantly multiply this effect. Finally, the link between job satisfaction and long-term relationships and profits will be strengthened when job satisfaction is widespread throughout the organization and is very high and enduring. 3.2. Implications for practitioners Practitioners can use this framework to strategically evaluate their view of employees as external customers and to consider what organizational factors and internal marketing practices will lead to employee patronage. Job satisfaction also plays a critical role in the framework presented here. Organizations should periodically measure the satisfaction levels of their employees in order to effectively deploy internal marketing strategies to encourage employee patronage and job performance. As organizations offer a supportive work climate and establish meaningful internal marketing practices that consider the contact employees' dual role (as internal and external customers), these employees will be satisfied and in turn will provide high levels of service to final customers so that long-term relationships with both are likely to follow. As Gronroos (1997) has stated, internal marketing must occur before external marketing and that the process has to be aligned with the overall marketing function. Moreover, by encouraging and sustaining the dual role of the customer contact employee, organizations are likely to realize a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies that strategically consider the organizational factors and internal marketing practices suggested by this framework will have a good starting point from which to convert increasingly satisfied employees into loyal external customers. Such employees will be excellent customer contact employees, and the cycles of success predicted by this framework will be launched and sustained, leading to long-term relationships (with both employees and final customers) and consequently to higher profits. 3.3. Implications for researchers The role of employees as external customers and the topic of employee patronage are in dire need of further research given that so many people in the workforce today are both employees and external customers. Given the lack of research on the topic of employees as external customers, tremendous opportunities for future research exist. This framework establishes a starting point for empirical investigation of the antecedents and consequences of the employee's dual role as internal and external customer of the organization. Empirical verification could focus on one or more links at a time, or an extensive, longitudinal study could test the whole framework. Measurement scales are available in the literature for all the constructs in this framework, except employee patronage. This construct could be measured with a comprehensive set of formative indicators including monetary amount of purchases (from the employee's organization), number of items purchased from the organization (in a given time period, as well as cumulatively), frequency of purchasing from the organization, and length of time as an external customer of the organization. Future research could explore which organizational factors are most likely to influence job satisfaction and subsequently employee patronage and job performance. Researchers could also examine the linkages between various types of internal marketing and key variables, including job satisfaction, employee patronage, and job performance. In addition, studies could empirically test the role of job satisfaction in increasing employee patronage, job performance, and ultimately long-term relationships and profits. Furthermore, researchers could explore employee characteristics—such as length of employment, skill level, and personality factors—that would moderate the effects of organizational factors, internal marketing, and job satisfaction. The sample for an empirical study could be drawn from employees within a given organization, or taken across similar organizations within an industry. The model, in whole or in part, could be tested for different types of customer contact employees, ranging from cashiers to professional salespeople. Case studies might be another way to verify the validity of the proposed framework. For example, different types of internal marketing practices might be contextual to an organization, or an industry, so such studies would help to clarify existing internal marketing practices and determine what works best to achieve intermediate and ultimate outcomes in the proposed framework.