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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 51, Issue 1, January 2001, Pages 11–24
This paper investigates the relationship between internal customer orientation and market orientation. It builds on the notion that organisational dynamics and managerial action in areas such as employee training, effective communication systems, and managing human resources are critical to building an internal customer orientation and consequently, a market orientation. A path model is used to investigate the direct and indirect impact of hypothesised variables on internal customer orientation and market orientation. The findings suggest that integration between departments, the dissemination of market intelligence, and management support for a market orientation are important for its development, however, training programs may not be effective. The results are based on a study of Australian based companies extensively involved in international marketing.
Marketing literature has emphasized the importance of developing a market orientation within an organisation Kohli and Jaworski, 1990, Narver and Slater, 1990 and Jaworski and Kohli, 1993. Implicit in some of this literature is the notion that to develop a market orientation, employees should be encouraged not to only focus on the needs of the end customer but also to recognize other employees as internal customers (Mohr-Jackson, 1991). However, the customer orientation literature has focused predominantly on the importance of external customers Mohr-Jackson, 1991 and Lukas and Maignan, 1996, and pays little attention explicitly to the role of internal customers (Mohr-Jackson, 1991). To provide superior value to the external customer, it is important that superior value is provided at each point of the value chain. Hence, internal suppliers need to focus on satisfying the requirements of their internal customers, demonstrating an internal customer orientation. This will ensure the development of a customer and market orientation throughout the organisation (Hauser et al., 1996) and not limit this orientation to the point of customer contact. It could also be argued that personnel who effectively manage internal customers would demonstrate similar, appropriate behavior when interacting with external customers. The development of an internal customer orientation is particularly important in an organisation with an international marketing strategy, as internal customers may be in foreign markets and direct contact with the external customer may be limited or non-existent. Finally, attention to internal customer orientation allows managers to discover antecedents to a market orientation and gain further insight into how to effectively manage them. This paper discusses and empirically tests the nature of the relationship between an internal customer orientation and a market orientation. Internal marketing and management processes and organisational dynamics are proposed as antecedents to the development of an internal customer orientation, and the direct and indirect effect of these variables on market orientation are examined. The companies in this study have extensive international marketing activities, one operates in more than 70 countries worldwide, the second operates in 16 countries across Europe and Southeast Asia, the third company has global operations through partnerships in providing services to the motoring public. The basis for selecting the organisations and concentrating on their Australian operations is discussed in the methodology section below.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The primary purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between internal customer orientation and market orientation. The strength of the relationship found between these orientations indicates that an internal customer orientation is important for the development of a market orientation. The support found for the relationship between internal customer orientation and market orientation gives credence to past literature that has assumed this relationship, and hence, this study contributes to the academic literature in this domain. Importantly, the two concepts, i.e. internal customer orientation and market orientation, are found to be distinct and not isomorphic. From a managerial perspective, an organisation should strive to develop, maintain, and enhance both an internal customer and a market orientation concurrently. Without an emphasis on satisfying the requirements of employees, superior value will not be provided at every stage of the value chain and therefore, the end customer will not receive the optimal product or service. Not only does internal customer orientation have a direct effect on market orientation, but it also mediates the relationships between various antecedents and market orientation. The effects of intelligence dissemination, interdepartmental integration, internal communication, personnel management and management support, on market orientation are enhanced by their indirect effects through internal customer orientation. This further illustrates the crucial nature of internal customer orientation in the development of market orientation. An examination of the role of internal management processes as antecedents to an internal customer orientation, and subsequently to a market orientation, produced mixed results. Since many international marketing organisations invest heavily in standardising training across countries, it was expected that significant benefits would result from such efforts. As training programs provide a means for the transmission of organisational culture, the lack of support for the influence of training on internal customer orientation and on market orientation was not expected. However, training was found to impact positively on organisational commitment, and to have significant indirect effects on intelligence generation. This suggests training is important within an organisation, but it must be carefully targeted to raise the level of awareness of the importance of an internal customer orientation and market orientation for it to effectively improve these aspects of an organisation's culture. Management support was not found to have a direct effect on market orientation, but demonstrated significant relationships with intelligence generation, intelligence dissemination, interdepartmental integration and interdepartmental conflict. These variables were found to significantly influence internal customer orientation and market orientation, thus, management support is shown to be crucial for the development of internal customer orientation and market orientation. On examining the total effects of management support on both internal customer orientation and market orientation, the relationships were found to be highly significant. From a practical perspective, it is often difficult to encourage managers to be supportive of organisational objectives such as internal customer orientation and market orientation. These results suggest that a lack of support could be counterproductive as visible managerial support, not mere lip service and rhetoric, is critical to the development, maintenance, and enhancement of internal customer orientation and market orientation. Internal communication and human resource policies were the only internal marketing processes found to have a direct influence on an internal customer orientation. The importance of the development of an internal customer orientation to facilitate a market orientation has been stressed above. Therefore, although neither of these variables had a strong influence on the development of a market orientation, their inclusion in an internal marketing strategy is paramount. Involving personnel from a wide range of functional roles in the development of external communication was not found to have a significant influence on the adoption of a market orientation. Although this relationship should be investigated further, preliminary findings suggest that this is not an activity in which organisations should be allocating a large amount of resources. The examination of organisational dynamics as antecedents to an internal customer orientation and market orientation provides support and extends the previous literature in this area. The results support the importance of interdepartmental integration and the reduction of interdepartmental conflict in the development of a market orientation, as found by Jaworski and Kohli (1993). However, this research also illustrates that the effect of these variables is strengthened through their impact on internal customer orientation. As interdepartmental conflict was found to impact negatively on both internal customer orientation and market orientation, senior managers must ensure that parochial departmental interests are subordinated to the superordinate goal of satisfying the external customer. The association between intelligence generation and intelligence dissemination provides a link between the specific behaviors suggested by Kohli and Jaworski (1990) to constitute a market orientation, and the market orientation measure of Narver and Slater (1990). The generation and dissemination of information regarding the external customer, allows employees to obtain a greater understanding of their needs and requirements, and subsequently develop a superior customer orientation and inter-functional coordination. The lack of a relationship between organisational commitment and internal customer orientation suggests management failure to communicate the synergy between these two concepts. The level of commitment may be perceived by employees from the perspective of their specific departments and not linked to the interface with other departments. Management could link the two concepts by rewarding those employees who foster interdepartmental collaboration. Overall, these results provide an insight into the internal managerial processes and organisational dynamics necessary for the development of a market orientation. In particular, the importance of an internal customer orientation, as a direct influence on market orientation and also as a facilitator through which other variables influence market orientation, is highlighted.