بازار گرایی داخلی و اندازه گیری آن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19233||2006||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 59, Issue 4, April 2006, Pages 432–448
The 1970s introduced internal marketing (IM) as a solution for the companies that sought to offer superior customer service. After 30 years though, IM practice remains limited, probably because their majority lack the proper underlying philosophy. An “internal-market orientation” (IMO), the equivalent to market orientation that is known to precede the effective implementation of marketing strategies. Such an internal-market orientation, if developed, may increase the effectiveness of market-oriented company's response to (external) market conditions because it allows the company's management to better align (external) market objectives with internal capabilities. However, before this symmetry is achievable, companies need to be able to assess their orientation towards their internal (employee) market and take, where necessary, corrective actions. This article, while discussing the notion and the importance of IMO, reports the results of a study aimed to develop and empirically validate an instrument for assessing the company's degree of IMO adoption.
This article empirically investigates an instrument for assessing the company's degree of internal-market orientation (IMO) adoption. That is, the extent to which the company commits to produce value for its employees through effectively managing the relations between employees, supervisors and management. Increasing the company's degree of IMO does not hamper its external orientation or its focus on its customers (Bansal et al., 2001). Quite the contrary, ÉÌÏ allows deriving a symmetric orientation (Piercy, 1995) and, thus, enhancing the effectiveness of a company's strategic response and, eventually, its ability to satisfy customers consistently so that sales and profits can grow. Many scholars investigate the major antecedents of customer satisfaction. Particularly in the service industries, various authors suggest different antecedents, such as the quality and the value offered by the company (Cronin et al., 2000), the perceived quality (Grönroos, 1983, Parasuraman et al., 1988, Cronin and Taylor, 1992 and Anderson and Sullivan, 1993) or complain handling (Homburg and Rudolph, 2001). However, a parallel stream of research, also in services, investigates the impact of the encounter with service personnel, demonstrating that customer's experience with the service providing personnel heavily influences customer satisfaction (e.g., Tornow and Wiley, 1991, Mohr and Henson, 1996, Foster and Cadogan, 2000 and Donavan and Hocutt, 2001). These findings explain marketing scholars' emphasis on service personnel as part of the company's marketing mix (Booms and Bitner, 1981, Berry, 1981 and Conduit and Mavondo, 2001) and, consequently, their interest on internal marketing (IM). However, although the body of knowledge on IM is constantly increasing since the 1970s, this is mainly through normative work as the proportion of empirical studies remains rather slim. Moreover, marketing scholars have not yet derived a single, unanimous, definition of IM. During this period though, IM content has evolved from the company's effort to satisfy the needs of the “customer-affecting” personnel (Berry et al., 1976, Sasser and Arbeit, 1976 and Berry, 1981), to managing the service-value chain and the internal relationships between co-workers more effectively (Gummesson, 1987) and developing a customer priority throughout the entire company (Grönroos, 1983, George, 1990, Ahmed and Rafiq, 1993 and Varey and Lewis, 1999). Nonetheless, the application of IM focuses only on a small number of companies (Rafiq and Ahmed, 2000), despite the increasing interest of scholars on IM and its profound importance for service industries. This constrained focus occurs because companies lack the underlying philosophy that can facilitate the implementation of IM strategies. A company philosophy analogous to that of “market orientation” (e.g., Kohli and Jaworski, 1990 and Narver and Slater, 1990) which precedes the company's ability to develop effective marketing strategies. Moreover, the fact that existing literature on IMO remains thin and sporadic while its measurement lacks empirical validation, may further explain why the implementation of IM remains limited. To this end, the contribution of this manuscript is that it provides an instrument that future researchers may employee in order to investigate further how IMO adoption influences the application of IM practices and the effectiveness of the company's strategic response. The structure of the manuscript is as follows: The first section of the manuscript presents the existing literature in order to clarify and establish the concept of IMO. The Next section presents the method and the analysis of the data. The discussion and the limitations and future research sections follow.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The contribution of this study is manifold. A major contribution is the strengthening, with empirical evidence, of the notion of internal-market orientation (IMO). In the 1980s, companies became more apprehensive of the need to align their market objectives with their internal capabilities and the skills of their employees. Consequently, the application of marketing strategies and programs internally seamed a necessity. This development led marketing scholars to focus on service contact employees as an antecedent to customer satisfaction. However, despite the significant evolution regarding the notion and content of IM, until today, only a limited number of companies implement IM in practice. This manuscript argues that it may be possible that companies do not employ IM because they lack the underlying culture, an internal-market orientation. In pursuing this direction, this manuscript attempts to draw on relevant previous research and explicate the notion of IMO. The concept grounds on the market orientation concept, as articulated by Kohli and Jaworski (1990) and pivots around three major dimensions: Internal-market Intelligence Generation, Internal-Intelligence Dissemination and Response to Internal-Intelligence. In addition, this manuscript discusses the method of development and the results of an empirical validation procedure for an instrument to assess a company's degree of IMO adoption. The assessment of the instrument's internal consistency, its discriminant and convergent validity were particularly satisfactory for both the construct's major and sub-dimensions. These tests indicate that, IMO represents the company's philosophy to create and offer value for its internal market within a broader, relationship-marketing paradigm (Grönroos, 1983, Grönroos, 1997 and Gummenson, 1999), and in fact regardless of employee's degree of direct customer contact. Thus, on the basis of the results from this study, IMO appears to be a hierarchical construct, comprised of three major and ten sub-dimensions. The major dimensions reflect the company's commitment to collect internal-market intelligence, disseminate this intelligence to various levels and departments of the company and design employee-related policies in response to this intelligence. This conception of IMO draws heavily on the “market orientation” paradigm (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990). As such, IMO seems quite relevant, particularly for companies in services where employees, front-line and back-office alike, influence the company's output to its customers. Because of this, service companies, in comparison to good manufacturers, have a greater need to develop a symmetric orientation (Piercy, 1995). Equally importantly, the instrument, and consequently the IMO notion, was tested for criterion validity, despite the lack of previous empirical studies on IMO. To overcome this difficulty, the instrument's criterion validity was tested against two elements of the company's IM strategy (empowerment and participative decision making), as well as against one important performance index of the company's IM strategy effectiveness (job satisfaction). The rationale behind this was detailed earlier in the manuscript (Berry, 1987) and, basically, draws from the research stream on market orientation. The results of this test were also satisfactory. These findings suggest that IMO is a company philosophy that underlies its IM efforts, while also bearing a direct influence on the effectiveness of these efforts. Two consequences arise from this finding. First, adopting IMO influences the degree to which companies implement IM strategies, as well as the effectiveness of such efforts. Consequently, IMO adoption appears to be a prerequisite for the symmetry between (external) market objectives and internal-market conditions that service companies require (Piercy, 1995), where employees have the “power” to void the management's attempt to focus on their customers (Conduit and Mavondo, 2001 and Harris and Ogbonna, 2000). Having said this, one should not arrive to the conclusion that adopting an IMO signalizes an introverted organization, neither that the aim of IMO is solely to produce employees' job satisfaction. Such misconception would leave little scope for differentiating IM practices and IMO adoption from strategic human resource management (Rafiq and Ahmed, 1993), and consequently, the role of the marketing function in this effort would, at least, become questionable. Rather, the marketing function aims to facilitate the achievement of the company's market (financial and non-financial) objectives and, within this framework, becomes the champion of the company's effort to stay aligned with its market. Within this framework, given the significance of service employees regarding customers' experience with the service they are offered, IMO is an important prerequisite that justifies the involvement of the marketing function. Consequently, the adoption of IMO complements the company's market orientation. Thus, adopting an IMO manifests an extrospective company and, according to the broader market-orientation research paradigm, should, directly or indirectly, influence the company's market performance. Finally, the clarification of a structural issue regarding the conception of IMO is also of interest. Lings (2004) proposes that two sub-dimensions, namely, internal-segmentation and internal-targeting, reflect the company's effort to collect Internal-Intelligence. The empirical findings from this study seem to support that, actually, they both reflect the company's degree of responsiveness to Internal-Intelligence, that is, the third major dimension of IMO. The study has significant contribution for practitioners, too. IM strategies are required in order to align the company's internal environment with their (external) market objectives. However, designing and effectively implementing IM strategies presuppose increasing the company's the degree of orientation towards its internal market. Practically, this calls for a committed effort to understand the dimensions of value the employees expect from their employment and also to grasp the conditions of the labor market. Knowledge of employment rates, new job opportunities that could attract the company's employees and how direct competitors handle their workforce, is important for understanding the system of employees' needs and interpreting their value expectations. Moreover, commitment to and motivation of interactive internal communication is also a prerequisite. One facet of this communication pertains to the willingness of the supervisor to listen to the problems subordinates face in day-to-day activities and tasks. Another facet involves the information employees receive from their supervisor regarding the company's objectives, new policies and so on. The third facet of this interactive communication involves the sharing of the problems employees face at higher levels of seniority. This allows a wider comprehension of employees' values and of the obstacles in producing the value employees expect. As a result, solutions to employees' problems can transcend departmental borders and managers other than an employee's direct supervisor may contribute in developing this value. Finally, the company has to develop specific personnel related behaviors with the aim to exploit internal-market intelligence in order to deliver value for the employees. These behaviors include internal-market segmentation, internal-market segments targeting, adjusting job descriptions, training, adjusting remuneration and bonuses, and showing the management's concern for the company's employees. Thus, company's competitiveness increases since, becoming more internal-market oriented, facilitates the implementation of IM strategies, which, in turn, results in more productive and satisfactory service-encounters for its customers. As to the conditions and actions that precede the development of IMO development, although this was beyond the scope of this study, practitioners can draw significant insights from the market orientation development studies. Narver et al. (1998) suggest a two-stage development process: The “programmatic approach”, representing the educational learning process to develop MO and the “market-back approach”, representing an experiential learning process involving experimentation with specific actions which, eventually, modify the way a company competes in the market. By drawing the analogy between market orientation and IMO, then managers seeking to increase their company's degree of IMO adoption can follow the two approaches Narver et al. (1998) suggest.