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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 3, April 2010, Pages 450–459
A principal challenge confronting the senior marketing team in B2B firms is how to ensure that the marketing strategies they develop are implemented effectively. The literature indicates that mid-level marketing managers' perceptions of the procedural justice within the firm may be critical in this respect. However, there has been little empirical research on this issue. The authors develop and test a conceptual model of the key drivers and consequences of marketing managers' procedural justice perceptions. The findings show that if mid-level marketing managers trust their senior marketing colleagues and simultaneously operate within moderately organic structures, then procedural justice will thrive. A consequence of this is more effective implementation of marketing strategy which, in turn, leads to increased market performance.
“Procedural justice …may be one of the linchpins that carry organizations into the tumultuous 21st century…where rapid change…become[s] even more a concern of organizational life” (Konovsky, 2000). Senior marketing executives and their advisory teams within business-to-business firms rarely complain that the marketing strategies they formulate are flawed. Instead, managers commonly attribute the problems of their strategizing to implementation challenges (Neilsen et al., 2008). Against this backdrop, it is paradoxical that the significant investment in financial, human, and strategic capital associated with formulating marketing strategies far outweighs the effort given to execute these same strategies in firms. Described variously as the ‘elusive phenomenon’ of strategy (Bourgeois and Brodwin, 1984), the strategy ‘black box’ (Piercy, 2002), and the ‘implementation gap’ (Miller, Wilson & Hickson, 2004), the successful execution of marketing strategy has for some time been an issue of research interest and competitive value for academics (Chebat, 1999) and practitioners ( Bower and Gilbert, 2007 and PA Consulting Group, 2002) respectively. To be considered effective a well-formulated strategy must be implemented successfully. Implementation effectiveness however, clearly depends on the appropriateness, feasibility and desirability of the strategy. Our argument is that through the development of competency in implementation—the ability to translate ideas into actions and generate positive outcomes—can provide a source of competitive advantage for the organization. A diversity of perspectives has been put forward in defining the concept of strategy implementation (Noble, 1999). Some researchers emphasise interpersonal and behavioural elements (e.g. Cyert and March, 1963, Franwick et al., 1994, Workman, 1993 and Noble and Mokwa, 1999) but a review of the literature reveals few formal definitions of strategy implementation. We borrow from Wind and Robertson (1983) to define marketing strategy implementation as: the operationalization of a clearly articulated strategic marketing plan. Importantly, within the strategy literature, it has been found that mid-level managers play a critical role in determining whether strategies are implemented successfully (see Floyd and Wooldridge, 2000 and Guth and MacMillan, 1986). However, relatively limited empirical attention has been devoted to the factors that influence mid-level marketing managers' implementation success, despite these managers playing such a critical role in the success of marketing organizations (Bower and Gilbert, 2007 and Noble, 1999). Importantly, research indicates that a pivotal factor determining employees' implementation performance efforts may be their perceptions of the firm's justice procedures (e.g., Kim and Mauborgne, 1991, Williams, 1999 and Konovsky, 2000) in terms of the importance attached to the strategy, the clear communication of the strategy by top level managers and organizational buy-in (Noble & Mokwa, 1999). We address this research gap by adopting an organizational justice perspective. In particular, in this study we develop and test a conceptual model of the antecedents to and marketing strategy implementation-related consequences of mid-level marketing managers' procedural justice perceptions. We then discuss our empirical findings and the study's contribution to theory, derive various implications for managers, highlight the study's limitations, and point out several areas for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
6.1. Implications for marketing theory and management The conventional approach to marketing strategy and planning has tended to treat the formulation and implementation elements of the process as a dichotomous, distinct, and linear sets of sequential activities (Piercy, 1998). However, according to some, this view of strategy is intrinsically flawed (e.g., Cespedes, 1991). As a result, there is a growing acceptance of the simultaneity, interdependence, and iterative nature of the two phases of strategy: a well crafted marketing strategy, in the absence of effective strategy implementation, means little. For this reason, academic efforts to identify methods for improving comprehension of the implementation process are warranted. Currently, however, marketing strategy implementation research is scarce, and that which is undertaken lacks strong theoretical grounding (Noble, 1999). This study makes its contribution to marketing theory by presenting and testing a conceptual model of the role of procedural justice in the marketing strategy implementation process. In particular, we have focused on the context in which mid-level marketing managers operate, and have identified two critical elements of these environments: level of trust in the top marketing executive team, and the degree to which the organizational structure is organic. We demonstrate empirical support for the notion that trust and structure are key drivers of mid-level managers' perceptions of procedural justice. We also link empirically procedural justice perceptions to marketing strategy implementation effectiveness and, indirectly, to market performance. Our model is very successful, since we explain 67% of the variance in procedural justice, 33% of the variance in marketing strategy implementation effectiveness and 6% of the variance in the market performance measure. The study also contributes to practice. By organizing strategic decision making processes around the principles of procedural justice, firms may enhance their strategic capability, since fair process in marketing strategy formulation seems to contribute directly to effective strategy execution. Specifically, our findings indicate that firms should foster trustworthy and organic environments in which individuals are encouraged to share ideas and information voluntarily. However, firms should take caution when considering their organizational structure as firms with highly organic structures displayed low perceptions of procedural justice. It seems clear that aspects of the firm such as organizational culture may have a profound effect on managerial perceptions and implementation processes. When marketing managers are involved in decisions that ultimately affect their implementation work, they understand better what is expected of them. Also, when marketing managers understand why strategic decisions are taken they feel that the organizational strategic decision making processes are fair. Ultimately, both involvement and understanding result in favorable strategic consequences. It is not only the procedures used to determine outcomes, but explanations for those procedures that influence perceptions of procedural justice. Taken together, the three dimensions of procedural justice affect the behavior of mid-level marketing managers attending to strategic issues and engaging in strategy-enhancing behaviors (c.f. Lind and Tyler, 1988 and Floyd and Wooldridge, 2000). Notably, when they engage in such behaviors then market performance gains become apparent. 6.2. Limitations and future research First, since this study relies on cross sectional data, substantive conclusions on causal ordering cannot be made, and care must be taken when interpreting our findings. It would be useful for future studies to assess the direction and magnitude of the relationships under investigation using experimental and/or longitudinal studies. To date, implementation research has been fragmented due to the lack of clear models on which to build (Noble, 1999). If the research area of strategy implementation is to advance, more conceptual efforts must be made and improved measurement scales designed to enable strategy implementation to achieve an identity of its own as a valid area of study. Second, our premise is that to be considered effective a well-formulated strategy must be implemented successfully. The prospects for effective implementation, however, are clearly dependent on the appropriateness, feasibility, and desirability of the strategy. Many strategies are implemented exactly as prescribed to see companies fail. Indeed, some strategies are simply not capable of implementation. Additionally, a poorly thought out strategy will create its own implementation problems and will not necessarily lead to success. Indeed it is commonly the case the effective strategy is not controlled for in either strategy-performance or implementation-performance studies. Apart from the escalation-of-commitment studies, the traditional argument proposed by researchers is that through the development of competency in implementation—the ability to translate ideas into actions and generate positive outcomes—can provide a source of competitive advantage for the organization. In this study, we capture part of this issue in the final item of implementation effectiveness scale which taps the ex-ante effectiveness of the strategy post-implementation; “Strategy not meeting targets” (reverse-scored). Third, our data are single source and perceptual in nature. Since respondents may not always have good knowledge on every issue, the use of multiple respondents in future studies may overcome this potential drawback. For example, we assessed procedural justice at the business unit level by asking mid-level marketing managers' their perceptions of the various dimensions of procedural justice within the unit. A more objective assessment could be obtained by sampling across each unit's mid-level marketing management to obtain a more direct picture of procedural justice levels. Furthermore, whereas we used subjective measures of variables, in some cases objective measurement alternatives also can be generated (e.g., use of secondary data to generate actual market performance data). Fourth, it could be argued that there is some causal ambiguity between the perception of procedural justice and a mid-level manager simply being happy about the implementation of a successful strategy. It could be said that mid-level managers may be more likely to view a process as being fair if the implementation effort was successful, whereas less successful mid-level managers may be more likely to view the process as unfair. Work by Whittington (2006) and others (e.g. Johnson, Melin & Whittington, 2003) argue that much more work is needed to understand strategy activity at the micro-organizational level and Noble (1999) is his seminal review of the state of implementation research found that more study is needed to identify the key factors that influence individual-level success in strategy implementation as nearly all implementation research has only examined outcomes and factors at the organizational level. That said, a number of important research issues arise as a result of our findings. While this study explains what factors lead to procedural justice and the latter's consequences in terms of marketing strategy, future research enquiries might consider other factors that explain why procedural justice is perceived to arise and what personal benefits might arise for the mid-level marketing manager. Instrumental theory might suggest that mid-level marketing managers are motivated to engage in fair processes because they anticipate a share of the outcomes that can result (Lind, 2001). Alternatively, relational theory implies that these managers view procedural justice as laudable because of its symbolic meaning and the fact that it contributes to their self-esteem, self-identity, and affiliation (Brockner, 2002). Whatever the reasons and underlying motives, this knowledge will help understand better how the organizational processes of strategizing in marketing should be managed so as to ensure ongoing perceptions of justice. The effects of marketing control systems on aspects of the model presented should also be considered. This should improve understanding of the contextual aspects of marketing strategy implementation. Mid-level marketing managers are increasingly being given more control responsibilities and it would be interesting to identify how the significance of behavioral and outcome-based controls affects the relationships within this model. Research has often pinpointed dysfunctional properties of marketing control systems, and these are in sharp contrast to the justice values that underlie procedural justice. Investigating such a paradox will prove insightful. Given the inherent political relationship between marketing and other functional groupings within the firm, potential research opportunities should arise from overlaying procedural justice within a broader business strategy framework. The ‘turf battles’ that are characteristic of strategy formulation across the firm are typical but they present challenges for achieving market-led business strategies. Given the potential benefits that can arise from achieving desirable perceptions of procedural justice reported in this study, such insights at the business level would be beneficial.