Advances in the internal marketing concept: definition, synthesis and extension
Lecturer in Retailing and Marketing, The Business School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Pervaiz K. Ahmed
Unilever Lecturer in Innovation Management, University of Bradford Management Centre, Bradford, UK Keywords Services marketing, Internal marketing, Customer orientation, Service quality Abstract Over 20 years ago internal marketing was first proposed as a solution to the problem of delivering consistently high service quality. However, despite the rapidly growing literature, very few organisations actually implement the concept in practice as there does not, as yet, exist a single unified concept of what is meant by internal marketing. Critically examines the internal marketing concept and delineates its scope by tracing the major developments in the concept since its inception. The literature review suggests three major phases in the development of the concept, namely an employee motivation and satisfaction phase, a customer orientation phase, and a strategy implementation/change management phase. Proposes a definition and a set of core criteria that are essential features of an internal marketing program. Also explores the interrelationship between the proposed criteria and suggests a framework for empirical investigation of the IM concept in the context of services marketing. Discusses managerial implications arising from the proposed definition and model of internal marketing.
Introduction More than 20 years ago internal marketing (IM) was first proposed as a solution to the problem of delivering consistently high service quality by Berry et al. (1976). However, despite the rapidly growing literature on IM (see for example, Barnes, 1989; Berry, 1981; Cahill, 1996; Collins and Payne, 1991; Flipo, 1986; George, 1977, 1990; Gronroos, 1981, 1985; È