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Operationalizing the concept of value – an action research‐based model

Dag Näslund (Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, South Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Annika Olsson (Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Sture Karlsson (Tetra Pak Business Support, Lund, Sweden)

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 1 May 2006




While the importance of measuring customer satisfaction levels is well established, less research exists on how organizations operationalize such knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to describe an action research (AR) case study resulting in a workshop model to operationalize the concept of value. The model facilitates organizational learning and mindset changes in order to remove both cultural and structural barriers to change.


The model is based on AR in three case organizations. The research, over four years in the primary case organization, included phases of planning, action (implementing), observing (evaluating), and analysis and reflection as a basis for new planning and action. By using secondary case organizations the results and methods from the primary case organization were validated and further developed.


The model includes methods to help organizations understand and define what customer value is for any given specific organization, tools to change the employee outlook from a functional/feature oriented mindset into a process/values oriented mindset, and tools to help organizations design and manage the value‐adding core processes. The results after implementation clearly indicate that cutting costs and eliminating waste does not necessarily mean that the processes will be less effective. On the contrary, customers are significantly more satisfied than before while the processes cost less and take less time. Furthermore, throughout the project, the employee satisfaction index improved.


The model presented expands the steps of understanding, creating and delivering value by changing internal processes and employee mindsets.



Näslund, D., Olsson, A. and Karlsson, S. (2006), "Operationalizing the concept of value – an action research‐based model", The Learning Organization, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 300-332.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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