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Moving from a goods- to a service-oriented organization: a perspective on the role of corporate culture and human resource management

Kristina Zabala (Department of Strategy and Information Systems, Deusto Business School, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain)
José Antonio Campos (Department of Marketing, Deusto Business School, Bilbao, Spain)
Lorea Narvaiza (Department of Marketing, Deusto Business School, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 6 September 2021

Issue publication date: 6 May 2022




This study aims to investigate the internal elements that help in the introduction of a service logic into a goods-oriented organization by focusing on corporate culture and human resource management (HRM) practices.


The study uses a qualitative single case study research design. Data have been collected through archival data and 14 semi-structured interviews to managers, employees and retailers of a bike manufacturer.


The research identifies the following three new internal elements affecting the service orientation of corporate culture of a company with a customization strategy: shared vision built up with the participation of the whole organization; rooting the service orientation into the past history; passion and collaborative study deployed through digital tools. Additionally, related to HRM, the research finds another two elements: emotional salary and that a collective way of understanding and sharing the service infusion is needed.

Research limitations/implications

Given that this is a qualitative research based on a single case study the identified key elements of corporate culture and HRM practices cannot be used as a predictive tool. However, the depth of evidence is significant and allows analytical generalizations, which enable us to put forward tentative propositions for future research.

Practical implications

For managers of industrial firms, the identified elements provide an insight on how to smooth the transition from goods-to service-oriented organization. The shift demands the development of an adequate corporate culture and distinctive management of human resources.


Building on previous literature, the research offers the academic community five new soft elements to be studied in the service infusion process and can guide top managers on how to engage the entire organisation in a service-oriented manner.



This paper is part of the “Cooperatives as an employment policy instrument to address new challenges in the world of work” project (RTI2018-097715-B-I00), financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the State Bureau of Investigation and the European Regional Development Fund 2018.


Zabala, K., Campos, J.A. and Narvaiza, L. (2022), "Moving from a goods- to a service-oriented organization: a perspective on the role of corporate culture and human resource management", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 1197-1207.



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