(2014), "Executive summary of “Marketing culture to service climate: the influence of employee control and flexibility”", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-07-2014-0260Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Executive summary of “Marketing culture to service climate: the influence of employee control and flexibility”
Article Type: Executive summary and implications for managers and executives From: Journal of Services Marketing, Volume 28, Issue 6
This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of the article. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the material present.
A firm’s culture describes the norms and values that managers and other employees believe are present. A firm’s climate illustrates how the firm operationalizes the culture in everyday behaviors. If managers have successfully developed a culture within the firm, then a climate should be present to reinforce the values and beliefs of that culture. Boundary spanning employees can project a climate of service to their customers through an enhanced understanding of their needs, as developed under the firm’s market-oriented culture.
So how does a firm’s market orientation affect the service climate felt by its customers? What role does that specific personality characteristic “a flexible disposition” play in influencing service climate? What part do flexible empowered employees play in providing the superior service that firms crave to differentiate themselves from the opposition? The service climate permeates through all levels of a firm, including those boundary-spanning employees and their exchanges with customers. By adopting a market orientation, a firm sends a message to frontline employees regarding the culture it is developing and the climate it expects them to provide to customers.
In “Marketing culture to service climate: the influence of employee control and flexibility”, Tyler R. Morgan et al. explore how firm market orientation, as a culture, affects the service climate that develops in the firm. Specifically, they describe how firm culture, as created through market orientation, influences the service climate perceived by boundary-spanning employees. They also investigate how the flexible disposition of these employees contributes to the service climate at various levels of market orientation.
They find that, as managers attempt to develop a service climate through a market-oriented firm culture, they will find success by providing boundary-spanning employees with control and by hiring employees who possess flexibility as a personality trait. Strengthening of the service climate occurs when boundary spanners have the control to modify the services they provide to customers. Highly flexible boundary spanners are more creative in their offerings to customers and providing the services they require. The positive association between flexibility and service climate indicates that boundary-spanning employees with a flexible disposition are able to more easily engage the practices, procedures and behaviors that are supported by the firm regarding service and contribute to the service climate.
Boundary-spanning employees with a flexible disposition are further empowered to provide increasingly valuable service to customers if the firm’s culture is centered on meeting customer demands via market orientation. This study agrees with previous research which has said that the personality of the boundary spanner is of substantive importance, with flexibility being fundamental to success.
This means that, first of all, managers should recognize that the culture of the firm influences the climate that develops. In the context of service, a market orientation, as dictated by managers, is most successful when coupled with boundary-spanning employees who have a flexible disposition. Therefore, the firm will benefit from training managers and hiring the right boundary-spanning employees. Specifically, the results indicate that managers must promote a market-oriented culture and provide control to boundary-spanner employees. Thus, firms will need to work with managers to make sure they understand the ideas and concepts associated with a market-oriented firm and that they empower their employees with the control required to satisfy customer service needs as part of the strengthening of the service climate.
For many years, researchers have investigated personality traits as important to the interactive customer environment. However, building on the findings of previous researchers regarding the importance of flexibility, these results present further clarity to the benefits of boundary-spanner flexibility. Managers may find it useful to evaluate employees regarding flexibility via an assessment of their personality to ensure they are matched with an appropriate position in the firm. Those individuals with higher flexibility are more likely to be successful in providing service to customers. This will be especially true for those employees provided adequate control from managers within the market-oriented culture of the firm.
The results of the study – based on an US firm operating in the hospitality industry – did not support a proposition that market orientation alone is enough to create a service climate. Market-oriented firms perform better than their non-market-oriented counterparts, but it seems that, in the context of service, a market orientation alone does not account for an increased service climate. Employee adoption of a particular climate has been shown to be related to manager promotion of that climate through their actions. However, the study did not find that management actions, as they pertain to a market-oriented culture, were directly influential in the service climate that develops.
To read the full article enter 10.1108/JSM-08-2013-0226 into your search engine.
(A preícis of the article “Marketing culture to service climate: the influence of employee control and flexibility”. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)