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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Raul Espejo

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of the knowledge that Beer's viable system model helps when applied to the study of change processes in organisations.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of the knowledge that Beer's viable system model helps when applied to the study of change processes in organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper develops a case study constructed on interviews and shared reflections by the author and a key player in the company. Aspects of the case study are then seen with an epistemological lens.

Findings

While it is apparent that ideas, purposes, values or policies depend on resources to happen, this paper argues that it is necessary their embodying in effective relations to succeed creating and producing desirable meanings.

Research limitations/implications

Some forms of embodiment are more effective than others. The viable system model offers embodiment criteria to increase the chances of a successful production of ideas, purposes, values and policies, and the case study shows that for this purpose a limitation is transforming long‐established relationships.

Originality/value

This paper uses a particular and unique situation to illustrate through the viable system model some of the general difficulties that organisations face in achieving desirable transformations.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

David Stokes and Wendy Lomax

Marketing in entrepreneurial contexts, such as small business, relies heavily on word of mouth (WOM) recommendations for customer acquisition. However, we know little…

Abstract

Marketing in entrepreneurial contexts, such as small business, relies heavily on word of mouth (WOM) recommendations for customer acquisition. However, we know little about how WOM processes work for small firms, or how owner‐managers can influence them. This case study of an entrepreneurial owner of an independent hotel is used to illustrate the problems associated with WOM, and potential strategies to overcome them. The owner‐manager researched existing hotel customers through face‐to‐face interviews and a questionnaire. The results confirmed the importance of WOM, but found two sets of dissonance. One was between input WOM types and sources, the other between output WOM content and targets. The owner‐manager improved the effectiveness of WOM communications through a variety of interventions, thus demonstrating that WOM can be an effective part of a marketing strategy for a small firm.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2002

David Stokes and Robert Blackburn

There is a tendency to associate business “closure” with business “failure”, confusing owners that close a business with ‘unsuccessful’ entrepreneurs. This article reports…

Abstract

There is a tendency to associate business “closure” with business “failure”, confusing owners that close a business with ‘unsuccessful’ entrepreneurs. This article reports on a study into the experiences of business owners who have left their business. Three stages of research, including interviews and a postal questionnaire, tracked businesses that closed, what the owners did next and what they learned from the experience. The results suggest that some common assumptions need challenging in order to remove the stigma from closing down a business. The overall conclusion is that the closure process can represent a positive, learning experience. Even owners who have had unsuccessful ventures are motivated and more able to make it work next time because of lessons learned. This provides further support for the concept of the serial entrepreneur.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

David Stokes

Proposes a conceptualisation of “entrepreneurial marketing” based on the practices of successful entrepreneurs. The methodology took account of specific issues in…

Abstract

Proposes a conceptualisation of “entrepreneurial marketing” based on the practices of successful entrepreneurs. The methodology took account of specific issues in researching entrepreneurs such as lack of common understanding of management terms, and the influence of ego on participants’ responses. Depth interviews used critical incident technique to elicit accounts from entrepreneurs of their marketing practices. Focus groups supplemented individual interviews to test the candour of responses. The results indicated that successful entrepreneurs undertake marketing in unconventional ways. They tend to focus first on innovations, and only second on customer needs. They target customers through a bottom‐up process of elimination, rather than deliberate segmentation, targeting and positioning strategies. They rely on interactive marketing methods communicated through word‐of‐mouth, rather than a more conventional marketing mix. They monitor the marketplace through informal networks, rather than formalised market research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2002

David Stokes, Sameera Ali Syed and Wendy Lomax

Owner‐managers of small businesses invariably cite word of mouth recommendations as the principal way in which they attract new customers. Marketing theory is…

Abstract

Owner‐managers of small businesses invariably cite word of mouth recommendations as the principal way in which they attract new customers. Marketing theory is under‐developed in this field with little empirical evidence about the recommending behaviour of small business customers and referral groups. The case study of an independent health club reported here illustrates how these processes can be researched and the results used to influence word of mouth recommendations. The owner‐manager of the club carried out some basic research on his customer base in order to identify the types of members who were most active in recommending the club, and the stimuli that led to recommendations being made. A key finding was that newer members were more likely to recommend than those who had been members for some time, contradicting the implications of relationship marketing theories that long standing customers generate most recommendations. Membership more than doubled following a number of activities designed to increase recommending behaviour. The most important stimuli to recommendations were believed to be involvement with the club, incentives and experiential factors. The case study indicates that word of mouth strategies benefit from research to find out which customers are recommending the business, what they are recommending about the business and what prompts them to do so.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2000

David Stokes

This paper considers how marketing can be made more appropriate in entrepreneurial contexts by proposing a conceptual model of the processes of marketing as undertaken by…

Abstract

This paper considers how marketing can be made more appropriate in entrepreneurial contexts by proposing a conceptual model of the processes of marketing as undertaken by entrepreneurs. Although marketing is a key factor in the survival and development of business ventures, a number of entrepreneurial characteristics seem to be at variance with marketing according to the textbook. These include over‐reliance on a restricted customer base, limited marketing expertise, and variable, unplanned effort. However, entrepreneurs and small business owners interpret marketing in ways that do not conform to standard textbook theory and practise. An examination of four key marketing concepts indicates ways in which entrepreneurial marketing differs from traditional marketing theory. Entrepreneurs tend to be “innovation‐oriented”, driven by new ideas and intuitive market feel, rather than customer oriented, or driven by rigorous assessment of market needs. They target markets through “bottom‐up” self‐selection and recommendations of customers and other influence groups, rather than relying on “top‐down” segmentation, targeting and positioning processes. They prefer interactive marketing methods to the traditional mix of the four or seven “P’s”. They gather information through informal networking rather than formalised intelligence systems. These processes play to entrepreneurial strengths and represent marketing that is more appropriate in entrepreneurial contexts, rather than marketing which is second best due to resource limitations.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1998

Neil Crosby, Anthony Lavers and John Murdoch

Examines the phenomenon of cross‐border property lending and some issues regarding lending procedures and decision‐making processes in the context of the relationship…

Abstract

Examines the phenomenon of cross‐border property lending and some issues regarding lending procedures and decision‐making processes in the context of the relationship between lender and professional adviser. Commences by placing these procedures and processes in the context of the development of cross‐border European property investment and finance. The UK has been a popular destination for overseas investors and lenders over the last decade and is therefore used as a case study to examine the additional institutional risk that overseas lenders may face when operating outside of their own country and obtaining advice from home professionals. The research identified a lack of clarity in roles and relationships between lender and adviser, difficulties in communications both internally and between overseas branches and headquarters and failures in provision and interpretation of advice. Concludes by identifying the issues which may need to be addressed generally by lenders and their advisers, when lenders are operating in overseas markets.

Details

Journal of Property Valuation and Investment, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-2712

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

Charles Blankson and David Stokes

In the UK, some 95 per cent of firms are considered small businesses. Although there is a general agreement in the literature that a market oriented firm is one in which…

Abstract

In the UK, some 95 per cent of firms are considered small businesses. Although there is a general agreement in the literature that a market oriented firm is one in which all employees are committed to the continuous creation of superior value for the customer, what is not clear is whether the market orientation concept is appreciated by the small business owner. A postal survey is conducted among owner‐managers aimed at assessing marketing practices within the UK small business sector. The results identify three key strategies (management/staff relationship, profitability and changing markets) employed by owner‐managers. Conclusions, managerial implications and future research directions are discussed.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

David Stokes and Matthew James

A considerable body of literature has emerged in recent years that has documented the increasing importance of innovative practices in small business firms within the…

Abstract

A considerable body of literature has emerged in recent years that has documented the increasing importance of innovative practices in small business firms within the United Kingdom. Much of this literature has developed in response to reports that UK firms were underperforming in the area of innovative practices in comparison to firms in other countries. The present paper asserts that an inextricable link exists between innovation and marketing, particularly in the field of new product development, and seeks to generate a clearer picture of the characteristics of both innovative owner‐managers and innovative businesses. On the basis of data drawn from a sample of 233 small and medium‐sized businesses in greater London, archetypes of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses are developed. The typical innovative business owner is shown to be young to middle‐aged and is willing to take risks and embrace new technologies. The typical innovative business is in the start‐up stage of development and is in the possession of a current business plan and markeing plan. The implications of these archetypes are discussed, as are concerns regarding how best to measure innovation and to evaluate the role of innovation in relation to small businesses.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2002

Nicholas Wilson and David Stokes

“Marketing, as it relates to the arts, is not about intimidation or coercion or abandoning an artistic vision. It is not ‘hard‐selling’ or deceptive advertising. It is a…

Abstract

“Marketing, as it relates to the arts, is not about intimidation or coercion or abandoning an artistic vision. It is not ‘hard‐selling’ or deceptive advertising. It is a sound, effective technology for creating exchanges and influencing behaviour that, when properly applied, must be beneficial to both parties involved in the exchange” (Kotler and Scheff, 1997). The focus of this paper is on how owners/managers of small and medium sized Independent businesses in the music industry (“cultural entrepreneurs”) create exchange and influence behaviour when accessing finance for their businesses. The paper is based on Leadbeater and Oakley’s (1999) description of a “new” model of work and creative production, derived from cultural entrepreneurs’ characteristic “independence”. With reference to initial findings from a major Government‐sponsored research project looking at the extent to which access to finance acts as a barrier to growth for small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Music Industry, the paper identifies some potential difficulties such independence might lead to in creating beneficial exchange. The importance of appropriate partnership and promotion strategies, effective communication skills, and financial self‐sufficiency are highlighted in the context of the Industry’s uncertain environment. In conclusion, it is argued that the reconciliation of the entrepreneurs’ independence on the one hand with the qualities that allow mutually beneficial exchange on the other, is a primary requisite for effective cultural entrepreneurship.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

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