Corporate culture was introduced firstly in the late 1970s (Pettigrew, 1979). It was defined as the “basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic taken-for-granted fashion and organisation’s view of itself and its environment (Johnson and Scholes, 1999). However, there are a lot of definitions for culture but there are some characteristics they should be found in all of them, and they are: holistic, historically determined, related to anthropological concepts, socially constructed, soft, and difficult to change (Hofstede et al.
Smircich (1983) summarized the theoretical features of organizational culture in five paradigms, which are: comparative management, contingency management, organizational cognition, organizational symbolism, and structural or psychodynamic perspective. To implement internal marketing into culture, the CEO, as the leader of the organization, is responsible of integrating internal marketing into the overall culture of the organization.
He must participate this implementation with the other top level management in order to be successful (Green, Walls, and Schrest, 1994).
This can help the organisation to find solutions such as a service-orientation, which can be improved by treating employees as “partial customers” (Bowen, 1986). This will enhance and develop the level of communication that takes place within the organisation and will lead to participate it at every level of the organisation.
Internal marketing and communications: Communication is a crucial activity in the organisational management and development. Certainly, one of the most common internal marketing applications is in the crafting of internal communication strategies. When this is done in matching with external marketing communications, advertised guarantees stand better chances to reach to the required level of performance because staff is better prepared to perform them.
There are two points were mentioned by O’Reilly and Roberts (1976) about the organisational communication and its influence on the internal marketing; if the employees were able to communicate freely, this will raise the rate of information exchange. The second point that if the environment was open, this will lead to make it easier on employees to make suggestions without being anxious. Marketing orientation in practice (applying market orientation on schools and universities): A) How market orientation affected schools and universities?
Many people think that marketing is all about selling and promotion. These are important aspects, but the main idea of marketing is matching the product’s (school’s) offerings with the wants and needs of customers (students and parents) in order to achieve both goals. Marketing wants to offer student and parent satisfaction by meeting their needs and wants. Whether they distinguish it or not, all schools market to a better or lower degree.
Even with many doubts and concerns about marketing most schools acknowledge that it would most probably take an important part in determining their success. Schools market for three reasons: to boost or maintain enrolments; increase financial resources; and improve the school’s reputation or image. These reasons have become more important with the increasing of competition due to demographic social, political, and economic changes in the environment around them.
B) Marketing Activities: Marketing activities in schools have increased, although the existing approach mainly reflects the idea that marketing is basically promotion, public relations and fundraising. Schools promote their marketing activities threw prospectuses, advertisements in newspapers, letter drops, school videos, word-of-mouth advertising, promotional visits, shopping, etc. A recent development advertising tool which is being used by schools is the school homepage.
Public relations activities are a developing trend and include activities such as festivals, open days, newspaper articles, special events, public performances and educational programs for parents. Despite the fact that most schools emphasize quality education and excellence, an emerging marketing approach is to emphasize a distinctive feature, program or aspect of the school’s educational program; for example, philosophy programs in schools have been given media exposure. Yet schools have to do more than just perform marketing activities which in some different situations may not create the predicted results: schools need to become market oriented.
C) Marketing Orientation: Increasing the diversity and level of sophistication of marketing activities does not assure that a school is market oriented. Research in industry is suggesting that while being involved in marketing activities can be important, ‘market orientation’ is an important element in determining an organization’s success. Market orientation is simply more than ‘getting close to the customer.’ But organization can be market oriented only if it would totally understands and learns its market. In order to permeate every organizational function, customer information should go beyond research and promotional functions.
D) What does it mean to be Market Orientated for a School or University? Marketing orientation, as we explained above, is generally regarded as the implementation of the ‘marketing concept’ considering that the most important thing for the company is customer’s needs. Talking about School and University, the marketing concept begins with the student’s and parent’s needs as the main function of school existence. The school must recognize these needs and then decide which one of them it should try to satisfy.
All members of the school community (teachers, managers, even clerks and assistants) have the responsibility of achieving that. The opportunity to meet school objectives will take place through the School’s and University’s efforts to discover students and parents satisfaction. The determinants of internal marketing orientation: Determinants of internal marketing orientation are those factors that control the development of the set of attitudes and the set of practice that include the concept of internal marketing orientation. We can summarize these determinants into the following two groups (G. Avlonitis and S. Gounaris):
1. The internal environment of the organisation: Internal marketing orientation mainly divided into two parts; attitudes that guide the company’s culture, and practices that guide its behaviour. Pascal (1990) argued that management can control the culture and put it in the right directions in order to reach the organisation’s goals. By doing this, the company must change its strategic direction in order to be in line with the implementation of the internal marketing orientation, and that will require modifying its mission as well(Cravens, 1991). After that the top management team must do any necessary changes on the structural arrangements in order to fit with the new strategies.
Doing this may affect the company in certain circumstances, because if a new modification is needed and it was against the company’s strategy, it will create a situation of instability between the strategy and the culture of the company (Schwartz and Davis, 1981). This situation is common between the companies that are trying to adopt an internal marketing orientation. Therefore this can be a determinant of applying internal marketing orientation for organisations.
2. The different key factors of success for top managements: The top management team is responsible about taking the decisions which concerns the company’s internal environment and the process of marketing orientation development. However, this development usually originates from senior management within the organisation (Shapiro 1988). In some cases, companies are adopting successful previous experiences as a guidelines about how should they move on into the future (Ferguson and Dickinson 1982).
Therefore, the Top Management’s team observation of the importance of different Key Factors of Success should be expected to decide whether marketing orientation will be selected as the centre for creating and nourishing a competitive advantage. Aaker (1989) suggested three questions in order to take the decision of building a competitive advantage based on the development of marketing orientation: 1- Does it make sense to invest in building a certain competitive advantage under the given market conditions?
2- Is the development of this advantage efficient and effective? 3- Can this competitive advantage that will be derived by the development of a Marketing Orientation be sustained in the long-run? Answering these questions needs that the company considered other factors of success and decided which are the factors that will lead to better performance in its market (Ohmae, 1983). A good example about this case is if a company applied in the past a cost leadership strategy, and this strategy was successful, the company then will observe this strategy as a key factor of success and as a result will continue with the same strategy.
But the problem will start when this strategy is no longer successful, then the top management team have to consider other alternatives such as aggressive sales strategy, and that will cause a change in the degree of internal marketing orientation for the company. Conclusion: It is essential that any business building effort for service and creative organisations starts by identifying the gaps between what the staff believes the essence of the business is, in opposition to what management wants it to be, versus how clients and customers presently see the organisation. This process will give better internal marketing.
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