Você está na página 1de 18

Internal Marketing

- A Way of Improving Service Quality

Anna Gudmundson

Christine Lundberg

ETOUR

Östersund

Sweden

e-mails: name.name@etour.mh.se
CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................1
The origins of the internal marketing concept........................................................................1

Definitions of the internal marketing concept.........................................................................1

Why do organisations need internal marketing? ...................................................................2

The objective of internal marketing........................................................................................3

The strategic and tactical levels of internal marketing...........................................................4

Management methods .........................................................................................................................5


Personnel policy...................................................................................................................................5
Internal training policy ..........................................................................................................................6
Planning and control procedures .........................................................................................................6
Internal marketing on a tactical level....................................................................................................6
The other side of the coin ....................................................................................................................7

METHODOLOGY...................................................................................................................7
Sample and data collection....................................................................................................7

OBJECTIVES.........................................................................................................................8

EMPIRICAL RESULTS ..........................................................................................................8

Internal marketing on a strategic and tactical level ..............................................................................8

Motivating management methods..........................................................................................8


Motivating personnel policy ...................................................................................................9
Job descriptions ...................................................................................................................................9

Recruitment of personnel.....................................................................................................................9

Reward systems ..................................................................................................................................10

Motivating training policy........................................................................................................10


Motivating planning and control procedures ..........................................................................11

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................12

BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................14

All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other
means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without
the permission in writing from the authors.
ABSTRACT
In the service sector, quality is closely related to employee performance. An essential feature
of any successful organisation is motivated employees. Therefore, the attitude of an employee
towards his/her place of work and the extent to which an employer is able to motivate
employees may have a direct effect on the quality of those products offered to tourists. One of
the most important challenges facing managers is the creation of a context within which
employees feel motivated and will act in order to achieve the goals of the organisation.

The internal marketing concept emerged from service marketing and its main concern was to
get everyone who was involved in service encounters – the front line or contact staff – to
perform better in the interaction with customers. The usage of the concept has extended
beyond its traditional field and is now accepted in all kinds of organisations. The overall
objective of the internal marketing process is to attract suitable staff members as contact
personnel and to managerial positions, to have a high retention rate among the co-workers and
to develop motivated and customer-conscious employees.

This study is based upon field research carried out in the ski-resort of Åre situated in the
northern part of Sweden. Data collection was carried out in the form of in-depth interviews.
The sample for the in-depth interviews consisted of managers from four hotels in Åre, which
offer both accommodation and food and beverage.

The findings of this study show that attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining qualified
employees were of primary concern for management and were included in a deliberate
company strategy. When working with these parameters, management strongly emphasised
customer-consciousness and sales-mindedness. Management of the different companies was
aware of the importance of front-line personnel’s immediate effect on customer satisfaction
and how important staff autonomy and know-how were for business success. There was also a
great amount of understanding for the need of an information process, which were directed
from and to every side of the organisation. As a result of this understanding, the companies
worked with different kinds of platforms for feedback and information flows.

Seasonal fluctuations in demand pose, according to management, the greatest obstacle for
working with internal marketing activities. Seasonality has negative effects on the selection,
recruitment, retention, training, development, and motivation of employees in the companies
included in the study.
INTRODUCTION

In the service sector, quality is closely related to employee performance. An essential feature
of any successful organisation is motivated employees. Therefore, the attitude of an employee
towards his/her place of work and the extent to which an employer is able to motivate
employees may have a direct effect on the quality of those products offered to tourists. One of
the most important challenges facing managers is the creation of a context within which
employees feel motivated and will act in order to achieve the goals of the organisation.
Managers may, by influencing the context, affect the degree of motivation among the
employees. Maybe nowhere, is the understanding of employee motivation more important
than in a customer service oriented business such as the tourism industry (Lee-Ross, 1999a).

According to Bowen and Lawler (in Payne et al, 1999), there are four organisational
ingredients that must be shared with employees:

“(1) information about the organization’s performance, (2) rewards based on the
organization’s performance, (3) knowledge that enables employees to understand
and contribute to organizational performance, and (4) power to make decisions
that influence organizational direction and performance” (Payne et al, 1999, p.
139).

The origins of the internal marketing concept

The internal marketing concept emerged from service marketing and its main concern was ”to
get everyone who was involved in service encounters – the front line or contact staff – to
perform better in the interaction with customer” (Gummesson, 2000, p. 27). The usage of the
concept has extended beyond its traditional field and is now accepted in all kinds of
organisations. In internal marketing, the internal market consists of the employees in the
organisation and according to theories of quality management, employees are internal
customers to one another. This is summarised by Gummesson (2000):

“An employee’s ability to influence and satisfy the needs of others


inside the organization is considered an antecedent to external
customer satisfaction. Only if internal customer relationships work
can the quality of the outcome be excellent, thus creating satisfied, or
even better, delighted external customers” (Gummesson, 2000, p. 28).

Definitions of the internal marketing concept

One of the most basic definitions of the concept internal marketing is, according to Cahill
(1996), presented by Berry and Parasuraman in their book Marketing Services: Competing
Through Quality (1991):

”Internal marketing is attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining


qualified employees through job-products that satisfy their needs.
Internal marketing is the philosophy of treating employees as
customers-indeed, ”wooing” employees...-and is the strategy of
shaping job-products to fit human needs” (Cahill, 1996, p. 3).

1
This definition emphasises the importance of satisfying employees’ needs in order to attract,
develop, motivate and retain the best-qualified personnel and it has a strong influx of human
resource management thinking. In fact, there has been some critique put forward concerning
this matter, in which a line between human resource management and marketing has been
attempted to be drawn (Rafiq & Ahmed, 1993, Ballantyne, 2000).

Some definitions of the concept emphasise customer-consciousness and sales-mindedness


among the personnel, such as Johnson and Seymour (1985), which argue that internal
marketing activities ought to:

”create an internal environment which supports customer-


consciousness and sales-mindedness” (Johnson & Seymour, 1985, p.
226)

and Grönroos’ (1994) definition of the concept, which states that:

”the internal market of employees is best motivated for service


mindedness and customer-oriented performance by an active,
marketing-like approach, where a variety of activities are used
internally in an active, marketinglike and coordinated way”
(Grönroos, 1994, p. 13).

Other definitions of internal marketing underscore the importance of an understanding of the


firm’s mission and objectives among the employees, such as Johnson, Scheuing, and Gaida
(1986), who define it as a:

”service firm’s efforts to provide all members of the organization with


a clear understanding of the corporate mission and objectives and with
the training, motivation, and evaluation to achieve the desired
objectives” (Johnson, Scheuing & Gaida, 1986, p. 140).

Recent definitions of the concept stress the purpose of enhancing service quality:

“It is a strategy for developing relationships between staff across


internal organisational boundaries. This is done so that staff autonomy
and know-how may combine in opening up knowledge generating
processes that challenge any internal activities that need to be
changed. The purpose of this activity is to enhance quality of external
marketing relationships (Ballantyne, 2000, p. 43).

In sum, these definitions indicate that internal marketing is a philosophy for the management
of comparatively large service organisations, where the employees are viewed as a customer
market and with the overall objective of enhancing the service quality.

Why do organisations need internal marketing?

Employees in service organisations, especially the front-line personnel, have an immediate


effect on customer satisfaction. It is in this context that the concept of internal marketing has
been introduced. In this view, Berry suggests according to Grönroos (1983), that
organisations should adopt market research, traditional marketing activities and market
segmentation in order to attract, retain and to make the employees behave in a desired

2
manner. Grönroos (1983) suggests a much broader definition of the concept and claims that
“internal marketing should be viewed as a managerial philosophy that has strategic as well as
tactical implications throughout the company and its various business functions” (Grönroos,
1983, p. 92). The process of internal marketing is not, according to Cahill (1996), an end in it
self. The overall purpose of this philosophy is to become better at marketing on external
markets (Cahill, 1996).

The objective of internal marketing

The overall objective of the internal marketing process is to attract suitable staff members as
contact personnel and to managerial positions, to have a high retention rate among the co-
workers (Grönroos, 1996a) and “to develop motivated and customer-conscious employees”
(Grönroos, 1983, p. 93). The internal marketing process is not to be viewed as a process,
which only moves in one direction – from the top down. On the contrary, the process needs to
be directed from and to every side of the organisation in order for it to be successful
(Grönroos, 1996a).

Hales and Mecrate-Butcher (1994) suggest that the purpose of internal marketing activities is:

“to create, at least, a stable workforce, with reduced absenteeism and


labour turnover and, at best, a workforce with high levels of morale,
initiative and responsibility, committed to customer service” (Hales &
Mecrate-Butcher, 1994, p. 316).

In order to attain the overall objective of internal marketing, the firm needs to create an
internal environment in which the employees behave in a desired way, which is facilitated by
active and interfunctional activities (Grönroos, 1983). The two major human factors that can
influence productivity are the abilities and efforts of the employees in their work (Pinder,
1998). Regarding commitment, research suggests that it is a useful predictor of e.g. turnover,
absenteeism and job performance (Paxon, 1993; Eby, Freeman, Rush and Lance, 1999;
Bishop, Scott and Burroughs, 2000). There are two quite different definitions to be found in
literature, which have reached some degree of popularity (Paxon, 1993). According to Paxon
(1993), Mowday, Porter and Steers (1982) describe commitment as:

“the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and


involvement in a particular organization. Conceptually, it can be
characterized by at least three factors: (a) a strong belief in and
acceptance of the organization’s goals and values; (b) a willingness to
exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and (c) a
strong desire to maintain membership in the organization” (Paxon,
1993, p. 212).

The other definition that Paxon (1993) refers to, which has been provided by Hrebiniak and
Alutto (1972) is built upon the work of Becker (1960) and describe commitment as:

“a structural phenomenon which occurs as a result of individual-


organizational transactions and alterations in side-bets or investments
over time” (Paxon, 1993, p 213).

In this definition the employee’s perceived cost of leaving, e.g. loss of benefits or cost of
making new friends, is what influence the employee’s decision whether to stay or leave the

3
organisation (Mottaz, 1989; Singh and Vinnicombe, 1998; Shepherd and Mathews, 2000;
Clugston, Howell and Dorfman, 2000, Mowday, 1998). Both definitions describe
commitment as a bond or linkage of the individual to the organisation but they differ in terms
of how this bond develops (Paxon, 1993). According to the first definition, commitment is a
result of an evaluation of the work situation, which links the employee to the organisation
(Mottaz, 1989; Shepherd and Mathews, 2000). This type of commitment has in the literature
been referred to as attitudinal or affective commitment and the second type calculative or
continuance commitment, which describes the different views of the construct (Paxon, 1993).

According to Paxon (1993), both types of commitment are assumed to create links between
the organisation and the employee but the nature of the links is completely different.
Regarding attitudinal commitment employees e.g. remain with the organisation because they
want to, whereas employees whose primary link with the organisation is based on calculative
commitment remain because the cost of leaving is too high (Paxon, 1993). Depending on
whether the linkage between the employee and the organisation is based on attitudinal or
calculative commitment one can expect on-the-job behaviour to differ. For example, a study
of employee commitment to a food service organisation found attitudinal commitment to be
positively related to job performance, whereas calculative commitment was negatively
related. Therefore, the nature of commitment may influence the value of commitment to the
organisation (Paxon, 1993; Singh and Vinnicombe, 1998).

There is no simple answer to the questions of how to enhance productivity and how to obtain
committed employees. However, it is important to obtain a basic understanding of what
motivates and what satisfies employees at their places of work in order to alter or influence
employee behaviour (Wright, 1989).

The strategic and tactical levels of internal marketing

The internal marketing process can be realised on two different levels: on a strategic and on a
tactical level (see table 1). The objective of the internal marketing process is, on a strategic
level, to pave the way for an internal milieu, which enhance customer-consciousness, sales-
mindedness and work motivation among the employees. This is accomplished through
supportive management methods, personnel policy, internal training policy and planning and
control procedures.

The objective of the internal marketing process is, on a tactical level, “to sell services,
supporting services (used as means of competition), campaigns, and single marketing efforts
to the employees” (Grönroos, 1983, p. 95). This objective is based on the following
principles: that the personnel are the first market of the service company, an understanding
among the employees why they are expected to perform in a certain way, an acceptance
among the employees of the services and activities of the company, a fully developed and
internally accepted service and working information channels (Grönroos, 1983).

4
Table 1. The Internal Marketing Concept – A Summary (Grönroos, 1983, p. 95)

Overall objective: To develop a motivated and customer-conscious personnel.

Strategic Level

Objective: To create an internal environment that supports customer-consciousness and


sales-mindedness among the personnel through supportive:

• Management methods;
• personnel policy;
• internal training policy;
• planning and control procedures.

Tactical Level

Objective: To sell services, supporting services (used as means of competition), campaigns,


and single marketing efforts to the employees based on these principles:

• “the personnel are the first market of the service company”;


• the employees must understand why they are expected to perform in a certain manner,
or in a certain situation actively support a given service or supporting service;
• the employees must accept the services and other activities of the company in order to
support the service in their contact with the customer;
• a service must be fully developed and internally accepted before it is launched;
• the internal information channels must work; personal selling is needed internally, too.

Management methods

Management methods, which aim to motivate employees, demand a decentralisation of the


decision-making process. This is needed in order for front-line personnel to be able to make
their own decisions during the service encounter. The management is of outmost importance
for the customer-consciousness firm and its employees (Grönroos, 1996a, Säby, 1987.
Motivating management methods are characterised by an understanding of management for
the employees’ working situation and an active interest in supporting employees in their work
(Grönroos, 1996a).

Personnel policy

A motivating personnel policy needs to be logical and just in its nature. If there is an absence
of such a policy, it is likely that internal marketing efforts become fruitless. Motivating
personnel policy starts of with job descriptions, which are customer-oriented and consider
marketing and sales responsibilities that come with the particular work. However, some
reflections are in order for too rigid job descriptions, which may have a negative outcome on
the flexibility of the front-line personnel. With successful job descriptions come a well-
adapted recruitment policy and recruitment procedures (Grönroos, 1996a). The concept of
recruitment is not easy to define. Breaugh and Starke (2000) refer to Barber's (1998)
definition of the concept:

"recruitment includes those practices and activities carried on by the


organization with the primary purpose of identifying and attracting
potential employees" (Breaugh and Starke, 2000, p. 407).

Since this definition fails to address the importance of recruiting individuals who have the
potential to be successful on the job some would argue that the notion of success should be
included. According to Breaugh and Starke (2000), the first stage in the recruitment process is
the establishment of objectives (e.g. what characterise the person, which the organisation aims

5
to employ). After the establishment of clear objectives, a recruitment strategy can be
developed and what recruitment resources to use can be decided upon. Thereafter, in order to
reach the objectives, the organisation can undertake and work with the necessary activities
like e.g. message formulation, newspaper ads, recruiters (Breaugh and Starke, 2000). Such a
recruitment policy consists of a segmentation of the potential work force, in order to find the
most suitable employees for the firm (Grönroos, 1996a, Cahill, 1996). Having obtained a
group of potential employees, the next stage in the process is to select who will become
member or members of the organisation. Interviewing the potential candidates is a common
strategy for selection and another approach is realistic job previews, which give the applicant
a more realistic view of the task at hand (Bonn and Forbringer, 1992). Reward systems (e.g.
monetary, promotion) should promote customer and market orientation (Grönroos, 1996a)
and also, together with educational incentives in an organisation's retention program, reduce
e.g. job turnover rates (Bonn and Forbringer, 1992).

Internal training policy

In every firm there is a need for an internal training policy, which aims to motivate the
employees in their work. Continuing professional development is needed, and should not only
cover the technicalities of the work itself, but more importantly the cultivation of customer
relations, marketing and sales (Cahill, 1996, Grönroos, 1996a, Säby, 1987). Rarely are the
front-line personnel of service organisations aware of their importance as marketers and
impact on the long-term benefits of an organisation. However, it should be noted that a
successful internal training policy is not the only answer to an organisation’s problems. No
internal training policy can produce positive results unless it is integrated with motivating
management methods, personnel policy, and planning and control procedures (Grönroos,
1996a).

Planning and control procedures

Service encounters between front-line personnel and customers are a natural part of everyday
life in the service industry. In these service encounters the front-line personnel have an
extraordinary opportunity to obtain information regarding the needs of the customers, the
quality of the delivery process and the customer-experienced product quality. Motivating
planning and control procedures should aim at ennobling this knowledge. However, all to
often these natural rendezvous between the organisation and the customers are damaged by
defective organisational systems (Grönroos, 1996a).

Internal marketing on a tactical level

The objective of internal marketing on a tactical level is to “sell services, supporting services
(used as means of competition), campaigns, and single marketing efforts to the employees”
(Grönroos, 1983, p. 95). This is achieved by viewing the employees as the first market of the
organisation (Gummesson, 2000, Grönroos, 1996a). Furthermore, an understanding must be
reached among the employees why they are expected to perform in a certain manner in a
certain situation. An acceptance among the employees of the services and other activities of
the company must be achieved, in order for them to support the service in their contact with
the customer (Carlzon & Hubendick, 1983, Normann, 1983, Grönroos, 1983, Cahill, 1996,
Säby, 1987). Moreover, the services of the organisation must be fully developed and
internally accepted before it is launched and internal information channels must work
(Grönroos, 1983).

6
The internal marketing mix for competitive advantage on a tactical level consists according to
Grönroos (1996a) of;

• interactive communication
(with the overall objective of changing attitudes),
• sales assistance
(e.g. pamphlets, slide shows),
• non-interactive communication
(e.g. advertisement, pamphlets, wall calendars),
• price
(salary levels and fringe benefits are directly comparable with the
price of a particular service),
• accessibility
(flexible working hours, geographical location of place of work),
• and support service activities
(e.g. meals and day nursery free of charge) (Grönroos, 1996a).

The other side of the coin

It is not an unfamiliar fact that there are two sides to a coin. This is also the case in internal
marketing. According to Grayson and Ambler (1999), are long term relations exposed to a
number of negative influences, which in turn hamper on the positive effects of long term
relationships (Moorman, Zaltman och Deshpandé, 1992). Grayson and Ambler’ (1999) study
validates Moorman, Zaltman, and Deshpandé’s (1992) results and they extend theirs by
showing that long term relationships have a negative effect on service use, which in turn
dampens the essential relationship component of trust (Grayson and Ambler, 1999).

Edvardsson and Gottfridsson (1999) argue for a more balanced relationship perspective,
which does not always view deep and long term relations as most optimal. Deep and long
term relationships are costly to establish, maintain, and develop. It is therefore of great
importance for an organisation to identify different kinds of relations and to evaluate what
kind of relationships to build with different kinds of individuals (Edvardsson och
Gottfridsson, 1999). Rafiq och Ahmed (1998), Grönroos (1996b), and Palmer (2000) have
also pointed out the costs of long term relationships.

METHODOLOGY

This study is based upon field research carried out in the ski-resort of Åre situated in the
northern part of Sweden. Data collection was carried out in the form of in-depth interviews.
Åre is a peripheral area, and like many other such areas, suffering from a high level of out-
migration among its inhabitants. The region is exposed to seasonal fluctuations in demand and
can be said to have one significant season. Since the internal labour market is weak and
labour a scarce resource, workers are often recruited from external markets. Large groups of
mostly young people move to the region for work during the winter season.

Sample and data collection

The sample for the in-depth interviews consisted of managers from four hotels in Åre, which
offer both accommodation and food and beverage. Data collection began in the middle of

7
March 2001. The in-depth interviews were by means of a tape, recorded to facilitate analysis
of the data. In comparison to quantitative methods, in-depth interviews provide the researcher
with a richness and depth of data (Kvale, 1996).

The questions used during the interviews were of the ‘open-end’ type. This method was used
due to the researchers’ wish to draw a rich picture of how the businesses in question viewed
and handled personnel issues related to service quality. The interviewers guided the
respondents around such themes as internal marketing, quality, recruitment,
education/training, commitment and work motivation etc, regarding the large group of
seasonally employed staff with short term contracts. This group consists, to a large extent, of
individuals moving to the area for work during the height of the season and staff members
with a long term working engagement were thereby excluded from consideration during the
interviews.

This method allowed the respondents to speak freely about the highlighted themes. The
interviewers also tested a new method during the interviews. After asking about recruitment,
education/training and commitment in general, the respondent was presented a list of
alternatives and was asked to give each a level of importance, using a 5-point Likert scale.
After the completion of the list, the respondent was asked to explain why the alternative
reached the particular level of importance. Thereby, a wide variety of alternatives were
covered, not causing the respondent to much confusion since the lists served as an aid for the
memory. The respondents also had time to reflect upon the given alternatives, which resulted
in a much richer answer, than could have been expected doing it otherwise.

OBJECTIVES

Recent definitions of the concept of internal marketing stress the importance of the employees
in reaching the objective of enhanced service quality to the external market. The study is
hoped to reveal if the businesses in question have appropriated the concept of internal
marketing and if they work with internal marketing activities regarding the short term
seasonally employed staff members. If so, what are the main objectives of internal marketing
strategies? It is also hoped that the study will reveal in what way these internal marketing
efforts are expressed on a strategic and a tactical level. Finally, do seasonal variations in
demand have an effect on internal marketing activities?

EMPIRICAL FINDINGS

Internal marketing on a strategic and tactical level

Motivating management methods

The objective of management methods is to create an internal milieu, which enhance


customer-consciousness, sales-mindedness and work motivation among the employees. As
one manager expressed it: “It is important to create and communicate the ‘company spirit’ to
the employees. This ‘company spirit’ shall permeate the whole company for the good of the
customer.” By creating supportive management methods, which allows employees to make
their own decisions in the interaction with the customer, it is hoped that this will be acquired.
According to the businesses included in the study, information regarding the company (e.g.
the history of the company, company policy, values and goals) is crucial to make an internal
milieu with a decentralised decision making process possible. There were general agreement

8
among the companies concerned that employees did not require expertise to take their own
decisions at the beginning of their employment, but would be provided with this competence
at a later state. As one manager expressed it: “You have to give them [employees] wind
beneath their wings.”

The decision making process is, according to the businesses, in the highest degree
decentralised within the given frames (e.g. company policy, menus etc): “The individual’s
own thinking, from the top dog through to the front personnel, is fundamental to the business.
You have to be able to make your own decisions and temporarily suspend a customer relation
in a way so that the customer wants to return. If you can ‘go the extra mile’ do it, just as long
as you conclude the customer relation in a positive way. In other words, use your brain!”

Another important factor for the enhancement of the internal environment is, according to the
businesses, feedback to the employees, e.g.: “If [name] does a good job, it is important to let
him/her know that we are satisfied with his/her performance.” Having a motivating
management and an open dialog with management were also seen as important in this regard.
The following quotation provides an adequate summary: “On the bottom line, if we
[management] don’t create a supportive internal environment and inspire confidence, we can
never ask our employees to take on any responsibility. If it turns out that we don’t inspire
confidence, that our managers don’t trust their subordinates, then we are already way off in
our recruitment process.”

Motivating personnel policy

Job descriptions

Motivating personnel policy starts of with job descriptions, which are customer-oriented and
consider marketing and sales responsibilities that come with a particular work. The businesses
included in the study worked with job descriptions on two different levels; on a individual or
work task based level and on a department level. Many of the job descriptions also included
different kinds of business ratio depending on the particular work task or department. The job
descriptions on a department level were particularly important tools for job rotation, which
was seen as an important way to achieve business success.

The businesses included in the study experienced a strong need for job descriptions from all
of their employees – both seasonal workers and those with a long term working engagement.
These job descriptions were presented to the employees in the beginning of the season, when
a majority of the staff started their employment. It served, not only, as an introduction to the
newly employed, but also as a much-needed remainder for the returning seasonal workers and
those with a long term working engagement. A policy for service encounters was generally
not included in these job descriptions. However, the businesses clearly stated that the
‘company spirit’, in which the company policy for service encounters was included, was
strongly communicated to the employees throughout the season.

Recruitment of personnel

One of the most difficult tasks for managers of tourism and hospitality businesses, which
suffer from the negative effects of seasonality, is the recruitment and retention of a qualified
workforce. The businesses in the study argued that the two main obstacles for a successful
recruitment and retention process were short term working engagements and that a majority
of the seasonal workers didn’t view their work as a long term profession. The businesses

9
experienced a relatively short and intense one-peak season and were therefore forced to attract
wholly qualified personnel from the beginning of the season.

When recruiting new personnel, the most valued traits of character were an open and positive
personality, sales-mindedness, and work experience from the particular line of business. The
employer valued personality and sales-mindedness by the general perception when meeting
the potential employee. This was pronounced by one of the managers: “Very often it’s just a
feeling you get for the individual in question – a feeling of whether he or she is a nice
person.” References were also viewed as an important tool when recruiting personnel.

One of the most important aspects when recruiting personnel was to put together the right
composition of individuals. Very often, seasonal workers on different departments of the
organisation created a strong sense of camaraderie and team spirit, which had a positive
outcome on the business success of the company. As one manager expressed it: “The most
important prerequisite for the workers to do a good job is that they are having a good time
while working and during their spare time.” It was not uncommon for these groups of
workers to stay together for two or three seasons. In light of the above, it could be concluded
that management were positive to the continuing return of seasonal workers.

The Åre region has a strong power of attraction, not only for tourist but also for seasonal
workers. Businesses in the area receive hundreds of applications every year without even
announcing opening positions. Whenever management has failed to attain qualified personnel
from these applications, they advertise in newspapers, both on local and national level, and
work together with the local employment office. The businesses included in the study have
also taken part of a collected attempt, on a regional level, to recruit seasonal workers together
with other businesses in the hospitality sector and in collaboration with the local employment
office. This has proven to be a successful way of recruiting seasonal workers.

Reward systems

As regards rewards systems used in the companies included in the study, one of the most
commonly employed were feedback from management and customer. Management were also
in favour of employing company activities (e.g. snow mobile safaris, horse back riding),
dinners and parties. One of the managers concluded: “The seasonal workers view the
company dinners and parties as goals in themselves – and it is very important to have these
kinds of goals when you are cleaning toilets all day.”

Motivating training policy

All the companies in the study commenced the season with ‘introduction days’. During these
days, management communicated information regarding the company (e.g. history of the
company, company mission and objectives, company policy and spirit, information regarding
the destination of Åre). This introduction was aimed to all staff members of the company –
both the seasonal workers and those with a long term working engagement. The ‘introduction
days’ continued on the different departments for another few days. The content of this
continued introduction was training in the particular work tasks in question. Management
regarded these ‘introduction days’ as an essential component in their work of starting up the
season: “Due to seasonal fluctuations in demand, we experience a one-peak season which is
very intense in its nature. Without the ‘introduction days’ we would not be able to live up to
our guests’ expectations – chaos would rule within 24 hours.”

10
Further education or training during the season consisted of e.g. introduction to new
technological systems, fire drills and emergency first aid. These activities took most
commonly place at the particular company in question. Continuing professional development
of a more comprehensive nature was intended for personnel with a long-term engagement at
the company.

The companies included in the study agreed on that the present offerings in hospitality
education and training do not match the needs of companies, which are strongly subjected to
seasonality. One of the managers expressed it as follows: “The present offerings are the
wrong type of courses, during the wrong time of the year, they are too lengthy in time, too far
away from the region, and too expensive.”

Motivating planning and control procedures

According to the businesses in the study, planning and control procedures are of outmost
importance to ensure that knowledge about customer satisfaction, complaints and a high
quality product can be obtained. However, the firms raised some concern about the seasonal
nature of the business having e.g. implications on the long term planning process. A large part
of the staff changes every year and the firms find themselves starting over and over again with
internal marketing activities. As one manager expressed it: “If we take two steps forward
during height of the season, we definitely take one step backwards during off-season.
Sometimes we don't even take a step forward during height of the season but still we take one
backwards during off-season”. The short and intense nature of the season results in that there
is not much time to get everything in gear and as stated by one of the managers: “every minute
counts”.

One way to handle different kinds of quality issues, is to have working information channels
in the company. The businesses stressed the importance of creating various forms of
platforms for feedback from employees and to facilitate information flows in all directions.
One manager pronounced: “Feedback goes hand in hand with product development, there
must exist a forum for the exchange of ideas and also to facilitate an open dialog between
employees and management”.

The businesses used different kinds of platforms for feedback and information flows. They
used written information in form of a weekly newsletter and other written information was
e.g. put up on a notice board or distributed in the staff quarters. Other written information
used for planning and control were job descriptions, which was presented to the employees in
the beginning of the season. Meetings also served as an important platform for information
and feedback. In addition to the ‘introduction days’ in the beginning of the season, the
different departments, including management, had their own meetings on a weekly basis.
General meetings were held two to three times during the season.

In order to obtain motivated and satisfied employees the companies also worked with
personnel questionnaires. As one of the managers put it: “We have an interest in not only
having a feeling of what our employees need, we want actual knowledge about it. Wage level
is necessarily not the only way to increase satisfaction among the employees. For the
individual it’s important to have influence on his/her work situation. Our goal is to enhance
the satisfaction among our employees, which in turn can result in customer expectations not
only being met but also exceeded”. In the questionnaires employees graded e.g. their work
situation and their managers and were given an opportunity to present their views of the
company.

11
The businesses also worked with customer questionnaires as a tool for motivating planning
and control procedures. The customers were asked to grade how they experienced their trip
from the moment they booked the trip until departure. They were also asked about different
aspects of their visit and how well the different departments had met their expectations.

The managers also expressed the opinion that feedback and information were important
motivational factors and also improved the general wellbeing of the employee: “If you are
allowed to be involved in the business, your self esteem will improve, even though the changes
might not be carried out until the next season”. Having influence on work situation was also
seen as a motivational factor by management: “A job description should, in fact, be designed
by the employee in question, not by the boss. If the employee sees that something can be better
done in a different way, things should be changed”.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

“Attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining qualified employees” (Cahill, 1996, p. 3)


are frequently cited parameters when defining the concept of internal marketing. The findings
of this study show that these parameters were of primary concern for management and were
included in a deliberate company strategy regarding the seasonally employed staff members.
When working with these parameters, management strongly emphasised customer-
consciousness and sales-mindedness.

Internal marketing also includes “efforts to provide all members of the organization with a
clear understanding of the corporate mission and objectives and with the training, motivation,
and evaluation to achieve the desired objectives” (Johnson, Scheuing & Gaida, 1986, p. 140).
These efforts were explicitly presented by the companies, by e.g. the ‘introduction days’,
which were used as an effective tool for starting up the season. During these days the main
focus were on communicating information regarding the company (e.g. company history,
company policy and spirit, mission, objectives and values, and information regarding the
destination and guests). The seasonal workers’ training were of a practical nature, such as fire
drills and emergency first aid, continuing professional development of a more comprehensive
nature were intended for personnel with a more long-term engagement. Information attained
from personnel and guest surveys worked as a tool for evaluation and enhancing motivation
among staff members, in order to achieve desired objectives of the companies.

Recent definitions of the concept internal marketing stress the importance of enhancing
service quality. It was shown that there was a strong sense of aiming at quality management
and that the key to enhancing service quality was personnel management. The management of
the different companies was aware of the importance of front-line personnel’s immediate
effect on customer satisfaction and how important staff autonomy and know-how were for
business success. There was also an understanding of the need of an information process,
which was directed from and to every side of the organisation. As a result of this insight, the
companies worked with different kinds of platforms for feedback and information flows.

Seasonal fluctuations in demand pose, according to management, the greatest obstacle for
working with internal marketing activities. Seasonality has negative effects on the selection,
recruitment, retention, training, development, and motivation of employees in the companies
included in the study.

So, is it our opinion that the concept of internal marketing has penetrated the world of
practitioners in the hospitality industry? We would not go as far as declaring that practitioners

12
are working with the concept per se. However, it appears as if the internal marketing
philosophy has achieved wide spread popularity among management and that they work in a
strategically, tactical and active way with quality management and human resource
management issues, in order not only to meet customer expectations, but to exceed them.

13
Gummesson, E., (2000), “Internal marketing in the
BIBLIOGRAPHY light of relationship marketing and network
organizations”, in Varey, R. J. and Lewis, B.R.,
Ballantyne, D., (2000), “The strengths and Internal Marketing: Directions for Management,
weaknesses of internal marketing”, in Varey, R. J. NY, Routledge, pp. 27 – 42.
and Lewis, B.R., Internal Marketing: Directions for
Management, NY, Routledge, pp. 43 – 60. Grönroos, C., (1983), Strategic Management and
Marketing in the Service Sector, Studentlitteratur,
Becker, H.S., (1960), Notes on the concept of Sweden, and Chartwell-Bratt Ltd, UK.
commitment, American Journal of Sociology, 66,
pp. 33-42. Grönroos, C. (1994), ”From Marketing Mix to
Relationship Marketing: Towards a Paradigm Shift
Bishop, J.W., Scott, K.D. and Burroughs, S.M., in Marketing”, Management Decision, Vol. 32, No.
(2000), Support, Commitment, and Employee 2, pp. 4 - 20.
Outcomes in a Team Environment, Journal of
Management, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 1113-1132. Grönroos, C. (1996a), Marknadsföring i
tjänsteföretag, Liber-Hermods AB, Malmö,
Bonn, M.A. and Forbringer, L. R., (1992), Sweden.
Reducing turnover in the hospitality industry: an
overview of recruitment, selection and retention, Grönroos, C., (1996b), Lönar sig service och får
International Journal of Hospitality Management, man betalt för den?: en teori om
Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 47-63. relationskostnader, Meddelanden från Svenska
handelshögskolan, Helsingfors, Finland.
Breaugh, J.A. and Starke, M., (2000), Research on
Employee Recruitment: So Many Studies, So Many Johnson, E.M., Scheuing, E.E. and Gaida, K.A,
Remaining Questions, Journal of Management, (1986), Profitable Services Marketing, Homewood,
Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 405-434. IL, Dow-Jones Irwin.

Cahill, D.J., (1996), Internal Marketing: Your Johnson, E.M. and Seymour, D.T., (1985), ”The
Company’s Next Stage of Growth, New York, The Impact of Cross Selling on the Service Encounter in
Haworth Press, Inc. Retail Banking” in Czepiel, J.A., Solomon, M.R.
and Surprenant, C. (eds.), The Service Encounter:
Carlzon, J. and Hubendick, U., (1983), “Intern Managing Employee/Customer Interaction in
marknadsföring som ett ledningsinstrument vid Service Business, Lexington, MA, Lexington
stora förändringar”, in Arndt, J. and Friman, A., Books, pp. 225 - 239.
(eds.), Intern marknadsföring, Arlöv, Sweden,
Liber, pp. 96 - 110. Kvale, S., (1996), Interviews – An Introduction to
Qualitative Research Interviewing, SAGE
Clugston, M., Howell, J.P. and Dorfman, P.W., Publications, USA.
(2000), Does Cultural Socialization Predict
Multiple Bases and Foci of Commitment, Journal Lee-Ross, D., (1999a), HRM in Tourism &
of Management, Vol 26, No. 1, pp. 5-30. Hospitality – International Perspectives in Small to
Medium-sized Enterprizes, Cassell, UK.
Eby, L.T., Freeman, D.M., Rush, M.C. and Lance,
C.E., (1999), Motivational bases of affective Moorman, C., Zaltman, G. och Deshpandé, R.,
organizational commitment: A partial test of an (1992), “Relationships Between Providers and
integrative theoretical model, Journal of Users of Market Research: The Dynamics of Trust
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 72, Within and Between Organizations”, Journal of
pp. 463-483. Marketing Research, 29, s. 314 – 328.

Edvardsson, B. och Gottfridsson, P., (1999), Mottaz, D.J., (1989), An analysis of the relationship
“Relationsmarknadsföring – Synsätt, strategi eller between attitudinal commitment and behavioral
verktyg?”, Ekonomiska Samfundets Tidskrift, Vol. commitment, The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 30,
52, No. 3. S. 117 – 127. No. 1, pp. 143-158.

Grayson, K. och Ambler, T., (1999), “ The Dark Mowday, R.T., (1998), Reflections on the study and
Side of Long-Term Relationships in Marketing relevance of organizational commitment, Human
Services”, Journal of Marketing Research, XXXVI, Resource Management Review, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.
February, s. 132 – 141. 387-401.

14
Normann, R., (1983), “Image och intern Rafiq, M. och Ahmed, P.K., (1998), ”A
marknadsföring i serviceföretagets strategi”, in contingency model for empowering customer-
Arndt, J. and Friman, A., (eds.), Intern contact services employees”, Management
marknadsföring, Liber, Sweden, Arlöv, pp. 54 - 62. Decision, Vol. 36, No. 10, pp. 686-693.

Palmer, A., (2000), “Co-operation and competition: Shepherd, J.L. and Mathews, B.P., (2000),
a Darwinian synthesis of relationship marketing”, Employee commitment: academic vs practitioner
European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34, No. 5/6, s. perspectives, Employee Relations, Vol. 22, No. 6,
687 – 704. pp. 555-575.

Paxon, M.C., (1993), A review of the Singh, V. and Vinnicombe, S., (2000), What does
organizational commitment literature as applied to “commitment” really mean? Views of UK and
hospitality organizations, Progress in Tourism, Swedish engineering managers, Personnel Review,
Recreation and Hospitality, 5, pp. 211-228. Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 228-258.

Payne, A. et al, (1999), Relationship Marketing for Säby, S.B., (1987), Intern servicekvalitet: idéer för
Competitive Advantage, Butterworth Heinemann, interna serviceenheter, Liber, Stockholm, Sweden.
Great Britain.
Wright, P. in Molander, C., (1989), Human
Pinder, C.C., (1998), Work Motivation in Resource Management, Studentlitteratur, Lund.
Organizational Behaviour, Prentice Hall, USA.

Rafiq, M. and Ahmed, P.K., (1993), ”The Scope of


Internal Marketing: Defining the Boundary
Between Marketing and Human Resource
Management”, Journal of Marketing Management,
Vol. 9, pp. 219 - 232.

15