Barriers to customer-orientation: A case applied and explained

Sue Halliday

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper illustrates that a crucial dimension to any strategy to deliver customer-orientation is that of the organisation's cultural dynamics. If these are ignored, implementation may well fail. Within the marketing discipline this issue is, however, usually only touched upon. Reports on a grounded study of the implementation of a customer-oriented policy at the customer interface. Nineteen pregnant women and 32 midwives were observed and questioned during a longitudinal study of perceptions of service quality in maternity care. A dynamic, explanatory model of organisational cultural issues is here used to analyse part of this empirical study. These findings indicate that organisational cultural issues form a barrier to creating a customer-oriented capability within midwifery. For, whilst the customer or pregnant woman is looking for time spent on personal reassurance, by being informed and guided, midwives are finding meaning and value from myths symbolising a golden past in the face of an unwelcome present and uncertain future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)136-158
    Number of pages23
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • health care
    • services marketing
    • customer orientation
    • organizational culture
    • value


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