Can internal marketing be implemented within bureaucratic organisations?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into some of the present issues and concerns facing the practice of internal marketing (IM) in the UK retail-banking sector. Over the years banks have moved from being supply-oriented to sales-oriented in their approach to business and more recently have espoused the notion of becoming marketing-oriented. In order to achieve marketing orientation it is desirable that banks should adopt IM concepts and procedures. Design/methodology/approach - The research study aimed at building theory in the area of IM through case study research carried out at branch level. It was primarily qualitative since the aim was to uncover people's views and experiences of IM corroborated by documentary and quantitative data sources. A total of 35 business units from seven different UK banking organisations situated in Stoke-on-Trent, Cannock, and Stafford were studied. Findings - Evidence seems to suggest that, while the banks may espouse the ideal of instilling a strong service mentality and customer orientation, the bureaucratic nature of their organisations stands in the way of facilitating this outcome. Research limitations/implications - Only one industry is represented in this study. The focus on banks is topical, given the environmental dynamics of marketing in the UK, although the empirical data's parochiality undermines their generalisability. However, this need not be an issue if it is set in the context of the UK market as a whole. Similarly, only branch personnel were researched and only banks from a certain geographic area participated in the study. Practical implications - The research findings raised questions regarding the ability of banks to adopt and implement change initiatives such as IM when their bureaucratic/mechanistic structure often hinders their efforts. Originality/value - The study's findings present interesting challenges for further systematic research regarding IM among practitioners and academics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)194-211
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Bank Marketing
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Banks
    • Bureaucracy
    • Internal marketing
    • United Kingdom


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