What is internal marketing?
More than 25 years ago, internal marketing (IM) was ﬁrst proposed as a solution to the problem of delivering consistently high service quality by Berry et al.1. However, despite the rapidly growing literature on IM, relatively few organizations actually apply the concept in practice. One of the main problems contributing to this is that there does not exist a single uniﬁed concept of what is meant by IM. There are a variety of meanings attributed in the literature as to exactly what IM is, what it is supposed to do, how it is supposed to do it, and who is supposed to do it. This variety of interpretations as to what IM constitutes has led to a diverse range of activities being grouped under the umbrella of IM. This diversity of interpretations and deﬁnitions in turn has led to diﬃculties in the implementation and widespread adoption of the concept. Most importantly, these problems create contradictions at the conceptual level with respect to deﬁning the precise domain of IM, and make meaningful investigations of the concept more diﬃcult. In order for IM to be effectively operationalized as a paradigm of
organizational change, management and implementation of strategies, a clarification at the definitional level is necessary. What is required is a precise specification of those activities that can be taken to constitute IM and those that do not, since definition and classification are fundamental prerequisites to marketing analysis. The purpose of this chapter is to critically examine the IM concept and outline its scope by tracing the major developments in the concept to date. It proposes a definition and a set of core criteria that are essential features of an internal marketing programme. Managerial implications arising from the proposed definition of internal marketing are also discussed.