Title: Customer orientation: a social rich multifaceted complex phenomenon

Authors: Jean Steevensz

Addresses: School of Management, Open Universiteit, Heerlen, The Netherlands

Abstract: The whole body of literature linking employee customer oriented attitudes with desirable customer outcomes can be seen as lending support to the argument that customer orientation matters to organisations (Liao and Subramony, 2008). But as well as from literature as from my own experiences, it becomes clear that it is difficult to develop customer oriented thinking. My argument is that there are other ways of understanding what is needed to consider the customer more important in the work we do. This paper presents a sense making exploration of prerequisites and obstacles for a customer oriented practice, where a perspective is used that acknowledges customer orientation as a social, rich, multifaceted complex phenomenon. The attention is focused towards an understanding in action, which is quite distinct from the kind of cognitive and intellectual understanding that has dominated modern organisational thought.

Keywords: innovation; narratives; complex responsive processes; anxiety; customer orientation; social interdependency; sense making.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.079331

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.17 No.4, pp.572 - 581

Received: 17 Feb 2015
Accepted: 11 Aug 2015

Published online: 27 Sep 2016 *

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