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Integrative aspects of the framework

Finally, the value assessment stage for the customer is underpinned by the customer satisfaction and service quality literature stream. This assessment stage can be facilitated by utilising multi-attribute tools and models such as customer satisfaction surveys or service quality measures. Work on the PIMS project (Buzzell and Gale, 56-89) is also important, as it provides empirical evidence as to how many factors, including relative product and service quality impact on return on investment, thus providing a further means of value assessment in rigorous financial terms as opposed to the more subjective CSM and service quality measures.

While the value literature to date has largely ignored the notion of employee value (except in the work noted above), work has been done on employee satisfaction and performance measures (for a meta-analysis see Petty, McGee and Canender, 89-154). Like customer satisfaction measures, these can be used to feed back into the value determination part of the process. It is also important to assess the value of employees to the firm. Employees tend to perceive behaviour-based evaluation as a more reliable indicator of value delivered (e. g Anderson and Oliver, 181-221).

Value assessment for employees is closely linked to employee retention. Employees of long tenure are

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more likely to know their jobs and the goals of the organization and thus be more productive. This view is supported by empirical evidence, for example see Sheridan (111-145). A similar process needs to be adopted for relevant external stakeholders. Within the external stakeholders group, shareholders have received a high level of attention in the literature. This is not surprising given their high profile and the extent to which they influence organizational activities.

As discussed earlier, the shareholder-value literature emphasizes methods for assessing the value the organization is delivering to shareholders; but relatively little emphasis is placed on the value shareholders deliver to the organization (for an exception see Reichheld, 306-363). However, other external stakeholders can also have critical roles to play. For example, the interaction between a company and its suppliers may be critical. The IMP research has particular relevance here in terms of an organization’s relationship with its suppliers and other key alliance partners.

The results from this value assessment activity, which should also involve an assessment of the value of the customer to the firm after the value delivery activity, can then be fed back into the initial stage where value determination is reassessed. Thus the value process is dynamic and iterative. Two core literature streams of customer value and shareholder value and relationship value point to the integrative aspects of the framework, especially in terms of the three stakeholder groups.

These stakeholder groups are shown as separate sub-processes in the framework, but they are highly interdependent in the value process. Research on the links between customer value and shareholder value emphasizes the interdependence of these two key stakeholders; however, this stream of research does not emphasize the importance of the other stakeholders. The emerging work on relationship value considers value firmly from the perspective of relationship marketing, thus supporting the need for value to be addressed with all key stakeholders — a holistic approach to value management.

The relationship value literature also explicitly recognizes the impact of the ongoing relationship itself, through a series of customer-supplier interactions (e. g. Gronroos, 306-363; Sheth and Parvatiyar, 180-211). As such it provides further support for the need to develop an integrated approach to the value management process within a relationship marketing context. The whole notion of CLV, encompassed in the customer’s value to the firm, also reinforces the need for an ongoing relationship approach to managing value.

The value literature, to date, has not emphasized this holistic approach to value management, although elements of the value literature do show approaches to value that link some of the three key stakeholder groups in Figure 3. For example, the customer-value and shareholder-value literature emphasizes these links, and the internal marketing literature describes, (but does not measure), how positive employee behaviour can improve customer value. In 208-292, Rust and Zahorik concluded there exists no published studies which have examined the entire chain of stakeholders.

However, since then there have been some attempts to start to understand such relationships. There is now an emerging body of work that explores the linkages between different stakeholders, including customers and employees. Much of this work is concerned with developing linkages between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction and customer retention and employee retention, and how these impact on shareholder value (e. g. Heskett et al. , 213-243, 181-221; Rucci, Kirn and Quinn, 45-86).

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