Internal market orientation: construct and consequences

Ian N. Lings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research in services has long recognized the need for managers to focus internally on employees as well as externally on customers. This internal focus is the domain of internal marketing. Despite over 2 decades of discussion of internal marketing, most operationalizations of marketing are grounded in ideas of product markets and remain resolutely focused on the external market, ignoring the internal focus necessary in services markets. Such operationalizations of marketing are outdated in modern markets where most purchases involve a combination of product and service elements, and, in the long term, service quality may be more important than product quality to the consumer. This paper reconceptualizes marketing and develops a new construct, 'internal market orientation' (IMO), which closely parallels and complements existing models of external market orientation. The relationship between internal and external market orientations is explored, and the performance implications of IMO are discussed. A second model of these proposed relationships is presented with implications for managers and recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number4
Early online date7 Mar 2002
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • internal customers
  • internal market orientation
  • internal marketing
  • market orientation


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