In pursuing their particular strategic goals, organisations place differential emphasis in their activities on employees and customers. Those who focus predominantly on employees see them as key resources contributing to successful achievement of goals, while those who focus on customers believe that customer commitment is the prime source of financial prosperity and competitive advantage. In all firms, there is potential for conflict and subsequent trade-offs in the emphasis placed on employee resources and customers. This paper investigates the implications of these potential trade-offs on firms' boundary-spanning capabilities (those capabilities that enable firms to interact effectively with their customers, their suppliers, their strategic allies and others in their business networks) in European and Australasian markets. The results suggest that those companies which achieve a strong but balanced focus on both employees and customers have heightened boundary-spanning capabilities. The comparison between UK and Australian businesses indicates that the balance is more highly developed in Australasian than European (UK) markets. © 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
- boundary-spanning capabilities
- customer orientation
- employee orientation