I. Papasolomou, M. Michailidis, M. Iacovidou

University of Nicosia (CYPRUS)
The paper explores the rhetoric and reality of Internal Marketing (IM) as perceived and practiced within a private university in Cyprus. The study is a first attempt to explore the extent to which the principles of IM are implemented and whether there are any gaps in the perceptions, attitudes, expectations and experiences between top management and faculty members. The overarching aim is to understand the rational and scope of IM by being based on the attitudes and experiences of the people who work within the specific university. The university has recently signed an agreement for implementing the mechanisms and procedures for gaining an ‘investors in people’ recognition award. At the same time, one of the university’s strengths as highlighted by the university’s top management team is its people orientation. The following questions are being addressed: Do faculty believe that the university has adopted a people orientation? Is the people orientation reflected in its practices? Does senior level management practice what they preach? The study uses a purposive sample of one hundred faculty and five administrators. The data collection methods use in-depth personal interviews and questionnaires.
The study aims at shedding light onto the following research objectives:
• To identify the underlying principles of IM
• To determine whether there is a formal IM strategy adopted by the university
• To identify the activities used in implementing IM
• To uncover any gaps in the perceptions and experiences of higher and lower level employees
Berry et al. (1976) introduced IM as a solution to the problem of consistently delivering high service quality. The concept of IM has gone through various phases of evolution founded on three notions namely: employee motivation and satisfaction (Berry 1981), customer orientation (Gronroos, 1981), as well as strategy implementation and change management (Winter 1985). The paper argues that the Higher Education sector since it is characterized by inseparability, intangibility and variability which are the provision of education must embrace and practice IM. The lecturer is an integral part of the lecture. The lecturer’s attitude and behavior greatly influence the level of student satisfaction. Under these conditions it is believed that the use of an IM approach has the potential to create more satisfied ‘customer’-contact faculty members who appreciate the importance of adopting a courteous, caring and empathetic behavior when dealing with students. The fundamental tool for achieving employee satisfaction is the treatment of faculty as internal customers.

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