Trade-offs in customer–employee focus: Implications on boundary-spanning capabilities

Yelena Tsarenko*, Felix T. Mavondo, Mark Gabbott, Graham Hooley, Gordon Greenly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketing Issues in Western Europe: Changes and Developments
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780203051306
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Boundaryspanning
  • Capabilities
  • Customer orientation
  • Employee orientation


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