The role of the customer-supplier relationship in developing a service-oriented organisational culture

A3 Book section, Chapters in research books

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Publication Details

List of Authors: Maria Ivanova-Gongne, Olga Perminova-Harikoski, André Näsi
Editors: Miia Martinsuo, Olga Perminova-Harikoski, Taija Turunen
Place: Tampere
Publication year: 2015
Publisher: Tampere University of Technology
Book title: Strategic change towards future industrial service business
Start page: 72
End page: 86
ISBN: 978-952-15-3639-7
eISBN: 978-952-15-3640-3


The changing industry requirements motivate industrial suppliers to move beyond simply providing a product or a service that meets the customers’ needs. They have to be able to develop a customer value-driven offering or rather a solution in order to ensure a competitive advantage in the market. Business-to-business relationships with the customers grounded in the profound understanding of their needs and the ability to express them in terms that are relevant to the customers’ businesses are at the core of developing an appropriate service offering.

We argue that adapting to the customer’s needs and mindset in this case requires development and adoption of a service-oriented organisational culture. The issue of organisational culture has received minor attention in industrial services literature. Furthermore, organisational studies have, to a limited extent, addressed the role of the external actors in the internal organisation of industrial companies. Still, the main driver for change towards a service-oriented organisational culture may originate from the business-to-business relationships with the customer.

This paper explores the triggers for change in organisational culture towards service-orientation, and the possibility for the development of a service-oriented culture through learning and by adapting to business partners’ cultural schemas. For this purpose, we conduct an exploratory single case study with the focus on a Finnish global engineering services company in the power generation industry. The main contribution of the study lies in addressing the role of organisational culture in the industrial services literature, and considering the external actors in the process of its development. Furthermore, we introduce some managerial implications on the development of a service-oriented culture by taking into account a customer perspective.

Last updated on 2020-07-07 at 03:47