The Role of Leaders in Internal Marketing: A Multilevel Examination Through the Lens of Social Identity Theory

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 123-146, 2008

54 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2010

See all articles by Jan Weiseke

Jan Weiseke

University of Mannheim

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Son K. Lam

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing

Rolf von Dick

Goethe University Frankfurt

Date Written: May 5, 2008

Abstract

There is little empirical research on internal marketing despite its intuitive appeal and anecdotal accounts of its benefits. Adopting a social identity theory perspective, the authors propose that internal marketing is fundamentally a process in which leaders instill into followers a sense of oneness with the organization, formally known as organizational identification (OI). The authors test the OI-transfer research model in two multinational studies using multilevel and multisource data. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses show that the OI-transfer process takes place in the relationships between business unit managers and salespeople and between regional directors and business unit managers. Furthermore, both leader–follower dyadic tenure and charismatic leadership moderate this cascading effect. Leaders with a mismatch between their charisma and OI ultimately impair followers’ OI. In turn, customer-contact employees’ OI strongly predicts their sales performance. Finally, both employees’ and sales managers’ OI are positively related to their business units’ financial performance. The study provides empirical evidence for the role of leaders, especially middle-managers, in building member identification that lays the foundation for internal marketing.

Keywords: Internal Marketing, Organizational Identification, Customer-Contact Employees

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

Weiseke, Jan and Ahearne, Michael and Lam, Son K. and von Dick, Rolf, The Role of Leaders in Internal Marketing: A Multilevel Examination Through the Lens of Social Identity Theory (May 5, 2008). Journal of Marketing, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 123-146, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584725

Jan Weiseke

University of Mannheim ( email )

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Zeitschriftenabteilung
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Michael Ahearne (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

Son K. Lam

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing ( email )

GA
United States

Rolf Von Dick

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

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