Sustainable advantage for a rural family business: service quality, innovation, relationship capital, and market orientation

David Moyes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The research provides a case-study illustrating how a rural family funeral business developed a sustainable, profitable and scalable crematorium venture through its instrumental use of relationship capital and its development of quality and innovation in service delivery. It examines how the business developed a separate but related enterprise to exploit a gap in the market. We look at the creation of the enterprise and report how, through the use of networks and market research the owner has created a sustainable, successful business in a challenging rural location. The case shows how innovation, growth-orientation and customer-focus have been combined for long-term competitive advantage.

A case study approach was taken, collecting data through in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, including, competitors and members of the firm’s informal network.

We found that the owner developed a highly effective network. The sum of these relationships, the firm’s relationship capital, has enabled him to create a profitable business and ameliorate many of the start-up risks faced by his capital and land-intensive new venture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings 15th Toulon-Verona Conference "Excellence in Services"
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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