April 14, 2015

Market Orientation

Key Contributions to the theory of Market Orientation

As a part of review of research in management course of fellow programme of NITIE, we did a review of 19 articles on the topic market orientation. 

The seminal article by Kohli and Jaworski was published in the April 1990 issue of the Journal of Marketing. Here, Kohli and Jaworski (1990) initially defined market orientation as being the implementation of the marketing concept. Following empirical analysis in the form of a large scale qualitative study, however, a more refined perspective of market orientation was proposed: “the meaning of the market orientation construct that surfaced in the field is essentially a more precise and operational view of the first two pillars of the marketing concept - customer focus and coordinated marketing”  They defined market orientation as being a one dimensional construct consisting of three organisation-wide activities: market intelligence generation, the dissemination of this intelligence across departments in the firm, and the responsiveness to intelligence. They developed a measuring instrument also (Jaworski and Kohli 1993). Many scholars have adopted this definition when conducting research into market orientation (e.g., Bhuian 1998; Cadogan et al. 2002b; Diamantopoulos and Hart 1993; Homburg and Pflesser 2000; Kwon and Yu 2000; Pitt et al. 1995; Pulendran et al. 2000; Raju et al. 1995; Vorhies and Harker 2000)

The second approach of Narver and Slater  appeared in the October 1990 issue of the Journal of Marketing. Narver and Slater (1990, p. 21) first defined market orientation as “the culture that most effectively and efficiently creates the necessary behaviours for the creation of superior value for buyers and, thus, continuous superior performance for the business”. They then elaborated on this conceptualisation by arguing that market orientation consists of five components: customer orientation, competitor orientation, inter-functional co-ordination, a long term focus, and a profit focus. Narver and Slater (1990) also provided a description of their measuring instrument for market orientation. Numerous researchers have adopted Narver and Slater's (1990) conceptualisation and measurement approach to test market orientation theory  (see, e.g., Farrell 2000; Gatignon and Xuereb 1997; Greenley 1995a; Han et al. 1998; Kumar et al. 1998; Lukas and Ferrell 2000; Siguaw et al. 1994; Slater and Narver 2000; Van Egeren and O'Connor 1998).

The works of Deshpandé and colleagues are also significant in the topic. These authors have argued that market orientation and customer orientation are synonymous concepts (Deshpandé et al. 1993). From a definitional perspective, customer orientation is a type of organisational culture (Deshpandé and Webster 1989): it is “the set of beliefs that puts the customers' interest first, while not excluding those of all other stakeholders, such as owners, managers and employees, in order to develop a
long-term profitable enterprise” (Deshpandé et al. 1993, p. 27). Deshpandé et al.'s (1993) measuring instrument  was used by Baker et al. (1999) and Steinman et al. (2000) - Deshpandé et al.'s notion that market orientation is a cultural phenomenon has was further supported by some recent authors (e.g., Harris 1998; Harris and Ogbonna 2000; Homburg and Pflesser 2000; Hooley et al. 1999; Webster 1995).

It is important to distinguish marketing orientation explained in detail by Philip Kotler and Market Orientation as defined by Kohli and Jaworskhi and Narver and Slater. Research scholars are making mistakes when they have not carefully noted the difference by using the terms interchangeably.

Multiple Perspectives on Market Orientation's Domain Specification:
Implications for Theory Development and Knowledge Accumulation
Chapter published in:
Hart, Susan (ed), Marketing Changes,
Thomson Business Press, 2003, pp. 95-123 and pp. 325-328.
John W. Cadogan
School of Business & Economics
Loughborough University and Lappeenranta University of Technology
LE11 3TU
Great Britain

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