During the past decade, market orientation has received considerable attention from both academics and practitioners. This trend reflects both a long standing neglect of construct, (Webster,1988, Kohli and Jaworski 1990) and a widespread acceptance of its importance (Houston, 1986, Webster,1988, Kohli and Jaworski 1990). Building on the initial research by inter alia Kohli and Jaworski (1990), Narver and Slater (1990) Deshpande et al (1993) significant progress has been made in understanding the conceptualisation and measurement of market orientation and evaluating its impact upon business performance. Definition of market orientation
Market orientation can be conceptualised in two different ways. First way, is as a managerial philosophy and strategic orientation or corporate culture. From this approach, market orientation is ‘‘one of the several strategic orientations that an organization may posses’’ (Noble et al., 2002). Also, market orientation has been defined by Narver and Slater (1990) as well as Day (1994) as a corporate culture. They perceive market orientation as inter-functional coordination of the market information and focus on three components: consumer orientation, competitor orientation and inter-functional coordination. In this sense, they define it as the coordinated utilisation of company resources in creating superior value for target consumers. Moreover, Slater and Narver (1995) suggested that ‘‘market orientation is the culture that (1) places the highest priority on the profitable creation and maintenance of superior customer value, while considering the interest of other key stakeholders; (2) provides norms for behaviour regarding the organizational development and responsiveness to market information’’. Market-oriented organizations may be expected to keep abreast of all environmental forces and make every attempt to integrate economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities (Carroll, 1999) into their activities. Secondly, Kohli and Jaworsky (1990) offered a behavioural definition of market orientation. Particularly, they proposed that market orientation consists of three conceptual dimensions: the organization-wide generation of intelligence pertaining to current and future customer needs, dissemination of intelligence across departments, and organization-wide responsiveness to it. Similarly, Day (1994) refers to market orientation as source of organisational learning. The development of a structure of operation guided by the systematic search of information on consumers and on present and potential competitors, the systematic analysis of such information and the strategic use of all that knowledge. Additionally, according to Kotler and Armstrong (2007) marketing is a social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. Furthermore, Kotler (2002) states that the marketing-oriented company conducts scientific marketing research to avoid this trap of producing things that consumers no longer want. It is more far-sighted than it is sales force and its distributors and retailers. Sales are about the customer. Marketing is about the customer’s customer.
Blois and Dalgic (2000), in their book, refer to market orientation and its implications. They argued that a market orientated company views customers as the most important aspect of their business. Such companies view the gaining and retaining of customers as their main objective. In order to do this they operate in ways that will satisfy the demands of customers. As each customer may have their own, very individual needs and desires, Blois and Dalgic (2000) argue that a market orientated company must be able to respond to customers on an individual basis, in order to satisfy those needs. They state that these companies put the highest priority on the profitable creation and maintenance of superior customer value.
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