جهت گیری های استراتژیک، قابلیت بازاریابی و عملکرد شرکت: بررسی تجربی در زمینه مدیران خط مقدم در سازمان های خدماتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26661||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10510 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 7, October 2012, Pages 1058–1070
This study develops and empirically tests a model that links alternative strategic orientations with firm performance, through the mediating effect of marketing capabilities. The influence of environmental forces and organizational characteristics on the decision to pursue lucrative strategic orientations is also examined. Using data collected from 316 bank branch managers, the authors find that market turbulence, intensity of competition, and decentralization in decision making play a pivotal role in determining managerial strategic priorities. Moreover, competitor orientation and innovation orientation contribute significantly to the development of marketing capabilities. In turn, marketing capabilities have a positive impact on firm performance. The authors discuss the managerial implications of study findings and offer directions for future research.
During the past two decades market orientation has been a focal construct in the marketing literature (Smirnova, Naudé, Henneberg, Mouzas, & Kouchtch, 2011). The work of Kohli and Jaworski (1990) and Narver and Slater (1990) spurred a substantial stream of research focusing on this construct's definition, measurement, antecedents and consequences. The vast majority of these studies investigate market orientation from either a behavioral or a cultural perspective. The behavioral perspective emphasizes specific activities relating to the generation and dissemination of and responsiveness to market intelligence (Kohli & Jaworski, 1990). The cultural perspective focuses on the organizational norms and values that encourage behaviors that are consistent with market orientation and consists of three components: customer orientation, competitor orientation, and interfunctional coordination (Narver & Slater, 1990). Homburg and Pflesser (2000) expanded the cultural perspective by developing a multilayer conceptualization of market-oriented organizational culture, comprising of basic values, norms, artifacts, and behaviors. In a further study adopting a cultural perspective, Gebhardt, Carpenter, and Sherry (2006) identified a four-stage process through which organizations change to adopt a higher level of market orientation. More recently, Zhou, Li, Zhou, and Su (2008) conceptualize market orientation as consisting of both cultural and behavioral elements, indicating that organizational-level market orientation culture affects unit-level market orientation behavior. The assumed positive relationship between market orientation and business performance has been empirically confirmed in many studies (Cano et al., 2004 and Kirca et al., 2005). Moreover, this relationship is found to be robust across different environmental conditions (Slater & Narver, 1994), industrial sectors (Cano et al., 2004), and cultural settings (e.g., Selnes, Jaworski, & Kohli, 1996). Despite this evidence, an increasing number of researchers are questioning whether the mere possession of market orientation can provide firms with a sustainable competitive advantage and superior performance. Researchers are particularly concerned that market orientation may lead a firm to focus only on the expressed needs of customers, instead of pursuing a deeper understanding of the latent needs of existing and new customers. They also caution that an overemphasis on customers may hamper innovation and research and development activities and damage a firm's ability to introduce innovative products in the market (Zhou, Yim, & Tse, 2005). Moreover, to the extent that the firm's competitors are also market oriented, not only market orientation fails to provide a competitive advantage, but it becomes a cost of doing business or a failure preventer (Kumar, Jones, Venkatesan, & Leone, 2011). These observations encouraged a new line of research that emphasizes the need to complement market orientation with other strategic orientations like innovation, organizational learning, quality, productivity, and entrepreneurship (Hurley and Hult, 1998, Marinova et al., 2008, Menguc and Auh, 2006 and Zhou et al., 2005). Zhou et al. (2005) also indicate that strategic orientations do not automatically lead to better performance, but bring about certain behaviors that in turn affect performance. There is, therefore, a need to investigate the role of such intervening variables that mediate the relationship between strategic orientations and performance outcomes. The pertinent literature has primarily adopted a between-firm analysis, emphasizing organizational-level determinants of market orientation (Lam, Kraus, & Ahearne, 2010). However, to enhance positively competitive advantage and performance, top management must effectively diffuse a market orientation culture to each organizational member and across organizational levels. In service organizations in particular, managers are forced to rely on their frontline employees to implement a market oriented strategy and ensure customer satisfaction (Hartline, Maxham, & McKee, 2000). The direct contact of frontline employees with customers makes their performance a key factor in a service unit's effectiveness (Marinova et al., 2008). Frontline employees are often responsible for introducing customers to new service innovation and are actively involved in the implementation of other strategic initiatives (Cadwallader, Jarvis, Bitner, & Ostrom, 2010). Middle managers are also extremely important in strategy implementation as they serve as the link between the top managers to whom they report and the frontline employees who they directly supervise (Lam et al., 2010). Employees' perceptions of the market orientation culture of the organization influences directly the extent to which they integrate market orientation behavior into the process of creating and delivering superior value to customers (Kelley, 1992 and Lam et al., 2010). Some authors even suggest that a particular strategic orientation of an organization is what its employees perceive it to be (Lytle et al., 1998 and Marinova et al., 2008). Limited empirical evidence indicates a significant relationship between managerial perceptions related to strategic orientations and the development of firm capabilities (Celuch, Kasouf, & Peruvemba, 2002). There is, therefore, a need for further research at the level of customer-contact managers and employees to enhance the current knowledge regarding the transformation of organizational culture elements to specific business processes and behaviors that deliver value to customers. This study contributes to the extant literature in four ways. First, in response to recent calls for expanding the market orientation framework, it examines four strategic orientations that guide a firm's behavior in the marketplace and have the potential to create superior performance: customer orientation, competitor orientation, internal/cost orientation, and innovation orientation. Second, it proposes that marketing capabilities act as an action mechanism that facilitates the actual implementation of strategic orientations at the customer level, and empirically assesses the mediating effect of marketing capabilities on the relationship between strategic orientations and performance. Third, it investigates the strategic orientations–performance relationship at the level of branch managers in banking institutions. These personnel are responsible for implementing organizational strategies at the branch level, are actively involved in providing valued-added services to important customers, and at the same time they supervise the behavior and activities of frontline employees. Fourth, it examines the role of environmental turbulence and organizational structure in the adoption of specific strategic orientations. The remainder of this article is organized as follows. The next section outlines the theoretical background of the study. Then, the conceptual model is introduced and research hypotheses are developed. Next, the research methodology is described and the results of statistical analysis are presented. The article concludes by discussing the key findings and implications, addressing study limitations and identifying future research avenues.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The main objective of this study is to examine the influence of strategic orientations on firm performance, and the important mediating role that marketing capabilities play in this relationship. Overall, we provide an empirical test for 17 research hypotheses, using data collected from front-line managers in banking institutions. This study contributes to the extant literature in four ways. First, it broadens the market orientation framework by highlighting the importance of complementing customer and competitor orientations with innovation orientation and internal/cost orientation. Second, it demonstrates that marketing capabilities are effective deployment mechanisms that enable the implementation of strategic orientations, leading to enhanced performance. Third, it indicates that environmental forces and organizational characteristics have a significant influence on front-line managers' decision to pursue specific strategic behaviors. Finally, it emphasizes the need to devote greater attention on the crucial role that font-line managers in service organizations play in the implementation of strategies at the local market level. 6.1. Environmental and organizational antecedents of strategic orientations Previous research on market orientation has mainly considered environmental factors as moderating the relationship between market orientation and performance. Empirical evidence, however, provides only limited support to such moderating effects. The results of this study indicate that environmental forces (e.g., competitive intensity, market turbulence) have a direct influence on the extent to which front-line managers pursue specific strategic orientations at the local market level. For instance, as competitive intensity increases, bank branches are forced to initiate adaptive responses in order to counteract competitors' strategies and avoid negative consequences, not only for the local branch but for the whole organization. Further, the study findings are highly consistent with previous empirical evidence (Song & Parry, 2009) which indicated that the rapid or unanticipated changes in customer preferences and competitive actions make it critically important for firms to respond by adjusting their strategies to the changing conditions of the marketplace. Therefore, in local markets where banking institutions face aggressive attacks from competitors on different strategic dimensions, they must exhibit a high level of market responsiveness. This requires a close monitoring of competitors, the identification of their strengths and weaknesses, and the development of effective competitive strategies and marketing programs that will successfully challenge the current and anticipated competitors' actions (Gatignon & Xuereb, 1997). Moreover, our study reveals the positive role of decentralization on strategy formulation. In particular, decentralization in decision-making facilitates the adoption of strategic behaviors and enables bank branch managers to get involved in strategic activities designed to improve customer satisfaction, beat the competition, take advantage of emerging market opportunities, and promote the long term survival and growth of the banking institution (Pelham & Wilson, 1996). Our results are generally consistent with previous research that indicates that centralization hinders intelligence generation and dissemination and impedes the development and implementation of strategies that require the systematic acquisition and dissemination of relevant market information and the open communication and sharing of ideas throughout the organization (e.g., Auh and Menguc, 2007 and Jaworski and Kohli, 1993). 6.2. Strategic orientations and marketing capabilities Study findings highlight the positive influence of innovation orientation and competitor orientation on marketing capabilities. Innovation orientation facilitates a banking institution's capability to generate and implement new ideas that result in more efficient marketing activities and processes and the delivery of improved services to customers. In line with Hurley and Hult (1998), these results suggest that innovation-oriented firms will be more successful in responding to the environment and developing new capabilities that lead to competitive advantage and superior performance. Thus, innovation orientation is an important construct that should be included in models of market orientation and performance (Hurley and Hult, 1998 and Menguc and Auh, 2006). Competitor orientation has also a strong positive impact on marketing capabilities. The highly intensive competition that prevails in the banking industry forces firms to closely monitor competitors' actions and invest available resources in developing appropriate marketing capabilities that will enable them to offer superior value to customers. Contrary to expectations, neither customer orientation nor internal/cost orientation relate to marketing capabilities. The insignificant relationship between customer orientation and marketing capabilities in particular is quite surprising, considering the important benefits that a firm can derive from devoting resources on understanding the expressed and latent needs of its customers and responding through the development of appropriate value-adding capabilities and the offering of valuable products and services (Day, 1994 and Olson et al., 2005a). It should be noted, however that other studies which examined the direct effect of customer orientation on performance also find insignificant results. For instance, Gatignon and Xuereb (1997) conclude that customer orientation has a positive influence on product innovation performance in highly uncertain markets, but detracts performance when demand uncertainty decreases. Similarly, Gao et al.'s (2007) findings reveal a negative effect of customer orientation on performance when demand uncertainty is high. Moreover, Noble et al. (2002) report that customer orientation does not relate to performance. Therefore, more research is necessary to shed light on the exact influence of customer orientation on marketing capabilities and performance outcomes. Regarding the relationship between internal/cost orientation and marketing capabilities we expected that an emphasis on operational efficiency would urge firms to develop further their marketing capabilities in order to be able to perform the relevant tasks more competently and using fewer resources. Results, however, do not confirm this assumption. Perhaps an internal/cost orientation has a more significant influence on strengthening other types of organizational capabilities. This is an issue that future research should try to clarify. 6.3. Marketing capabilities and performance Our results reinforce the premise that marketing capabilities is a source of enduring competitive advantage that leads to superior performance (Day, 1994). Marketing capabilities support critical business processes like market sensing and customer linking. Moreover, as Krasnikov and Jayachandran (2008, p. 3) argue, marketing capabilities are likely to be immune to competitive imitation and acquisition because of the distributed, tacit, and private nature of the underlying knowledge. Thus, they represent a key differentiator for banking institutions in order to achieve and retain competitive advantage (Vorhies et al., 2009). Firms that possess higher levels of marketing capabilities are in a better position to identify and respond to existing and latent customer needs and establish long-term profitable customer relationships. Our findings are consistent with Krasnikov and Jayachandran's (2008) meta-analysis which revealed that compared to other capabilities, marketing capabilities have the strongest impact on firm performance. A positive impact of marketing capabilities on dimension of market and financial performances is also reported by Morgan, Vorhies, and Mason (2009), Morgan, Slotegraaf, and Vorhies (2009) and Vorhies et al. (2009). Overall, our findings demonstrate the important contribution of marketing capabilities in the effective implementation of strategic orientations that ultimately leads to enhanced performance. 6.4. Managerial implications This study provides several implications for managers responsible for developing and implementing strategic orientations at the local market level. First, managers should continuously monitor and assess environmental conditions in order to be able to identify changes in customer needs, preferences and purchasing incentives and anticipate competitors' actions and reactions. The analysis of these external factors will enable firms to pursue appropriate strategic directions that offer superior value and customer satisfaction and lead to competitive advantages. Second, upper management in banking institutions should work toward establishing a decentralized organizational structure, as this facilitates the adoption of performance-enhancing strategic orientations. In particular, top management should remove cross-functional barriers that discourage horizontal communication and decision making within the organization. Moreover, they must try to enhance the level of empowerment and accountability of branch managers, since these personnel are involved in strategy execution on a daily basis, and therefore effectiveness in performing their job duties and responsibilities could significantly enhance the performance of their branch. Third, an emphasis on competitor orientation and innovation orientation enhances the level of marketing capabilities. Thus, managers must encourage specific behaviors that enhance the understanding of the strength, weaknesses, and strategies of existing and potential competitors, and promote the development of new ideas. Finally, marketing capabilities play a pivotal role in the successful implementation of lucrative strategic orientations. Therefore, the development or acquisition of the necessary marketing capabilities should form an integral part of the strategic planning process. Many excellently designed strategies fail because of poor execution, and therefore investing resources in developing high levels of marketing and other organizational capabilities is essential but also highly rewarding.